Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Decline of our Public Air Waves: Nude Photo Request No Big Deal

Just to start, I'm a radio veteran and former problem morning man at a number of Madison area stations, so what I'm about to write here is not coming from a conservative stuffed shirt.

The local teen leaning station WZEE-FM, or Z-104 as I once knew it, found one of its announcers soliciting nude pic's from listeners for concert tickets. Need I say more...

AP-Tyler Kruze of WZEE-FM (104) told listeners Wednesday the person with the best (nude) picture would win fourth-row tickets to see Sean Kingston. A number of people told a local TV station the stunt was ridiculous and appalling.

Amazingly, and defying decades of precedent to the contrary:
One radio official stands by his DJ. Mike Ferris is the operations manager for Clear Channel Madison. He says people are overreacting, and it was a bit of harmless, frivolous fun. He says seven listeners sent in pictures.
In the past, reckless suggestions like this were met with a reprimand, the usual apology and a few angry looks from station higher ups, like the program director and GM. I happens and is another lesson learned by the announcer. Bit it also opens the station up for all sorts of litigation and listener outrage. Mike Ferris, who has continually shown bad judgement from on air staff and time slot changes to poorly executed overlapping voice elements, didn't connect again with his listeners or appear to be the adult in the room. His tin ear for the multiple stations he oversees is truly mind boggling.

Having been in radio myself for 25 years, as a controversial morning music and talk host, I'm very familiar with station disciplinary actions and suspensions. And while I'm no shrinking violet, I do respect management that has vision and quality control, two qualities Ferris is dramatically in need of.

He says the station verified all the people were adults, but didn't say how.
There's nothing wrong with consenting adults exchanging pictures. By standing by the idea of nude photos for concert tickets, at a radio station supposedly serving the public interest, it opens that station up to criminal liability. It shows poor judgement and poor managerial skills.

And even more surprising, the groups management approved his statement to the press.

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