Industry News

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Harrison Talks to John Catsimatidis about WABC, New York Cancelling Rudy Giuliani’s Talk Show

Red Apple Media Group chief John Catsimatidis suspended Rudy Giuliani from his daily 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm talk show that’s been airing on WABC for several years. The New York Times, quotes Catsimatidis saying, “We’re not going to talk about fallacies of the November 2020 election. We warned him once. We warned him twice. And I get a text from him last night, and I get a text from him this morning that he refuses not to talk about it. So, he left me no option. I suspended him.” But there were more concerns on Catsimatidis’ part. Giuliani was found liable forim defaming two Georgia election workers, and they were accusing him of make new false accusations against them. The Times reports that in a memo from Catsimatidis to Giuliani he told Giuliani that they’ve been monitoring his show for comments about the election and that “radio operators had ‘worked diligently’ to excise content that might run afoul of defamation laws.” He also wrote, “You are once again stating that there was fraud. You may not do so on our airwaves.” Clearly, Catsimatidis was concerned about being involved in actionable language on Giuliani’s part. Giuliani spoke publicly over the weekend about being terminated and said he’s been imtalking about the 2020 election for three years and was never made aware that election talk was off limits. In The New York Times story Giuliani states that WABC’s policies on this topic are “a clear violation of free speech” to which TALKERS founder Michael Harrison comments, “As a lawyer, former attorneyim general and former mayor, Giuliani should know better than to muddy the waters about ‘free speech’ by citing it and distorting it for his own defense in this manner. The letter of the law regarding the First Amendment protects the rights and responsibilities of Catsimatidis as the licensee and platform owner in this situation. And as far as the spirit of the law as indicated by the general term ‘free speech’ is concerned, the understanding between these two men as to what Giuliani can discuss on WABC is completely subjective and ultimately based on what the licensee determines at any given moment to be in the best interest of the platform, its listeners and most importantly, the truth.” Listen to Michael Harrison and John Catsimatidis discussing the situation this morning by clicking here.

Industry News

NPR Suspends Editor Over Critical Essay

NPR senior business editor Uri Berliner has been suspended for one week from the public media organization after writing an essay for the Substack publication The Free Press without seeking permission from NPR first as required by his contract. However, it was the content of the piece that’sim caused controversy as Berliner criticized the organization saying it “had allowed liberal bias to affect its coverage.” This comes as there is renewed interest among conservative legislators in challenging the use of federal funds for public media with allegations of editorial bias as a primary reason to end federal underwriting of media. NPR managing editor for standards and practices Tony Cavin spoke to The New York Times about Berliner’s piece and said it “mischaracterized NPR’s coverage of crucial stories.” Read the NYTimes story here.

Industry News

Beasley Suspends Anthony Gargano; Sues Over His Role in PHLY

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Beasley Media Group has suspended WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.3 The Fanatic” morning host Anthony Gargano – who’s been off the air since September 12 – for his role in launching the new Philadelphia-centric digital sports platform PHLY. Beasley is also suing Garganoim for violation of his contract for working with the upstart platform that promoted Gargano as “coming soon” at its launch last week. PHLY is operated by the ALLCITY Network. The Inquirer reports, “Beasley said Gargano told ‘The Fanatic’ on Sept. 11, less than 24 hours before PHLY launched, that he intended to continue hosting his show while also accepting employment with the new sports outlet, where among other things he would write articles and appear on podcasts.” Beasley says that is in violation of his contract that runs through October of 2024, which states he is “prohibited from providing services to a competing business while he is employed by Beasley.” Read the Inquirer piece here.

Industry News

WEEI, Boston Host Suspended After Racist Remark

A number of media outlets are reporting on the incident that took place on the Wednesday edition of the “Greg Hill Show” on Audacy’s WEEI, Boston, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, that’s led to the suspension of co-host Chris Curtis. Hill, Courtney Cox and Curtis were discussing a local proposal to ban the 1.7-ounce liquor bottles commonly known as nips. When Cox asked about each host’s favorite nip and named several brands of liquor, Curtis replied, “I’d probably go Mina Kimes.” Nip is also a pejorative term for Japanese. Kimes is of Korean descent. When the Boston Globe reached out to Audacy for comment, the spokesperson declined to address it specifically but suggested Curtis meant to say Mila Kunis. Today, Curtis apologized on air and said he’s been suspended until next week. Curtis explained he didn’t intend to say Mina Kimes. “In a pathetic, failed attempt at a one-liner, I attempted to bring up Mila Kunis, which was not really that funny, sophomoric and sexist. But for reasons I don’t understand, I said Mina Kimes.”

Industry News

“98.5 The Sports Hub” Host Tony Massarotti Serving Suspension

WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive co-host Tony Massarotti is off the air this weekTony Massarotti - WBZ-FM serving a suspension for his racially insensitive comments made on last Friday’s program. As TALKERS reported on Tuesday (2/21), Massarotti – who co-hosts the show with Mike Felger – on Monday (2/20) apologized for his comments. You can see TALKERS coverage of that here.