Lee Rodgers Fired from KSFO
*UPDATE* Greetings Radio Wave readers! Below is some inside baseball info about the Rodger's firing. One thing that you should note is that there are no incentives (in fact there are probably restrictions and punishments) for Jack Swanson to tell you the whole story.
Whereas I can provide documentation from advertisers who pulled their ads.
I also read the financial documents that Citadel puts out. I knew that they lost money in SF after my advertiser alert program back in 2007. One insider told me they lost millions in reoccurring revenue. The accountants at Citadel said they lost money in SF (p. 37), that's a documented fact. Citadel only has two properties in SF. KGO and KSFO. Which one do you think lost so much money that they decided to get rid of Melanie Morgan? Could it have been a general ad slump? Sure, but losing 28 advertisers is losing 28 advertisers. Them might have gotten others back, but at the same rates? They lost four more in 2009 because of my efforts. You can believe the documented evidence and SEC documents that Citadel is required to put out or the comments of the people not retained/fired and their former managers.
Previously I postulated some possible reasons why Rodgers was fired. You should also know that Rodgers has now gone to his union, AFTRA, to pursue his case. But unless Rodger's case comes before a judge and it goes into the public record we will never know all the contributing reasons for Rodgers getting fired 4 and 1/2 months before his contract expired.
I would LOVE for this to go to court. I want to see the evidence so that the mainstream press can authoritatively report on the impact my campaign to alert advertisers had on KSFO. My concept was that when advertisers hear the kind of violent rhetoric and bigotry that come out of the mouths of these hosts they will chose not to associate their brands with them.
As it stands right now everyone involved can say what ever they want, we have no way of confirming anything. I can confirm the 32 advertisers who left KSFO in 2006, 2007 and 2009 (I was occupied elsewhere in 2008) but I can't measure the ad buyers who decided not to advertise so as not to subject their client to potential vicious comments of the hosts. Yes, some came back, and they got some new ones, but following what I discovered from the advertisers who pulled their ads in 2009, sometimes they don't even know they are advertising on KSFO.
What does that tell you about the reputation of a radio station when the advertisers have to be tricked to be on the station? Based on that information I'll bet that right now there are ad buyers making media buys with ad reps of KGO who will then turn around and slip onto the Brian Sussman show on KSFO. I'm sure some buyers will be surprised their product is cozied up to the anti-gay rights, pro-torture Sussman.
Spinning in the Media and following HR Rules
KSFO management can tell Joe Garofoli one thing and Lee Rodgers another. Joe can call Citadel management and they can decline to comment. Rodgers can spin the story with weasel words like "to my knowledge.." Citadel probably has contract rules that forbid them from giving the real reasons to outsiders. As many of us know, blaming lower revenues is an easy out to avoid HR wrongful dismissal problems. ( The ol' "It's not you, it's ME!" trick of breaking up with someone when you don't want to say "It's YOU, not me. You are a sick demented human and I want out of this relationship.")
When Imus was fired he turned around and sued for wrongful dismissal and won. Citadel ended up hiring Imus, so they might be trying to avoid that mistake and just blame it on overall lower revenue. Lying in the face of evidence to the contrary is something that the hosts have no problem with. I'm reminded of when Melanie Morgan claimed that exactly one advertiser left KSFO after my advertiser alert program. The Chronicle documented four of them at the time and other media outlets, like Media Post, documented others (such as Fed Ex). Morgan was contradicted with facts right in Joe's articles.
And of course KSFO/KGO/Citadel aren't going to open up their books to the Chronicle to verify any of this, why would they?
I can give myself credit for Rodgers getting fired based on the hard evidence I have, but I'm very aware that there is more to it and we may never know the whole story. What do the lawyers say? "Don't assume facts not in evidence." I'm smart enough to know the whole story is more complex. Maybe he flipped out after his bosses told him to tone it down regarding calling for the genocide of Iraqis. Maybe he just couldn't handle a memo from ABC News saying that they don't appreciate being called liars, leftist propagandists and Presidential butt kissers following their news casts on his show.
Follow The Revenue Stream
Citadel generates almost all their revenue from advertisers. Having great ratings with few advertisers is not a winning combination unless your management is willing to subsidize you.
Now some companies ARE willing to subsidize ultra right-wing views if they can point to a greater ROI in the future or if they consider it an investment in their long term goals. For example, Glenn Beck has lost 81 advertisers thanks to my friends at Color of Change who used the same methods with him as I did with KSFO hosts. Right now Fox is subsidizing Beck. I had hoped that some of the NewsCorp investors would have asked Mr. Murdock when Beck will stop losing money and start making money. Rupert and Roger Ailes might decide that they can afford to subsidize Beck for years because his rants are in line with their political goals. They can afford little or no revenue from his show because it doesn't cost a lot to produce and they like the PR.
Citadel Broadcasting isn't in the same situation. They took on tremendous debt to acquire ABC Radio from Disney and the broadcast licenses they held. They needed all the stations to keep cranking out the revenue like they did under the Disney/ABC brand so they could service the debt. (BTW, most people don't know that when the deal was done Disney became the majority shareholder in Citadel. )
Citadel couldn't afford to lose dozens of advertisers as well as scare away new potential advertisers. In 2007 KSFO lost 28 advertisers because of the advertiser alert program I organized. They lost four more in 2009. Those loses had to be absorbed by someone and since they couldn't take it out of my hide (when they threatened to sue me for "everything I've got") that needed to be dealt with somehow.
If you know who is responsible for losing business you might want to do something about that person. The management at ABC/KSFO decided that instead of telling Rodgers, Morgan, Sussman and "Officer Vic" to cool it when talking about hanging, torturing and electrocuting journalists, liberals, Democrats and Muslims they would shut me up.
I know that I'm not the only one who made the case to his advertisers and management that he is more of a liability than an asset. Right now some of the right wing blogs are suggesting that "the Islamists" are responsible for this. I'd love to see their evidence. If they want to see what impact groups of like-minded religious people can have on a right-wing radio host they don't have to make stuff up, but can look to my friends at HateHurtsAmerica.org who cost Michael Savage 18 advertisers. Of course Savage turned around and sued one member of the group, CAIR, for the same bogus copyright violation that ABC/Disney attempted to use to shut down my blog. Of course because they followed my methods correctly and the guidelines for fair use, Savage lost his case.
The market had spoken, advertisers didn't want to taint their brand with Savage's vicious rants.
I've read people defending Rodgers. They say they support his comments. I asked them:
Rodgers might show up in syndication if he finds a sugar daddy like Melanie Morgan did with The Rev. Moon via the money losing Washington Times. He might even get one of those right wing think tanks to fund him. After all, he gave them years of exposure. It is more likely that his usefulness is over until he can deliver an audience again.
Really? You support him suggesting that we “massacre every last damn one” of the people in Iraq? You support that?
Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ? Can you quote me some New Testament from the synoptic gospels, or authentic sayings of our lord where he believes that we should committee genocide? I’m not talking about Old Testament or words put into Jesus’ mouth by Paul or other members of the early Church. I’m talking about the Jesus who told us parables of loving your neighbor and to not return evil to evil. (If you want to quote scripture Luke 6:27-36 )
If not a Christian, what moral system do you subscribe to? If you brought this comment to your pastor, rabbi, guru or your minister and said, “I think we should massacre every last damn person in Iraq would he say, ‘Good for you! That’s exactly what Jesus, Abraham or Buddha would want! Please tell me when you are going to drop the nukes on them so I can come along and supervise the killing of millions of innocents.'”
Since I started my campaign in 2006 two of the three hosts that I focused on at KSFO are gone. What I'm most proud of is that there was a financial impact because, as we all know, in the corporate world losing money is the biggest sin and when the money people are disappointed things happen.
Melanie Morgan's contract with KSFO wasn't renewed. Lee Rodgers was fired. Brian Sussman is still there and has stepped into the morning show spot. As my friend Dave (tm) said "we welcome the increased scrutiny he will get."
I want people to know that my strategy, methods and tactics have been successful. It is possible to fight the right-wing media on the only battlefield most corporations care about.
I'm reminded of a quote by Gandhi that gave me a lot of comfort during this long process.
"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."
— Mahatma Gandhi