Saturday, January 20, 2007

Qapla! (That's Klingon for success.)

It occurred to me that some KSFO advertisers might not know how to respond to our letters. I'm sure some are shell shocked by the standard right-wing AstroTurf email campaigns. A thoughtful letter from one of us has a better chance of encouraging them to check out the situation at KSFO for themselves. And when they do, I believe they will be unhappy with what they hear. And whether they decide to stay or go, they will still need to convey that decision back to the letter writer and the station. To help them out, I'll give them some examples of letters from advertisers who have left KSFO and later some who have chosen to stay.

Bank of America

From: "XXXXXXX X" <>
Tue, 07 Mar 2006 20:32:13 -0500
Subject: Bank of America Advertising on KSFO

Mr. XXXX -

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Bank of America is very selective in our where we place our advertising. This ad placement may have slipped through normal screening as we have transitioned to a new media agency and this was our first radio buy with them. We were not aware of the content of the programming on this particular program and concur that this is not an appropriate place for Bank of America advertising. As a result of your notice, we have instructed our agency to pull all advertising not just from the Brian Sussman Show, but from all programming on KSFO. We expect that they will have these instructions by tomorrow morning (Wednesday, 3/7) and all future advertisements will be stopped. Please be assured that Bank of America does not endorse or support comments made by Mr. Sussman in any way, shape or form.

Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Senior Vice President
[Note: As a courtesy, I've redacted the name of the SVP who wrote me back. I have provided it to journalists who wanted to confirm the authenticity independently].


Sent: Thursday, June 1,2006 1:35:53 PM
Subject: Inquiry to Washington Mutual re: radio Advertisement
Dear Mr. XXXX:

It has recently come to my attention that you made an inquiry to Washington Mutual regarding an advertisement which ran on "The Brian Sussman" show on KSFO-AM in San Francisco. We asked our advertising group to investigate the matter and what you heard was a MasterCard advertisement, secured and purchased by MasterCard, that included - what we call in the industry - a "tag" identifying Washington Mutual as an issuer of MasterCard cards. This is something we do in support of the number of financial institutions that issue MasterCard branded cards to their customers to help enhance brand awareness of both organizations.

At MasterCard, we recognize a set of standards designed to ensure the programming we advertise on reflects favorably on our image and the image of customer financial institutions as a provider of valuable, high quality services and products. As such, please know at present we have no future plans to air advertising on this program. Our goal is to keep our advertising on quality programs that favorably reflect our image as a distinguished brand with integrity and responsibility to our cardholders as well as our customer financial institutions.

Thank you for taking the time to raise this important issue to us.


Vice President, Communications
MasterCard International

Most Advertisers Already Have the Answers. Just Look Inside

Now you will note how after they confirmed what the show(s) contained, they simply consulted with their own internal guidelines and standards which told them that they will only advertise "on quality programs that favorably reflect our image as a distinguished brand with integrity and responsibility" as MasterCard's guidelines appear to read.

I'll post some more letters soon, but one thing I want the brand managers and advertisers to note, if you get a polite letter from one of my readers asking you to check out this station and after your research you decide it doesn’t "favorably reflects our image", and you want to discontinue your ads or simply not renew them, please be careful how you break the news to KSFO hosts and the sales team. Why?

On January 12th KSFO had a “Very Special Program” on this issue. It was designed to let the advertisers know that I was a hateful idiot and even though the advertisers simply heard the host’s own broadcast words, KSFO hosts were now the victim of a smear campaign. Now I will again simply reflect to the sponsors what Melanie Morgan said about those who left KSFO.
(see complete story in MediaPost, free registration required)

If there are sponsors who listen to these idiots, and I'm not sure there are, despite what they say," asserted Morgan, "but if that's the case, I know who it would be. It would be some craven little time buyers at an advertising agency someplace who have no guts whatsoever."

Furthermore, if after careful consideration, advertisers choose to follow their own internal guidelines, and leave, it sounds like KSFO hosts will retaliate. (Also from the MediaPost article. Plus you can listen to the whole Jan. 12th show at KSFO's website. KSFO very helpfully put it up for all to hear, so you don't have to take my word for it.)

He [Rodgers] also seemed to threaten former advertisers. Responding to an email question, Rodgers declined to name advertisers that have withdrawn their support, but added: "People who want to play that boycott game seem to forget this is a sword that cuts both ways. We have plenty of people that listen to this radio station that say 'hell, if somebody is trying to shut up the people on my favorite radio station, I don't think I want to give them any money,' so it could work two ways."

Please note: I have very clearly said that I do not want my readers to boycott any of the advertisers' products. Yet that is Rodgers’ suggested response to how KSFO listeners should deal with an advertiser who made a business decision in line with its own values, and decided to discontinue their support.

Also please note; *I* was the one who was in fact was "shut up". A private citizen with a blog. As I write this, Rodgers, Morgan, Sussman and Benner are still using the public airwaves on commercially supported broadcast radio.

ABC/Disney used their power to silence a critic. That is quite clear. But now Morgan positions herself as the victim in this drama. That is also quite clear. This reframing effort by the powerful to be seen as powerless is SOP for certain groups, and should be noted by observers of this story.

I know that some advertisers who left may have come back, perhaps they believed an apology was sincere, or a comment was part of a “comedy” routine, or a comment was a one time slip, and not a consistent pattern. Maybe they were given deals too good to refuse, maybe there were backroom bundling deals cut at the national level. I have no insight into that process. But I also don't have insight into advertisers that decided not to acknowledge the reason they stopped advertising. That's their choice and I understand why they might not want to make a big deal out of their real reasons and quitely walk away.

Why They Scare Me: Look at How they Treat their Sponsors!

They called me a coward on their three hour program, and I admitted I was afraid of them, not just now but in the future because I’m anticipating severe retaliatory moves by multiple people and corporations using multiple methods. And to show you just why I'm afraid, look no further than how they addressed their own advertisers.

Morgan called the people who paid KSFO’s bills, “craven little time buyers at an advertising agency someplace who have no guts whatsoever." Rodgers suggested that if an advertiser left or didn’t KEEP advertising, he will tell his listeners to boycott their goods or services. If this is how they talk about their own sponsors (some of whom might have come back) imagine what methods and resources they will unleash on me and others who simply informed their own advertisers what they were paying for.

I’m afraid. Very afraid.


¡El Gato Negro! said...

Being afraid ees an entirely different theeng than being a coward.

A coward would never have done what joo have done.

Por favor, continue to request official replies from advertisers, and post them on jour wonderful blog.

Thees ees the area where pressure may yet prove a beneficial return for the effort expended.

Eef any of Spocko's supporters read thees:
Por favor, continue to politely share the truth of KSFO's violent rhetoric weeth eet's sponsors, and hold them accountable for replies.

Eef joo have written a letter to a KSFO sponsor, feel free to email me a copy, and I weel post eet on Online-BlogIntegrity.

My email address:

gatobloggerro "at" yahoo "dot" com

Let us hear from joo all, eh?

¡Viva Spocko!

4:17 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these. Very cool and it's encouraging to see how reasonable advertisers are when presented with a balanced and compelling case.

KUDOS to you for being decent and factual when dealing with these companies - a trait that KSFO hate talkers seem to have forgotten.

Cheers SPOCKO!

4:53 PM  
bacci40 said...

why i would be scared too.

go to and look at the posts of a poster who calls herself blogical...

the right has gone on a smear campaign of mike stark.

now, im not sure how this may effect him in the future, but i would be wierded out that someone was investigating me.

12:37 PM  
Bode Miller Jokes said...

KSFO is a terrorist organization.

10:37 PM  
Eli said...

Being afraid ees an entirely different theeng than being a coward.

A coward would never have done what joo have done.

Damn straight. Courage is being afraid and going ahead anyway.

10:48 PM  
skippy said...

good job, spocko!

12:15 AM  
Tata said...

Lovey, doing the thing that rightfully scares you is the definition of courage.

8:14 AM  

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