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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Billboard update: WLW-AM Posts Its Regrets

Just saw that WLW-AM has posted this "Billboard Update" on its 700WLW website:

"We sincerely regret any offense created by our recent billboard advertisements. We moved quickly last week to request immediate removal by the billboard company. They are in the final stages of that process."

But that's not an apology, say Alfonso Cornejo, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA board president, and Jason Riveiro, president of the local League of United Latin American Citizens chapter. Their organizations were among a coalition of 20 religious, ethnic and community groups which demanded a written apology last week for WLW-AM's "The Big Juan" billboards showing a Mexican man in a sombrero with a donkey.

"I consider it an update. I think they need to make a press release. I just happened to stumble upon the statement (on the web). They need to make a press release so people who need to hear it can hear it," says Riveiro, the spokesman at Tuesday's press conference. He says he has an appointment Tuesday with Chuck Frederick, WLW-AM general manager and Clear Channel market manager, to discuss setting up sensitivity sessions and a multi-cultural community advisory board for the station.

The website statement "is not an apology," Cornejo says. "That's not what we're looking for. We want a letter addressed to us, apologizing and explaining to us what happened. I spoke to Chuck Frederick Monday and Tuesday, and I'm told I'll get a letter of apology Thursday."

In an email this morning, Frederick tells me all the billboards have been taken down.


at 5/09/2007 12:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the biggest opponents of these billboards, and I am glad to see them come down.

That said, that message WAS an apology, and the Hispanic Chamber is now grandstanding. I think its leaders are getting caught up in a groundswell of excitement that they did something to effect change. And that is wonderful! It IS! I applaud them!!

But now they are treading into territory in which they run the risk of swinging support to WLW, and rallying ITS base. Their continued calls for publicity of this issue do nothing but publicize WLW. People will want to tune in to see what the talkers there are saying about it. THAT'S WHAT WLW WANTED!! They wanted to stir the pot, and now you're caught in the whirlpool.

Hispanic Chamber: pat yourselves on the back. You did a good thing. But don't play into WLW's handbook - which is exactly what you're doing. There is such a thing as pushing an issue TOO far.

at 5/09/2007 4:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

-They allow Furman to blast me at 16 years old
-They blast TJ

-They FINALLY fire Furman...

So JUST when I thought they might have grown up, took some diversity training classes and figured things out...they allow their advertisers to pull this.

-It is obvious they need to take yet another class on diversity.

at 5/09/2007 6:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sick to death of every loser demanding an apology when "feelings are hurt"....

Someone, somewhere, somehow--STOP!

Let's all take an example from Jeff Ruby: Men have spines--not jelly!

at 5/09/2007 8:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember WLW backing down this way? - or apologizing, for that matter?

at 5/09/2007 9:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Rev. Juan Jackson and Rev. Alphonso Sharpton have gotten involved.

at 5/10/2007 7:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

(From Clear Channel's Web Page)

Letter from Human Resources

At Clear Channel we value diversity as a cornerstone of our business – our people, and how we utilize our differences to embrace diversity as a business strategy.

Workforce diversity, when defined as inclusion, drives a commitment to embrace our differences while creating workable solutions for our clients. We embrace those differences and consider our differences to be one of our greatest strengths. Inclusion and workforce diversity are terms used to describe a business strategy. However, at Clear Channel they are much more than that - inclusion is about letting people in, and eliminating barriers that would keep people out. Inclusion is about people working together, creating solutions for our advertisers across our multi-media assets of Radio, Outdoor, and Television. In other words, Clear Channel is about you.

Our ZERO TOLERANCE policy that prohibits discrimination extends beyond our employees, into each and every market in which we conduct business. We operate openly within a corporate culture that allows each and every Clear Channel employee the opportunity to excel. Are you ready to join our team?

Bill Hamersly
SVP, Human Resources

at 5/10/2007 10:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing that someone could possibly compare a mean-spirited billboard to telling an accused-killer (and business distraction) to leave a restaurant.

The only comparision would be the Hispanic Chamber is like Jeff Ruby, telling WLW to take down its offensive, distracting billboards.

Some people just don't get it. Yes, WLW has the right to free speech, but the Hispanic Chamber has the same right to respond.

at 5/10/2007 4:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of people being offended in this city. I am Italian and if there was a billboard of someone with a mafia gangster pose and some wording, I would LAUGH!!!! This city is ridiculous. From the NAACP to the Hispanics (most of whom are illegal anywyas), get a life!

at 5/10/2007 8:54 PM Blogger Jason said...

Anonymous Italian,

There are 46 million Hispanic citizens (that means legal) in the USA. "Anywyas", I bet those illegals can spell better than you.

at 5/11/2007 4:44 PM Blogger larryb said...

Maybe the thing to do is just have the FCC ban any radio talk shows that dares to discuss any topic that may cause a controversy, that may include religion, sports, war, politics, school levy's. Just have stations play music with a happy melody. And absolutely no billboards that show anything that youd have to use your brain to figure out.

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