Via Juan Cole, Daily Kos has the story of a blogger who contacted a talk radio station’s advertisers to tell them that their products were being associated with and read by the same voices that call for torturing people and murdering Muslims. He sent advertisers polite informative letters and was subsequently slapped with a cease and desist letter by Disney’s lawyers because he was providing audio recordings of the broadcasts to allow advertisers to hear the comments for themselves. It seems that this hit a nerve with Disney, particularly as Visa seems to have pulled their ads from the shows in question.
Here’s a copy of the letter he sent AT&T:
To: Wendy Clark, VP-advertising, AT&T
Dear Ms. Clark:
Thanks to radio hosts from KSFO your brand is being associated with torturing and killing people. Would your marketing people be happy to hear your commercial ran after Lee Rogers said this about a black man in Lincoln, Nebraska?
“Now you start with the Sear’s Diehard the battery cables connected to his testi*les and you entertain him with that for awhile and then you blow his bleeping head off. ” (Audio link)
You should know the person calling for the execution and torture of the black man in that clip READS THE AT&T commercials on the air. Right now on KSFO Lee Rogers is THE VOICE of AT&T to the SF Bay area. (Audio Link)
Sadly, calling for the death and torture of individuals and groups of people is a regular occurrence on KSFO 560 AM, owned by ABC Radio Disney.
Another example: immediately after the 6 am ABC Radio news on October 27th:
Lee Rogers: I say they catch the person, tie ’em to a post and burn ’em. Set ’em on fire.
Officer Vic: Yeah.
Lee Rogers: Let ’em know what it feels like.
Melanie Morgan: Hog tie ’em first. That would be good.
Next, Lee Rogers talks about a protester at a Cindy Sheehan event:
“Whoever did that should have been stomped to death right there. Just stomp their bleeping guts out.” (Audio link).
Within three minutes they called for someone to be burned alive and a protester to be stomped to death. If you dismissed the first clip as a “joke”, note that in this clip they were clearly not joking:
Melanie Morgan famously called for Bill Keller of the New York Times (and nine editors from other papers) to be hanged. (Audio link)
On Nov. 14th Melanie Morgan said this about Nancy Pelosi:
“We’ve got a bulls-eye painted on her big laughing eyes.” (Audio link)
Also note that Morgan reads the Cingular Wireless commercials on KSFO.
Of course political speech is protected, but I believe the FBI and the FCC frown on targeting elected officials for death or inciting violence toward leaders of any political party.
Because of how ads are purchased, your ad placement agency probably didn’t know that Tom Brenner (the “comic relief” called Officer Vic) regularly mocks advertiser’s products. Listen as he:
calls Chevrolet’s product “shi**y” (audio link) suggests an anti-virus product is part of a protection racket (audio link) pretends a cold pill is really a suppository (audio link)
The odds are your product will be mocked. If they don’t respect a big client like Chevrolet, will they respect your brand?
And it’s not simply calls for killing specific people or mocking products, the radio hosts at KSFO proudly talk about their anti-Muslim views. Based on my research, your business has rules about discrimination against people of other religions, so what message are you sending when your employees or customers hear your advertisements right after Brian Sussman demands of a caller:
“Say Allah is a Wh*re!” (audio link)
Or when Lee Rogers says,
“Indonesia is really just another enemy Muslim nation. … You keep screwing around with stuff like this we are going to kill a bunch of you. Millions of you. ” (audio link)
Maybe you haven’t heard any complaints. Would KSFO management let you know about complaints? Doubtful. Morgan’s husband, Jack Swanson, is KSFO’s operations manager. The president of KSFO, Mickey Luckoff, started the station format and has a history of defending hosts like Michael Savage until he was forced to fire him.
I understand you can’t listen to all the shows you advertise on – no one can. You rely on the accurate representation of the sales reps and the show description. But you don’t need to take my word, listen to the programs. You probably won’t have to listen long to hear something that offends or disgusts you. If you wish to hear the complete context on any clip or the audio during a date your ad ran contact me I have an educational archive of audio clips, I’ve listed a few below.
I want to emphasize that if you withdrawal your ads you aren’t limiting their free speech, just removing your paid support of it. Some other company without the values you describe on the AT&T website can support them. You can choose to advertise elsewhere. This is really about YOU. Do YOU want to be associated with these comments? Do you want your company and brand to be associated with these comments?
I urge you to discontinue advertising on KSFO during the shows hosted by Melanie Morgan, Lee Rogers, Tom Brenner and Brian Sussman.
If you want to contact KSFO here is a link to their website. If you wish to express your displeasure to their parent company contact Zenia Mucha, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company PHONE: (818) 560-5300 CA, (212) 456-7255 NY or email Heather Rim, Vice President, Communications, ABC, Inc. email@example.com.
P.S. I would appreciate hearing your final determination in this matter.
Read the Daily Kos write up for the full story.