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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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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hispanics Upset with WLW-AM Again

The second offensive WLW-AM promotional campaign in four months has prompted a national Hispanic organization to demand the resignation of Clear Channel market manager Chuck Fredrick.

A recent WLW-AM on-air promotion offering "helpful phrases" to communicate with illegal aliens, with Spanish music in the background, is proof that Fredrick "reneged on his commitment" to "prevent future offensive materials" on the station after removing its "The Big Juan" billboards in May, says Brent A. Wilkes, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) national executive director.

"The local Hispanic community is outraged that the station is deliberately demeaning them in an effort to increase ratings and profit at the station," said Wilkes, based in Washington, in a letter to John Hogan, Clear Channel Radio CEO in San Antonio, Texas. "They are demanding that Mr. Fredrick be removed from his position and that the demeaning advertisements stop."

In June, a month after the station removed billboards with a Mexican man and a donkey, the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA declared WLW-AM "non-friendly" to Hispanics, and urged members to boycott advertising on the region’s No. 1 staion.

At issue this week is a 30-second promotion with a man saying offering "a few useful phrases next time you converse with an illegal alien" who doesn’t speak English. Then a woman speaks in Spanish, with the man's voice translating the phrase. One was: "Be careful with those hedge clippers around the garden."

Jason Riveiro, Cincinnati-based Ohio LULAC deputy director, says the promotion is "insulting" because of the stereotype, and because of the Mexican background music implying that all illegal aliens are Hispanic. "And we’re offended by their audacity to do this after we had an issue with them (about the billboards) the last time," Riveiro says.

Riveiro says his group targeted Fredrick because he promised in May to review station marketing.

"When I met with face-to-face with him in May, he told me, 'The buck stops here.' And that all advertising and marketing that goes out, he’d have final say on it," Riveiro says.

Fredrick could not be reached for comment, after repeated attempts. After billboards were removed in May, he sent a letter to Hispanic chamber saying "WLW wants to be part of the solution moving forward."

But after a couple meetings with Fredrick, Hispanic chamber members "felt… (he) was insincere in his responses… (and) was not open and honest," according to the chamber's June newsletter. So members launched a campaign to persuade "large, medium and small local companies" not to use WLW-AM, the newsletter said.

Wilkes, in an interview, noted that some talk radio stations "thrive on being politically incorrect and attacking minorities. They make a good bit of money going close to the line as they can get, or going over it, and clearly they've gone over it this time. I think it's unfortunate that Clear Channel is not policing this, and that they're fueling racial divisiveness."

He pointed out the complaint was about a station on-air promotional announcement -- not a remark from a talk host who has free speech rights. "This is the voice of the station. That makes it a lot worse," Wilkes says.

Wilkes' letter also renewed LULAC's request for a community advisory board "to work with the station’s management to prevent future misconduct by the station." During the billboard controversy local Hispanic leaders asked WLW-AM to establish such a board.


at 8/14/2007 4:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WLW ads are hilarious.

at 8/14/2007 5:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Poopy" jokes are funny, too. Teeheehee....

at 8/14/2007 7:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not Hispanic ... and I had thought the commercials were offensive as well ... especially after the other campaign ended so horribly.

Kiese, any word yet on the angry guys moving to supertalk?

at 8/14/2007 8:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares what illegals think. If their opion mattered taco bell would be the #1 restaurant in the world.

at 8/14/2007 10:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Desperate for ratings...end of story.

at 8/14/2007 10:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet one more reason to question why the clown, miscreant, bottom-feeding, corporate sell out that is Darryl Parks has a job. Is he not the last line for what goes on the air on the "sacred airwaves" of this once proud station? Not only should Chuck Frederick be shown the door, but Parks should be the one paving the way. What an absolute disgrace those airwaves have become. The sad-sophomoric humor is the lowest, weakest attempt of entertainment. Powell Crosley has got to be turning over in his grave and probably thanking God he os not alive to have to listen to the drivel that is the stinking, sinking ship of WLW.

at 8/14/2007 10:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone surprised by this? And Clear Channel pledges a commitment to diversity? Wow.

at 8/15/2007 12:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is everyone going to wake up and realize that WLWs low brow insulting humor isnt humor at all? Sirius and XM are running regular radio out of business and stations are resorting to these tactics. The bullys at WLW will soon be speaking to a smaller audience and this type of stuff will continue.

at 8/15/2007 8:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

700 strikes again!! They use the oldest tricks in the business. They no going in the ads are going to get groups fired up and protest. Then the station issues an apology and the result -- everybody is talking about 700 and then their ratings go sky high. Not rocket science, just the radio business and arrogant twits like Darryl ( I cant tell you my real name), Joe Frederick and others!! I would just love to be a business and have a Clear Channel sales rep call on me to buy air time and I would love to tell the 30 something geek to get the hell out of my business!!!

at 8/15/2007 8:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Frederick saying the "buck stops here". Ha what a hoot. They know what they are doing every time they create this crap!!

at 8/15/2007 8:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

LULAC cam meet with these people until the cows come home and nothing will change. The radio station knows what they are doing and will do it again. Its their make-up. Dont waste your breath. Would'nt it be neat if they started the same type of humor toward the black community. Gee wonder why they never do that? Hey Darryl (whatever your real name is) Parks - why were you so soft spoken when you were on 610 WTVN in Columbus?

at 8/15/2007 8:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of our clients was about to sign a large contract with WLW, as of this morning the deal is off.

There is nothing wrong with poking fun at ourselves once in a while, but these guys seem to have a pattern of insensitive behavior that focuses on the hispanic community.

Grow up...

at 8/15/2007 10:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boycott them! Fire that Fredrick as well.

at 8/15/2007 11:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..who cares what illegals think?"
You aren't paying attention. The offended group is comprised of LEGAL hispanic-americans. Grouping all of them together to take a stab at illegals is the insensitive issue at hand.
It's Chuck Fredrick, by the way. Not Joe, not Mike.

at 8/15/2007 1:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Anon 8/15 8:41
Its really ashame this proud station with the tradition they had over the years has come to this. I think its WONDERFUL news that a Client backed out when they heard of this latest issue. I hope it continues. We have had enough of this in your face confrontational radio. Bill Wills moved to Cleveland, why can't Darryl ( I wish you all knew my real name ) Parks?

at 8/15/2007 7:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

700 stoops to racism in order to get ratings. Look at the Furman incident. And don't tell any of us that Furman's programmers were not egging him on during the rant on Houshmandzadeh.

Now, slapping Hispanics. And their home office is in San Antonio, which is majority Hispanic?

at 8/15/2007 8:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when I was in my 20's and listened to 700 all day long in the office.

Since Daryl Parks took over I listen less and less to the point where I only listen to the Reds games now. McConnell became a shill, Cunningham became more moronic and less entertaining and sports coverage went down the toilet. The only thing worth listening to on that station anymore is Burbank....from 4-430.

Do yourself a favor and buy a Sirius radio. You will never go back to terrestrial radio.

at 8/16/2007 8:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They've been Number 1 for how long? How many AM stations repeatedly put up the numbers, both audience and profit, of 'LW? Curse them all you want - they're laughing all the way to the bank.

at 8/16/2007 9:15 AM Blogger G-RANT said...

when burbank leaves they're out of luck anyway.

there's an idea, just play old gilbert gnarley sketches all day.

to be honest, i'd rather hear more racist comercials than have to listen to that bond girl from the 70's show pimp a las vegas resort again.

at 8/16/2007 9:16 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a citizen of Ohio and of the United States, I am offended that LULAC defends illegals, and believe that those who aid and abet illegal acts in this country need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Satire of lawbreakers is not the problem here. The subversion of our country by invaders who would kill us is the problem, and it's about time we started getting serious about defending our country against all invaders, no matter what their ethnicity is. That an organization like LULAC will attack first amendment rights while defending illegal activities shows their true colors. And they ain't red, white or blue.

at 8/16/2007 10:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Continuous in depth team coverage.
When you need to know.
The tri state news leader.
The station with more traffic and weather.
traffic on the 10's

Have you ever heard such crap?????
when there is no radio news anywhere on the am dial locally>

at 8/16/2007 1:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:16,

I admire your conviction, but different topic altogether. It is not who WLW insulted, again. It is the fact that they keep doing it again and again and again. It is a tired station, with tired hosts and a tired idea. The fact that Clear Channel owns the best other AM signals in town, is yet another problem. The major problem here, is the broadcast industry itself. Like WLW, it is a shell of its former self.

And to the other brainiac that said WLW is laughing all the way to the bank, that is because they fired two dozen people at Christmas last year to make the bottom line look better. If that is how you like to act, laughing all the way to the bank at other peoples expense, then you are not the kind of people I would want to be associated with. That is why I choose not to listen to the child like humor of that once proud station. And trust me, there are a lot more people that feel that way. What comes around, goes around.

at 8/16/2007 2:24 PM Anonymous DAWillmore said...

Anonymous, if you want to make your comments, at least have the courage to identify yourself. Only cowards make statements and refuse to identify themselves.

The problem in today's Politically Correct Environment is that no one has a sense of humor.

The add specifies ILLEGAL aliens. Not Hispanics in general. With all the hype there has been nation wide, this topic is wide open.

Get a life. WLW doesn't have to scramble for ratings. They have been, are, and will remain one of the highest rated radio stations in the land.

I am not afraid to identify myself.

Dave Willmore

at 8/16/2007 3:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 10:41...
Right up there with the station that's "on your side", or the one "where the news comes first" or "live, local, latebreaking".

Let's go on with "today's best music", "playing the greatest hits of the ****", "less talk, more rock" or any other billions of liners.

It's just marketing. Deal with it.

at 8/16/2007 4:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am becoming increasingly disappointed with WLW,and it has nothing to do with their hispanic rants. I agree with G-Grant about the Tanya Roberts plug that Jim Scott does every morning,but what is even worse,the "male stimulation" cream.
Give me a break!
from the neighborhood

at 8/16/2007 5:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like 700WLW is taking the WEBN approach to get people stirred up! Looks like it is working!

at 8/16/2007 9:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck Fredrick is saying the two promos aired by mistake. WLW insiders should let us know whether that's true.

at 8/17/2007 6:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those spots are hilarious, as were the Big Juan spots. Everyone needs to lighten up and take a joke as a joke. This guy sounds like a marketing genius!!

at 8/17/2007 7:17 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

aired by mistake? Please Chuck, tell us another line. Yea, and you dont do silly things like this to get everyone talking about WLW and then your ratings skyrocket. Chuck, maybe you should go back to Columbus.

at 8/17/2007 11:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Illegal Aliens are Illegal!!! They have no rights here in America and why do people look the other way about them. They are breaking the law and continue to break more serious laws while here in the United States, like murder and robbery. Get a grip. I bet the supporters of Illegals would change their mind if they or their families were affected directly by an illegal who committed a crime against them.

at 8/19/2007 8:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The spots further the stereotypes of an entire race, not just illegals. This is LULAC's issue, and this is where dimwits don't understand the problem.

at 8/19/2007 10:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do illegal immigrants have to do with crappy radio? That is what we are discussing. Not the content of what they aired, that is just lazy, sophomoric, low class humor. The gist of this post has been why WLW stoops to this low brow style of so-called entertainment. They should be above that. The legacy of that station is to grand for the low class product it has become. The owners and programmers are the lowest form on the broadcast food chain.

As for illegals, ship their butts back to their home countries, simple as that.

at 8/20/2007 11:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A note to all you people who keep touting WLW's past as if they were sooooooo lilly white and think their only concern was serving the public good:

Please do some research. The entire POINT for WLW's existence in the first place was so Powel Crosley could sell more radios. That's it. The whole reason the signal strength was 500,000 watts at one point was so more people with cheap Crosley radios could get their signal, so they could tell all their friends about it who would then buy more cheap Crosley radios.
I am a nostalgic too, but quit blurring the lines so much and believing the "Good Old Days" were all so pure and utopian.

at 8/20/2007 11:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because Powell created WLW to sell his radio's and just because Powell juiced up the signal, doesn't mean he put crappy programming on the air. What comes around, goes around and the class-less brand of so-called entertainment the simpletons at WLW now program, including the cliffs notes version of a radio newscast, will come eventually come around. Good luck at that September sell off meeting CC employees. The next round of layoffs should be coming again, right before Christmas like last year.

at 8/20/2007 1:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, originally, much of the programming on his station and all others was crappy. Not saying that it ain't crappy today, I just argue you need to keep some perspective, there has been plenty of crappy thru the entire span. And whoever keeps saying Powel would be rolling over in his grave about it is dead wrong. The station continues to make money, and a lot of it. That was pretty much all Powel would have cared about. He was not as altruistic as some want to think.

at 8/21/2007 7:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA HA. Reading news on WLW from cliff notes. Best comment ever!!!

at 8/21/2007 7:06 PM Anonymous rick said...

WLW knows EXACTLY what it is doing. WLW does NOTHING by accident.
Darryl Parks is a genius and WLW is permanently #1 in the market.

Go back to Mexico!

at 8/22/2007 4:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will never convince me otherwise, but you JUST KNOW that Parks and Fredericks are still doubled over in laughter over this whole deal. They are loving it with the picketers outside, and the letters, and the protest. Come on people, you cant fight these people , they are powerful and they know full well what they are doing. I cant picture the straight face that Fredericks must have going to the meetings with these folks.

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