Wednesday, January 24, 2007

WWRL: Seder out, Stephanie in

In retaliation for comments made about morning co-host and Republican propagandist Armstrong Williams, Sam Seder's mid-morning show has been taken off New York's WWRL, effective this morning.

Yesterday, Seder ripped into Williams for incorrect comments he made about a run-in President Bush had with Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) a month or so ago. WWRL management took exception to Seder's bashing of Williams and yanked his show off their airwaves. As of this morning, WWRL is airing Stephanie Miller's show in the timeslot.

Across the internet, many of Seder's hardcore fans are enraged, with some blaming the move on his syndicator, Air America Radio. This move, however, was made by WWRL. Whether it affects the affiliation agreement between Air America and the station is unknown at this time.

Nonetheless, Seder is gone from WWRL, Miller gains a New York affiliate and Williams is still waking up New York with his more liberal cohost Sam Greenfield. However, Williams is no longer being paid by the White House to suck up to them.

UPDATE 1/25: It appears Seder is back on WWRL this morning. Whether the station decided to threaten carriage of his show to keep him in line (re: keep from dissing WWRL's personalities) or whether Air America stepped in and held them to the contract is unknown. I guess Steph was a one day thing.


Melina said...

It remains unclear as to what WWRL is doing in response to the enormous outcry about Sam Seder's show being pulled in New York...But, what is clear is that statements that include inflammatory wording like "ripped into" add nothing to the real problem of why Armstrong Williams is able to influence his program directors to such an extent and about something so minor. Sam Greenfield must be shaking in his boots!
I know that its just reporterly exciting writing but if you hear what Sam said, you'd see that it was snarky at its worst...and not even hardly that. When Sam is ripping into someone you know it.
I have the feeling that Armstrong Williams will be sorry for digging this whole thing up because many of us now are back in the google pile remembering how heinous his actions were: he hurt kids by misrepresenting himself for money!
How horrible is that?

If you have some real information as to what the WWRL Lineup will be, please let us all know. The word I got diectly on the phone from WWRL was that Sam was not being broadcast on "our air for today..."
but that there is no word about what will happen tomorrow. They were getting alot of calls and feedback. They are counting.

Anonymous said...

All Access says they ran Stephanie Miller yesterday, and Sam was having an on-air hissy-fit (where he is being heard) telling (remaining) listeners to deluge AAR with repeated phone calls. That would be enough to get him fired most places.
Today Stephanie; tomorrow Schultz?

Jill said...

I would hardly call it a "hissy fit." Did you actually hear the show? If you are in NY, probably not, unless you are a premium subscriber and get the podcasts, which I am and do. Sam S. (as opposed to the sellout Sam G.) seemed kind of amused by the whole thing, and while he did urge fans of the show to call, he did not tell them to "deluge AAR with repeated phone calls." That you even said this shows your ignorance. AAR didn't take Sam's show off yesterday, WWRL did, and that's the contact information Sam gave.

Asking listeners to call radio outlets and ask for certain shows is done frequently. Your tone indicates that you are a right-wing troll. Why does having dissenting voices like Sam Seder on the air threaten you so much? Are you afraid your little tunnel reality might collapse if you are "forced" to hear the truth? You might try changing stations if you don't like it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jill...

You just have to make it about politics, don't you?
You don't know me and you don't know my political views. Stop making stuff up!
If you want liberal talk radio to succeed, it needs good hosts and good shows. That means it needs Stephanie Miller in New York, and Ed Schultz and Mike Malloy. That means getting rid of no talent, third rate lightweights like Seder, Maddow and Elliott.
I say call WWRL and tell the to dump Seder for good. New York has had a taste of Steph. The Big Apple has gotten it's first taste of liberal talk without AAR.
The number is 718-335-9975

ltr said...

Still stirring the pot, huh Fred?

Anyhoo, what Seder did is nothing new in talk radio. Howard Stern lost his first Chicago affiliate years ago (WLUP) when he constantly dissed the station's other personalities (like Jonathan Brandmeier and Steve Dahl) and even the station management. Ed Schultz was yanked off WCKY in Cincinnati for a day last fall when he went into a vicous rant about the station's shoddy presentation, lack of attention to detail and numerous automation glitches. I wrote an article about that a while back, and quite frankly, having listened to WCKY, I certainly couldn't argue with him. Schultz was eventually dropped by WTPG in Columbus by the same Clear Channel regional VP who oversees WSAI/WCKY. Randi Rhodes used to complain about affiliates that did the same thing (like in Atlanta and San Francisco). More recently, Glen Beck made a big national stink about his (now) former Columbus affiliate when they wanted to shift his show to one of their other stations (coincidentally, the soon-to-be reformatted WTPG). So yes, what Seder did was nothing new in talk radio.

However, when hosts do lash out at their affiliates on live, nationwide radio, they do indeed run the risk of getting dropped. No station managers want themselves or thier stations to be insulted in this fashion. I don't think it's a good idea to diss your affiliates in this way (though incidents like this do give me something juicy to write about). Everyone knows Armstrong Williams is a scumbag shill. However, there is that old saying about 'pissing where you eat' (for lack of a much more vulgar term).

Jill said...

For the record, here is a transcript of what Sam Seder said about this on his show of 1/24/07. This is transcribed from the podcast.

"Ladies and gentlemen...AAR is a radio network syndicator which sends its feeds to affiliates around the country. There are different affiliate relationshps AAR has with local affiliates. In NYC, WWRL -- the relationship we have with them is they actually maintain their own AM show, which had pre-existed before AAR began to bcast on 1600 AM. And that show consists of Sam Greenfield -- a guy I've known actually for quite some time -- and Armstrong Williams. And on occasion, I have pointed out the fact that AW, although he is ostensibly on the network -- on the station -- that AAR is run on in New York, is on the WH payroll. Not him specifically, but the company that he owned, and he actually had to give back 30K -- I'm not sure of the exact details at this point. Yesterday on the Armstrong Williams/Sam Greenfield morning program, Armstrong Williams was mischaracterizing the exchange that Jim Webb had with George W. Bush, and I mentioned this at the beginning of the program yesterday, and I suggested that I did not believe that Armstrong Williams is any longer on the White House payroll. Apparently this upset the people at WWRL and they have decided to teach me some type of lesson by not carrying my program today. My understanding is that this contravents the contract that AAR has with WWRL, and if you would like to suggest that they put my program back on, you can reach them at [phone number]"

[repeats the number...takes a call, caller isn't there.]

"OK, we will get to your calls in just a moment. Once again, that number, if you'd like to tell WWRL that if they don't appreciate my saying anyting about AW, they can come and tell me directly, is [phone number]"

I repeat: this is hardly a "hissy fit."

If you prefer the progressive stylings of Stephanie Miller, that's your business. My sister LOVES Stephanie Miller, and I just don't see the charm. But then, I'm an old Morning Sedition fan and still listen to PJ Sauter's Sedition Radio stream in the mornings.

To each his own.

Armstrong Williams' history is clearly a sore spot at WWRL, as well it should be. The show doesn't belong on AAR, and AAR had to take a pig in a poke with this one. Greenfield gets upset every time someone calls and reminds listeners that Williams took payola from the Bush Administration in the past and asks if Williams is being paid for his views on various subjects. As a result of shilling for NCLB, Williams has no credibility.

Whether Seder should have even gone there is a matter of opinion. However, given how AAR jerked him around before moving him to AM, and given what they did to Mike Malloy and Marc Maron, I'm sure sometimes it's hard for Sam to hide his cynicism with the way AAR has handled its presence in NY.

Anonymous said...

I'd compare the Sam and Armie show to Curtis and Kuby on WABC. Ron Kuby is the lone (token, if you prefer) liberal on an otherwise authoritarian conservative talk station. But the mix of political oil and water can be good radio, if you can pull it off. I think Curtis and Kuby do pull it off. IMHO Sam and Armie are less successful. But I wouldn't dismiss the idea of a paired-up liberal host and devil's advocate conservative on a progressive talk station. The name of the game is good radio. Progressive talk is just a format in which good radio much occur for progressive talk to succeed.

On air feuds can be good radio (and have been, all the way back to Jack Benny and Fred Allen). But to work, your opponent must be another public figure. When Howard came into a market, he'd pick fights with his competitors on other stations. To bitch about "backstage" radio matters and people the audience doesn't know is not good radio. And, yes, it's a good way to get dumped. Station managers and PDs have the thinnest skins known to science.

Jill said...

A better analogy would be "The Buzz", which had Richard Bey as the "one hair left of center" and Steve Malzberg as the conservative. Ron Kuby is an unapologetic, unabashed liberal.

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