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Censorship_ON O&A Suspended 30 Days by XM


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#1 of 42 Chris

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Posted May 15 2007 - 08:16 AM

http://xmradio.media....ases&item=1452

I have no idea what was said, so I can't really comment, but find it funny that CBS Radio will not suspend them from their daily show, but XM Radio is suspending them for 30 days...

The issue began as a homeless man was reportedly encouraged to make threats to rape and kill Condoleeza Rice & Laura Bush. XM, worried about legal ramifications and merger implications, asked for an apology on Monday's show, and when the apology did not occur, instead a plea for "we fight censorship" O&A were summarily suspended.

EDIT: Nevermind. If R&R is right, O&A are having their contract terminated by XM, and will become CBS Exclusive (which I thought would happen WAY before now)
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#2 of 42 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 15 2007 - 10:24 AM

Chris,

I just called a friend at XM. O&A have not been fired,
just suspended for 30 days.

This is difficult water to tread because at any point my
own personal opinion may violate forum rules. Let's
see how far we can discuss this without having to close
this thread....

What is happening now in radio is absolutely appalling.
To see that any special interest group with a "letterhead"
can go after radio stations and their content is downright
scary.

With movies that depict racial stereotyping and cartoons
on Comedy Central that use the "N" word, suddenly RADIO
has been selected as the media that must be "nice." In fact,
in addition to the stringent FCC rules that forced Howard Stern
to go to satellite (in addition to a huge paycheck), there is now
a manual being issued to radio stations on hurtful words that can
no longer be said on the air.

I have been a loyal Opie and Anthony listener for years and I
have to say that over the past months, by no fault of their own,
their radio show has gone down the tubes. Instead of being able
to concentrate on the shocking humor that many of us tuned into
them for, their efforts have now turned to going after people
and groups who are trying to censor radio. Every day the duo
spends at least an hour of their CBS show railing against Al Sharpton
and these special interest groups. There's hardly any comedy to
be heard because quite frankly, the guys don't know what sort of
material is going to be deemed inappropriate.

I heard the particular O&A segment last Wednesday that got them
in trouble. It was aired from XM and featured a homeless guy that
was pulled off the street. The homeless guy essentially made rude
sexual comments about Condoleeza Rice and The Queen
of England
, with O&A chuckling on the sidelines. Mind you, this was
completely horrible dialogue, but it was clear that it was being done
for humor.

I listen to Howard Stern on a semi-regular basis as well. That
show has its share of racist material and the frequent sprinkling
of the "N" word. All of it is done under the context of humor.

And Chris, you are dead right when you say it's odd that O&A
would get in trouble on satellite radio rather than their CBS show.
O&A have been saying for weeks that they expect to be fired from
CBS for something they may utter, but will at least have XM to
fall back on. Funny how things turn out.

Opie and Anthony cannot survive on CBS radio in the same way
that Howard Stern felt he could not.

What bothers me here is that now satellite radio is being put
under the microscope. This was the one venue I thought would
be completely immune from any sort of censorship, and I'm very
surprised that at least on Monday's show, Howard Stern didn't
even address the issue. This concerns his show as much as it
does the Opie and Anthony show. I heard someone talking the
other day about the FCC looking to possibly regulate satellite,
though somehow, that seems impossible (or does it?)

Personally, I'm tired of regular radio. I tune into Opie and
Anthony because I want to hear people say things that are
shocking, intriguing and funny. Suddenly, however, radio
stations are caving into special interest groups and the rules
as to what you can and cannot say are being updated on a
daily basis pending on who gets fired for saying what.

There is so much more to be said about what is going on here
and I wish I could really talk about the real issues. Unfortunately,
that would cross boundaries of discussion we don't allow here.

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#3 of 42 KyleC

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Posted May 15 2007 - 11:45 AM

Bravo Ron, excellent post. I tried to get on wackbag but it's been completely bogged down. I've heard from a few "pests" that people are cancelling over this but if you don't want to do that you can ask that you get a refund for the month they were suspended. Personally, my wife and I subscribed to XM simply to listen to OnA. My wife 98% of the time has OnA on her radio and nothing else. I think the only way to send a clear message is to cancel. I have 5 radios on my account and I subscribed for the same reasons you did, radio freedom.

You can also express your displeasure to these people:

XM RADIO

1(800)XM RADIO (give your radio ID when you call)

1500 Eckington Place, NE

Washington DC 20002

www.xmradio.com

Eric Logan, Exec VP Programming (202)380-4365 eric.logan@xmradio.com
Gary Parsons, Chairman, gary.parsons@xmradio.com
Steve Cook, EVP, steve.cook@xmradio.com
Joseph J. Euteneuer, CFO, joseph.euteneuer@xmradio.com
Chance Patterson, VP Corporate Affairs, chance.patterson@xmradio.com
Carolyn Turner, Corporate Communications, carolyn.turner@xmradio.com
Dan Turner, Programming dan.turner@xmradio.com

#4 of 42 James St

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Posted May 15 2007 - 12:06 PM

Well said Ron. The biggest issue seems to be one that cannot be discussed here.

Here's what Patrice O'neal had to say Monday night on Fox News. Enjoy...



#5 of 42 WillG

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Posted May 15 2007 - 12:25 PM

Quote:
This was the one venue I thought would
be completely immune from any sort of censorship,


Supposedly, this isn't a censorship issue per se. Supposedly this suspension occured not because of what was said on that paticular show, but because they signed an agreement that they would not discuss it further on the air and XM felt that they broke that agreement.

Quote:
I just called a friend at XM. O&A have not been fired,
just suspended for 30 days.


Of course, the recent radio firings have pretty much all started out as suspensions. There are some apparently promenent member of Wackbag who are claiming that per "very reliable" sources they have been fired from XM. Of course, it's unconfirmed, but the possibility is not outlandish either, especially with the pending merger.


Quote:
and I'm very
surprised that at least on Monday's show, Howard Stern didn't
even address the issue. This concerns his show as much as it
does the Opie and Anthony show


Is it truly surprising? Howard doesn't care about anyone else (including when it comes to free speech. He basically admitted that when Sean Hannity asked him about the gag order he had placed on them when they were at WNEW) but himself. As long as this does not bite him in the ass, I'm sure he is delighted about what happened to Imus and what is happening to O&A

Quote:
That
show has its share of racist material and the frequent sprinkling
of the "N" word. All of it is done under the context of humor.

And he gets away with it because his sidekick is black and she laughs at all the racist stuff.
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#6 of 42 Chris

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Posted May 15 2007 - 12:51 PM

Ron-

My apologies for my assertion of their termination, I just wanted to note that is what R&R (Radio & Records) had in their afternoon bulletin, so that's where I took it from, so my bad on that.

I think this issue with O&A is sad and a matter of censorship on ONE point, XM shouldn't have asked them to apologize Friday. By doing so, they made it into a story by turning it into a story.

But O&A made the problem worse for themselves on Monday when, told to just 'move on" from it and not mention it, they continued to mention and they railed against their employer. I think if they had not railed against their employer this would not come up at all. In the end, they made the joke and XM did not take them off the air, they did their show on Monday. When on the air they called the XM PDs "crap" and made jokes about them and said that their apology was not sincere, XM retaliated by giving them a 30 day suspension.

I think if this was about the joke, and they were thrown off only because of that, it would be a major ordeal.. but XM did let them back on the air Monday. It was only after their "our apology is BS" bit did they get the hook.
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#7 of 42 Tim_Stack

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Posted May 15 2007 - 01:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillG


Is it truly surprising? Howard doesn't care about anyone else (including when it comes to free speech. He basically admitted that when Sean Hannity asked him about the gag order he had placed on them when they were at WNEW) but himself. As long as this does not bite him in the ass, I'm sure he is delighted about what happened to Imus and what is happening to O&A

And he gets away with it because his sidekick is black and she laughs at all the racist stuff.

He talked about the situation. I happen to agree with his assessment - which was that the bit was unfunny and that should be the overriding concern. That's what you guys should be concerned about - instead of attacking HS. There's a layer of satire that Stern's bits contain that I think other radio goofs just don't have. When the "N" word is used, it is usually in the context of exposing racist attitudes of guests, celebrities or staff members. The same goes for sexist content, it is about delving into the psyches of the person saying it, not the comment itself. Robin being black has nothing to do with it and I find that a little racist to bring up, frankly. That homeless guy on O&A just wasn't funny and they weren't trying to find out why he would say something like that - that's where true comedy can come into play.

#8 of 42 KyleC

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Posted May 15 2007 - 01:09 PM

According to Zagman at Wackbag, OnA have indeed been fired from XM. Not confirmed though.

#9 of 42 WillG

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Posted May 15 2007 - 01:45 PM

Quote:
Robin being black has nothing to do with it and I find that a little racist to bring up, frankly.

Well call it what you will but I think Robin's presense has not hurt his ability to get away the racial humor he's done through the years. Would you think it's racist to think that, for example, hip hop artists get away with glorifying violence, promiscuity, drug use, misogny and using the N-Word because most of them are black? Maybe, but it seems that it's just the way it is.

Quote:
According to Zagman at Wackbag, OnA have indeed been fired from XM

The more I think about it, the more I am concerned that this is a real possibility. XM, of course, will deny that they have been fired until they have officially announced it. So just because they are sticking to the suspension story, doesn't necessairly make it so. All these radio firings recently were originally suspensions (O&A have said several times that it is pretty much S.O.P. to "suspend" the offending talent until all the termination red tape has been settled.) They are working on a controversial merger and don't need more controversy. They have a mostly lukewarm, at best, relationship with most of XM management. The person who will be the head of the merged company if it does indeed happend hates O&A and so does his #1 talent at his current company.

I hope I'm wrong because thought it appears that their CBS show is still on, it is only a matter of time before they are fired from there for God knows what.
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#10 of 42 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 15 2007 - 09:27 PM

No apology necessary, Chris. In fact I didn't have the full story either.

The last I heard was Monday's show as I am off from work.
I usually download their shows to an iPod and listen to it a day or
two later. On Monday, they were indeed railing against XM. None
of us, at that point, had any idea that the boys signed a gag order.

This morning I received this email:

Quote:
As many of you know by now Opie and Anthony have been suspended from XM Satellite Radio. It is feared that this is much more than a simple suspension. Although this may seem like extremely short notice here is what you can do to help. It has been brought to our attention by someone “from the top” that our help is needed and would be GREATLY appreciated if we can be in attendance at CBS Studios tomorrow morning (Wednesday May 15, 2007). There will be tons of press there and this is a great opportunity to be seen/heard. Bring your XM Radios to smash in front of the press, signs, ect. , anything you can do would be in direct support of the show and greatly appreciated!

Had I known of this late yesterday I would have gotten in my car
and gone up to NYC in support of O&A. Instead, I am going to fire
a letter off to the company.

As far as some of the additional comments....

I hope that Robin being black hasn't anything to do with the racial
humor that Howard gets away with. I listen to Howard when I can,
and there is constant amount of racial humor going on within that
show. Most of it comes through Fred who plays "turkey in the straw"
music when a black person calls in or "chicken cluck" noises for a
Mexican. Personally, I don't mind it because I know it's being done
as humor. Every ethnic background gets made fun of on these shows.
Howard Stern should be VERY concerned about what is now happening
to satellite radio, and I would bet you anything that he's going to be
stepping on eggshells from now on.

I understand now that O&A were suspended/fired because they broke
a gag order saying they would not talk about their XM situation. For
those of us that know Opie and Anthony, perhaps they knew they
would lose their jobs but decided it was more important to speak
their minds on this issue.

Just reading through these comments above....

WilG, I agree that if XM and SIRIUS merge that O&A
will probably be dropped because of Mel Karamazin. However,
it's important you know that O&A are currently the biggest
subscriber draw on XM radio, even beating out Oprah Winfrey.

I agree whole-heartedly that O&A breaking a gag order by
railing against XM on Monday's CBS show is terms for dismissal.
O&A probably knew the risk they were taking in doing it, so
perhaps it was part of their game plan.

On the other hand, there is a much bigger picture here to be seen.
All of this started weeks before this incident when Imus was
fired from CBS radio. Instead of defending their talent that had been
on the air for 40 years, CBS caved into media and advertiser pressure.
A few weeks later, two more DJs are fired from making an asian
prank phone call. Suddenly, the FCC puts out a guidebook on
Words that can be hurtful which prohibits broadcasters from
talking about certain topics/groups. Radio has become so sanitized
that there is very little out there other than these ghastly morning radio
shows that play music and feature dopey, phony radio personalities.

What happened with Imus has totally changed radio forever.
For CBS to empower people like Al Sharpton and these special interest
groups is just plain dangerous. Furthermore, if satellite radio now has
to follow the same rules of being "nice radio," then we really have much
to fear.

It is complete hypocrisy when certain ethnic groups cannot say words
that others can. It is complete hypocrisy when the "N" word can be
littered all over HipHop music and SouthPark cartoons, but can't be said
on the radio. If you are going to sanitize radio, you need to equally apply
the same sanitization to everything and everyone else.

I also feel (and here is where I get real careful) that this country is
getting more sanitized by the minute and it's not coming from the majority
of the population but rather from the vocal minority that puts in the extra
effort to get their voices heard.

James, thanks for the YouTube link. Perfect!

Ronald J Epstein
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#11 of 42 frogpond

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Posted May 16 2007 - 03:36 AM

So we have three accounts, mine, my wife's and my mothers(XMas present). When I first bought my Honda (2004) it came with XM and I thought it was awsome. Because I work in the entertainment industry I got to meet Lee Abrams and Gary Parsons in 2004. It was good dialogue and I firmly believed that XM was going to be huge. Now I agree with the article (Downfall of satelite radio) that was posted elsewhere. This just puts a capper on it. Back in 04 the play lists were very varied plus you heard bands and songs you may not have heard anywhere else, there were no commericals and cencorship was far from anyones mind.
Today we canned all three accounts. Funny thing was as soon as we said we were canceling we were immediately transferred to a supervisor. We were offered not one but two months free service on all three and then they tried to offer us reduced rates at the end of the free period.
Nighty night satelite radio...they are desperate.

#12 of 42 TheLongshot

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Posted May 16 2007 - 04:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
I agree whole-heartedly that O&A breaking a gag order by
railing against XM on Monday's CBS show is terms for dismissal.
O&A probably knew the risk they were taking in doing it, so
perhaps it was part of their game plan.

Maybe. Personally, when you have an agreement with your management over something, you should follow it. I think XM was well within their rights to tell O&A that they did cross some lines and to then talk about it afterwards after you agreed not to talk about it wasn't very professional. To be honest, this seems to be a ploy to get out of their agreement with XM.

It actually sounds similar to the Eddie Trunk incident a couple of years ago. For those who don't know, Eddie has a show on Da Boneyard, at that time on Saturday evenings, where he plays music and has guests on. Well, at the time baseball player Mike Piazza was on the show and they were talking about music, and Piazza went off on the content of the station (which Trunk really wasn't involved with). He tried to control the situation, but listeners got in on the act and were calling in saying the same thing. After that show, Trunk ws put on indefinite hiatus and was eventually fired. Course, since then, the PD responsible was let go, and when a new one was hired, Trunk was rehired.

Course, in that case, Trunk wasn't trying to get fired.

Quote:
On the other hand, there is a much bigger picture here to be seen.
All of this started weeks before this incident when Imus was
fired from CBS radio. Instead of defending their talent that had been
on the air for 40 years, CBS caved into media and advertiser pressure.

Are you really surprised? Fact is, on OTA radio, the listeners aren't the customers. It is the advertisers who are the customers, buying advertising time based on ratings we provide. We are part of the product. Course, when the product gets too distaseful, advertisers get skittish.

Ultimately, CBS doesn't care much about free speech as they do about the money they get. But, none of this really has much to do with this situation, since XM doesn't work off of that business model.

Quote:
It is complete hypocrisy when certain ethnic groups cannot say words
that others can. It is complete hypocrisy when the "N" word can be
littered all over HipHop music and SouthPark cartoons, but can't be said
on the radio. If you are going to sanitize radio, you need to equally apply
the same sanitization to everything and everyone else.

Problem is, you are comparing cable to broadcast. If the "N" word was being said regularly on network TV, then you'd have an argument. But, it isn't. If it was, you'd see a similar uproar there. You see that occasionally with shows that have questionable content. Some affiliates won't play such shows.

As for HipHop, almost guaranteed that most broadcast radio stations run edited songs. It shocks me when I do hear an unedited song, like Dire Straits "Money For Nothing", because I've been used to the radio edits.

Quote:
I also feel (and here is where I get real careful) that this country is
getting more sanitized by the minute and it's not coming from the majority
of the population but rather from the vocal minority that puts in the extra
effort to get their voices heard.

The sanitation has been there a long time. It started way back in the 80s with the PMRC and that's when the idea of sanitised albums came from.

Jason

#13 of 42 WillG

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Posted May 16 2007 - 05:35 AM

Quote:
I agree that if XM and SIRIUS merge that O&A
will probably be dropped because of Mel Karamazin. However,
it's important you know that O&A are currently the biggest
subscriber draw on XM radio, even beating out Oprah Winfrey.

Yes, apparently this is true. However, in light of this merger they may be seen as a liability no matter how poplular they are on the platform.

Quote:
Course, when the product gets too distaseful, advertisers get skittish

True, but the broadcasting companies fold way too easilly and quickly at little more than the first sign of trouble. And ultimately, this just encourages others who do not like what they hear. If CBS had decided to ride out the Imus situation, I would bet his ratings would have gone up and the sponsors who jumped ship would have been back after the dust settled or replaced by new sponsors. If they found that they could no longer sell his show, then get rid of him.

Quote:
Problem is, you are comparing cable to broadcast. If the "N" word was being said regularly on network TV, then you'd have an argument.


Cable may not be subject to the FCC but the use of the N word was never an FCC violation. Cable may be subscription based, but millions of households subscribe. If you are talking about terms of numbers of viewers with Broadcast vs. Cable. You may have a point about objectionable material more likely to get a response on broadcast. However, you still don't see advertisers running from South Park, or MTV. Why don't they care when those two networks regularly air material more objectionalbe than anything Imus or JV and Elvis did. There is very reason that radio should be held to enormously higher standards than cable.
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#14 of 42 KyleC

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Posted May 16 2007 - 06:48 AM

I called and canceled all 5 of my radios today, and they were trying to throw in free months but I said no.

#15 of 42 dailW

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Posted May 16 2007 - 03:01 PM

i am going to get xm next week because of what happened.
i don't know if i will get a boombox or listen on line but i do want to support xm at this time.
i know there are a lot of people out there that love listening to opie and anthony but there comes a time when you need to listen to your bosses.
and not to blame them.

#16 of 42 Chris

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Posted May 17 2007 - 12:59 AM

http://www.latimes.c....-home-business

LA Times looks at the situation.
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#17 of 42 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 17 2007 - 04:09 AM

Chris,

Excellent article. Appreciate you posting that link.

I agree that this is a decision that XM will eventually learn
to regret.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#18 of 42 WillG

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Posted May 17 2007 - 06:47 AM

Although, the article does miss the point somewhat by suggesting that it was solely that broadcast that got them suspended and not the violation of the agreement they signed with XM not to talk about it. I'm not defending nor condemning XM for the suspension. But the story has been a bit misleading that the suspension was becaise of objectionable content rather than insubordination.
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#19 of 42 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 17 2007 - 07:43 AM

This article will bring a smile to your face.

The more I think about this, the more I praise Opie and Anthony
for going on the airwaves and slamming XM radio. If it cost them
30 days or perhaps their jobs, it may well have been worth it.

XM made a major blunder here. Like CBS radio, they caved in
to special interest groups -- the same groups that are now causing
firings of DJs on a weekly basis.

....but the folks at XM should have known better. They are unregulated
radio supported by paying subscribers. They caved in to a group
that was purposely listening to the show for the slightest slip-up.
XM should have held their ground and defended their talent and the
fact that they are on subscription radio. Instead, they were more
afraid that this fiasco would possibly hurt merger plans.

The big picture here is that satellite radio actually caved into
the same bullshit happening to regular radio. XM let it happen --
and I almost can't blame O&A for making a point to voice their
opinions of it.

Ronald J Epstein
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#20 of 42 TheLongshot

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Posted May 17 2007 - 09:35 AM

It sounds like XM loses no matter what they do. If they did nothing, it just proves that they have no control over their own employees, and if they do something they are painted as the enemies of free speech, which doesn't seem to be what this is about.

Where XM is probably making a mistake is keeping silent on this. They should be out there doing damage control on this, but I haven't heard any official word on this.

Personally, I don't really care. I was never a fan of O&A, or Stern, or any of there ilk. So, it doesn't change my feelings about XM either way.

Jason


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