Saturday, February 07, 2009

Molly Peck, National Advertising Manager, Chevrolet. Why Reward Radio Hosts Who Want You to Fail?

Molly Peck, National Advertising Manager, Chevrolet

Dear Molly:

The radio hosts from KSFO in San Francisco have insulted your company, brand, management, and employees. They've called your management incompetents who whore themselves out to the autoworkers union. They've rooted for your bankruptcy, wanted your dealers terminated and said your retired workers are a burden who don't deserve health care or pensions. These insults are currently rewarded with extensive ad buys on KSFO. The Chevy Volt ad was in heavy rotation during this time period on the internet stream and during mid-day broadcast hours on KSFO.

"Let's whore ourselves out to the automobile workers union."
-- Lee Rodgers, morning host on the Big Three American automaker executives, 12-04-2008
(audio link) transcript 1.

"Now the urgency of GM's request has stirred up all sorts of worries that GM may have to file for bankruptcy protection. I say bring it on. [...] GM needs fewer dealerships, it be would a much more efficient way to do business."
–Brian Sussman, evening host 12-02-2008 (audio link: one. two.) transcript 2.

"If this is part of their so called business model, kiss your tax dollars good bye if Congress puts them into this dumb outfit.[…] The whole thing is just nonsense."
- Lee Rodgers commenting on the Chevy Volt 12-02-2008 (audio link) transcript 3

After taking millions of your ad dollars during the good years they could at least have given you an opportunity to tell your side of the story. But they are not journalists; they have no charter to hear your side or get to the truth. Like most conservative radio hosts, they don't run corrections. Instead, they continuously and willfully misstate the facts about your company and industry. (link) transcript 4

What are they talking about when they aren't attacking you? Here are some highlights:

The women in your organization might want to hear the hosts recent discussion about hiring outgoing Presidential Press Secretary Dana Perino for KSFO. Rodgers wonders if "full frontal nudity" in the studio would be part of Perino's role, to show off her "great rack". (Audio link)

In the past Rodgers has said he wanted:

  • Supporters of a Republican presidential candidate traced so he can "run you down and kill you like a mad dog." (video link. audio link) transcript 5
  • Liberals to be hanged; (audio link)
  • A Nebraska man with multiple convictions be tortured with electrodes attached to his testicles before they "blow his bleeping brains out". (audio link)

(Management knew of and approved of all these comments. Rodgers proudly acknowledged them (audio link) and regularly reminds everyone, "Nobody is gonna tell me, what to talk about or not talk about or in what fashion on this radio program! It ain't gonna happen!" (audio link) Keep that in mind before you ask him to stop the insults or death threats.)

You might consider removing your advertising from all of KSFO's shows since there is no way of knowing if your ad might run after Rodgers jokes about lighting a dog on fire (audio link), Brian Sussman jokes about raping men in showers (audio link) or traffic reporter "Officer Vic" jokes about electrocuting a journalist. (audio link) Here's "Officer Vic" reading your commercial for GM dealers (audio link)

KSFO sales reps will probably dismiss the insults as simple news commentary, say the clips are out of context or expect you to trust their interpretation of the audio instead of your own ears. You and your ad buyers can ask them for copies of the full broadcasts containing the attacks on your managers and workers, and you will hear the viciousness of the attacks for yourself. (KSFO is part of the ABC Radio Network which is owned by Citadel Broadcasting NYQ: CDL) .

They are counting on you being too busy fighting for your financial survival to listen or to even care about what they said. Perhaps some of your local dealers would like to listen to the programs to confirm the attacks, especially since it most likely was their co-op ad dollars that paid the attackers' salaries.

As the top conservative talk radio station in the Bay Area, they assume your ad buyer will simply look at the numbers, believe their self description as conservative and buy ads. You can now hear that conservative does not mean pro-American business or worker at KSFO.

They mock your organization and its obligations, and associate your brands with their attacks and inappropriate content. Should these people represent you to the Bay Area? Should your ads be embedded in their internet feed to the rest of the world? Does their claim "I bought a Chevy!" during the go-go years make up for the attacks now?

FYI, the last time I attempted to let advertisers hear what they were paying for on KSFO, ABC Radio/Disney had my entire blog shut down with a meritless copyright claim. (Electronic Frontier Foundation Link) (New York Times article link) The courts have since ruled in favor of bloggers' fair use of audio clips. (EFF link) Sadly this time, I expect privacy invasion and more character assassination from KSFO. This is their preferred method rather than addressing their own hosts' attacks on companies, groups or individuals. When you hear how they characterize me--the person who is alerting you to these attacks--please consider their comments about you as a guide to their character.

I can object to their sexism, violent rhetoric, and attacks on journalists, liberals, Muslims and American auto manufacturers, but they don't care what I think. Rodgers doesn't think you are very smart either, "It's hard to figure who's dumber, the people who run the airlines or the American car companies. (audio link) transcript 6

Do you want to advertise on KSFO, a station that is tainting your brand?. I want to emphasize that you do not limit their speech by removing your paid support. No one is compelling you to advertise. They are already attacking you; why pay for the attacks? They will cry that you are trying to silence them, but as Matt Zimmerman from the EFF said, "While such radio personalities certainly have a right to air their views, the First Amendment says nothing about a right to advertiser-subsidized speech."

A friend of mine in the advertising business said that I'm naïve--that after a little behind the scenes groveling from management, some "clarifications" from the hosts, and a bunch of free ads, you will forgive them in time for Presidents' Day sales. It's your decision where to put your future ad dollars. However, given the history of these hosts, it is only a matter of time before one of them commits some new verbal atrocity. When that happens, do you want your company associated with them? Controversial comments raise their ratings but don't necessarily lead to more sales for you. Will you wait for their next horrific comment or hope that they will change? Please let me know what you decide to do to protect your brand.


(Sent via email Jan. 11, 2009. I didn't hear back from you so I'm posting this here. Your spam filters might have caught this email because of the quotes I used from the hosts. Ironically what they say while promoting your products is so foul your own internal email systems won’t let you receive my email using their broadcast quotes, just one more thing to keep in mind when you decide who to associate your brand with in the future.)

P.S. Note to the corporate PR people reading this, Lee Rodgers thinks you are liars and a "bunch of asskissers." Keep that in mind if someone asks your position on pulling advertising on KSFO. (audio link) (Transcript 7)


Ed Peper, Division General Manager-Chevrolet

Kim Kosak, General Director, Chevrolet Advertising and Sales Promotions
Jan Thomas, Advertising, Promotions, and Motorsports

Paul Montalbano, President, Stewart Chevrolet Cadillac, Colma, CA
Dan Gatto, President, F.H. Dailey Chevrolet, San Leandro, CA
Richard Slade, General Sales Manager, F.H. Dailey Chevrolet

Carolyn Normandin, Volt marketing communications
Terry Rhadigan, Volt marketing communications


Blogger Padre Mickey said...

Excellent letter, Spocko! And I hope it gets the desired results.

Hey, how come I'm not on YOUR blog roll?

11:52 AM  
Blogger David Aquarius said...

Swing it, dude. Swing that hammer straight and true.

I hope by linking to this, my little site can be of some help.

You da man!

4:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home