Since I started writing this column several months ago, I have written about radio’s precarious position and criticized the industry’s leadership for harming the business. However, I have avoided directing harsh comments toward any company – until now.
This week, Audacy announced another round of workforce reductions (WFR)
(Full disclosure) My position at CBS Radio -Philadelphia was eliminated (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) for budget reasons. After CBS sold to Entercom, some people who remained after the transition helped me find a home in the new company as operations manager for the Minneapolis cluster. Modernizing WCCO-AM was the key role. After extensive talks, we agreed on a plan. I’ll just say everything changed from the day I started. It was a very difficult and short tenure with Entercom (now Audacy).
There was a hint that another round of workforce reductions was coming during Audacy’s second-quarter earnings call on August 5th. During the call, Audacy President and CEO David Field reported that after a promising first quarter, “deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and increasing uncertainty has caused ad spending headwinds, which had impacted our business. In second quarter our revenues grew 5%.”
Audacy’s results were especially disappointing, coming on the heels of iHeart and Salem reporting double-digit growth for the quarter and Townsquare announcing its all-time best second-quarter revenue and profits.
Field explained what steps the company would take to improve results for the third and fourth quarters. “We are working to enact substantial, sustainable savings through a number of measures to improve margins and profitability across the business. We believe we will be able to deliver meaningful cost reductions without hindering our strategic priorities and growth plans,” he said.
If that didn’t raise eyebrows for any Audacy employees listening, when CFO Rich Schmaeling elaborated, there could have been no doubt.
“If you look at our expense performance so far this year, you go back and see in the first quarter our expenses grew 8% year-over-year. They’re growing — they grew 6% year-over-year in 2Q, we’ve given guidance that for 3Q, expenses will be up 1% to 2%. So we are making substantial progress. We are working on a program to meaningfully reduce our expenses, and we will provide further details about the scope and extent of those actions on our third quarter call.”
Schmaeling repeated expense reductions were coming several times throughout the call.
Listening to a radio CEO and CFO talk about reducing expenses almost always means people are about to lose their jobs.
This week, reports are that up to 5% of the company’s total workforce, spread across all divisions and markets, could be laid-off. That means roughly 250 people will lose their livelihoods. Some already have.
The entire staff was let go, and all local programming was eliminated at 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee.
At WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, Mike Max is out, but at least he still has his full-time TV gig with WCCO-TV (the two are no longer affiliated). Unfortunately, producer Craig “The Hammer” Schroepfer, one of the best people I met at the station, isn’t so lucky. He’s a solid producer, and I hope somebody will pick him up. BTW Max was the only person at the station with conservative views.
Morning hosts were let go in Denver, Dallas, Seattle, and Pittsburgh, as well as several afternoon personalities across the country. Many others have already been let go, with more to come.
Field and Schmaeling are doing what they believe necessary to survive. The disappointing second-quarter results are in addition to the difficulty Audacy’s stock is facing. The NYSE warned that Audacy’s stock could face delisting because it has traded below $1 for 30 consecutive days. That’s a tremendous amount of pressure for anybody running a large company. Cutting expenses must seem like the easiest and quickest solution. Of course, cutting people just digs a deeper hole toward restoring long-term viability.
Cutting people to save a fiscal quarter reminds me of one of my favorite holiday movies, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Specifically, I’m referring to the scene where cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) kidnaps Clark Griswold’s boss, Mr. Frank Shirley (Brian Doyle Murray), and brings him to the Griswold home where he sees the impact of cutting Christmas bonuses.
Realizing what he has done, Shirley says: “Sometimes things look good on paper but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks. I guess a healthy bottom line doesn’t mean much if, to get it, you have to hurt the ones that you depend on. It’s people that make the difference.”
Hopefully, you’ve been lucky enough to work for at least one person or company who believed “people are our most important asset.” No matter the business, the product suffers when people are just lines on an expense sheet easily cut to maintain profits margins for the quarter.
Emmis is a company that treats people like its most valuable asset. A few weeks ago, I wrote about its departure from radio. I’ll share more from the extensive interview I had with CEO Jeff Smulyan and President of Programming Rick Cummings on their thoughts about what the industry needs to do going forward:
Rick Cummings: “Radio is going to have to evolve much more to spoken word and personalities, which is a tremendous hurdle when you consider what most of the big groups have done over the last 15 years, which is to voice track things and pipe things in from out of market. The only thing radio can offer these days that is unique is personality. Because music delivery as a linear system is really, really fading fast. I think that’s going to be a very challenging hurdle.”
More cuts mean less local programming, fewer unique personalities, and a reduction in personal connections in the community. It’s the exact opposite of what once made radio important to many people.
Jeff Smulyan succinctly sums up the net impact of the radio industry continuing to make cuts (I should emphasize that he was not referring to these workforce reductions or any specific company).
“The problem is the more they cut, the less compelling they make the product to the consumer.”
For now, Audacy will continue its workforce reductions and dig a deeper hole.
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.
HLN Sees Uptick In Viewers Before End of ‘Morning Express’
HLN sees an uptick over the holiday weekend with a marathon of the Emmy award-winning political drama “The West Wing” that originally aired on NBC.
Almost all the news outlets suffered brief declines during the Thanksgiving week (for the week ending Nov. 27). The lone cable news channel to see an uptick was HLN, which aired a holiday weekend marathon of the Emmy award-winning political drama “The West Wing” that originally aired on NBC from 1999 thru 2006.
But the positive news at HLN was short-lived as its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery began a new round of layoffs for the news division on Dec. 1. Among those let go, HLN’s long-running program “Morning Express with Robin Meade” ended after a 17-year run. For Nov. 21-25, it averaged 147,000 viewers, including 30,000 in the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research — a relatively normal amount for the now-defunct morning news show.
WBD’s downsizing also comes at a time CNN had posted its lowest-rated primetime adults 25-54 demo in over 30 years as well as its lowest-rated total day 25-54 demo since May 2014.
In the daytime, ABC’s “The View” continued to reign as its No. 1 talk show averaging 2.373 million viewers from Nov. 21-23. Its Thanksgiving Eve telecast (Wednesday Nov. 23) drew 2.591 million viewers — the most-watched edition of “The View” since Mar. 31, 2022. Their guests on Nov. 23 featured actor Kumail Nanjiani (“Welcome to Chippendales”) and legendary R&B singer Patti LaBelle (“A New Orleans Noel”).
ABC’s “GMA3: What You Need to Know”
topped CBS’ “The Talk.” and the recently-installed “NBC News Daily” (which replaced “Days of Our Lives”) for the 11th consecutive week.
“GMA3” improved on the previous week in total viewers (+2 percent – 1.615 million for Nov. 21-23 vs. 1.580 million for Nov. 14-18), drawing its largest overall audience in 4 weeks (since the week of Oct. 24, 2022) and its second largest of the season. Of course, the program’s recent bump in ratings may be attributed to associated tabloid fodder (link: https://pagesix.com/2022/12/01/amy-robach-and-t-j-holmes-not-ashamed-of-their-romance/ )
“The Talk” averaged 1.512 million viewers (from Nov. 21-23); “NBC News Daily” 1.2 million (Nov. 21-22).
Five Fox News Channel daytime programs also accomplished besting “The Talk” and “NBC News Daily” during this week, based on total viewers (with three of them also topping “GMA3”):
“America’s Newsroom” (9-11 AM/ET; 1.804 million)
“Outnumbered” (11 AM/ET; 1.764 million)
“The Faulkner Focus” (12 PM/ET; 1.667 million)
“America Reports” (1-3 PM/ET; 1.519 million)
“The Story” (3 PM/ET; 1.514 million)
Cable news averages for November 21-27, 2022:
Total Day (Nov. 21-27 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.225 million viewers; 160,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.556 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.428 million viewers; 83,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.174 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.118 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.098 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.094 million viewers; 9,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.085 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (Nov. 21-26 @ 8-11 p.m.; Nov. 27 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.664 million viewers; 189,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.791 million viewers; 74,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.433 million viewers; 88,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.238 million viewers; 51,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.208 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.118 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.091 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.068 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.064 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.484 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.451 million viewers
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.131 million viewers
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.091 million viewers
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.063 million viewers
6. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.040 million viewers
7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.900 million viewers
8. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.834 million viewers
9. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.788 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.745 million viewers
22. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.951 million viewers
148. Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.769 million viewers
339. The West Wing “Hartsfield’s Landing” (HLN, Sat. 11/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.372 million viewers
348. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 11/21/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.360 million viewers
420. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 813” (CNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.275 million viewers
643. Highway Thru Hell “(716) The General” (TWC, Sun. 11/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.151 million viewers
671. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Fri. 11/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.141 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.444 million adults 25-54
2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.417 million adults 25-54
4. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.391 million adults 25-54
5. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.385 million adults 25-54
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.358 million adults 25-54
7. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.352 million adults 25-54
8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.347 million adults 25-54
9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.340 million adults 25-54
10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.335 million adults 25-54
67. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.180 million adults 25-54
68. Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.178 million adults 25-54
201. How It Really Happened “Yosemite Mur:Evil Side Pt2” (HLN, Mon. 11/21/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.099 million adults 25-54
230. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1213” (CNBC, Tue. 11/22/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.088 million adults 25-54
477. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Wed. 11/23/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.046 million adults 25-54
555. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 11/21/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54
603. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.033 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
Douglas Pucci is a Bronx native and NYU graduate analyzing news television ratings for Barrett News Media. He did an internship at VH1’s “Pop Up Video” in 1997. After college, Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He has worked alongside media industry observer Marc Berman for over a decade reporting on all things television, first at Cross MediaWorks from 2011-15 then at Programming Insider since 2016. Pucci also contributed to the sports website Awful Announcing. Read more: https://programminginsider.com/author/douglas/
Andrea Kaye Got Tough As Nails Attitude From Her Marine Corp Parents
“My fantasies didn’t involve radio as a kid, but they did involve my voice. And they did involve using that voice in some way to influence.”
Her mother called her ‘dynamite in a dress.’ Andrea Kaye had an explosive energy and temperament. Her mother may have been right about her daughter’s intensity, but she was wrong about the dress.
“She thought I was going to be like my older sister, in a dress, playing with dolls. I was a tom-boy as a kid,” Kaye continued. “I was riding a bike with no shoes, riding like a crazy kid, and scraped off all my toenails. Our neighbors, ‘the Reen sisters’, comforted me while Mama wrapped my feet in bandages.
“We called them the Reen sisters because all four of them had ‘Reen’ at the end of their names; Doreen, Maureen, etc. Another time I jumped off an air conditioning unit and almost bit my tongue in half. To this day, my family still laughs about that stuff.”
Her tomboy ways kept her a regular fixture at the Camp LeJeune emergency room. But even when she wasn’t getting into scrapes while playing, she got into scrapes and arguments over politics.
Also as a kid, Kaye would have intense conversations with her Uncle Jake, a Colonel at Fort Benning. “All the adults in the room would ask why he was arguing with a child,” Kaye explained. “My Uncle said, ‘Because she’s making a darn good point.’ He made me feel respected. He never treated me like a child.”
Both parents were in the Marine Corps. Kaye never seemed to shy away from being called a ‘military-brat.’ The kid was tough as nails. She brings some of that toughness to The Andrea Kaye Show, which broadcasts on Monday-Friday from 6:00-8:00 PM on The Answer San Diego, a Salem Media Group station.
Her mother grew up on a dairy farm in a little town near the Mississippi and Louisiana border. Not far from where Kaye went to high school, Slidell High. “Mama knew what hard work was,” Kaye explained.
Her mother worked extremely hard each day, especially after her mother Mary Lee got burned in a house fire. She had to help raise her younger sister while running the farm. “Compared to what she had to do on the farm, the Marine Corps was a vacation,” Kaye explained. “Mama has a tee-shirt that reads, ‘Not as Mean, not as Lean, but still a Marine’. Could be why she beat four cancers in three years. Not what you would call a ‘fluffy’ life.”
Kaye’s grandmother on her father’s side, worked in a textile mill in Opelika, Alabama. This was the same mill in which they filmed Norma Rae, starring Sally Field.
“With nothing but sixth grade education there weren’t many options,” Kaye said.
The work took a toll. Her grandmother lost most of her hearing and got black lung. Her dad grew up on a dirt floor and dreamed of a better life with travels to foreign lands and was thrilled to join the military as a way out. He believed in the American Dream and instilled that inspiration in Kaye.
“We’d drive around and he would show us the neighborhoods we could live in if we got an education and worked hard.”
They had a lot of love while growing up in the family, but Kaye wouldn’t call it an emotionally nurturing childhood. Marines who were battle weary and from tough and impoverished childhoods aren’t necessarily the types to coddle.
But they were the types to play lots of board games and cards, like gin rummy. Rides at amusement parks across the country were a family staple.
“We’d watch lots of movies and TV, especially musicals,” Kaye said. “Who knew two Marines could love The Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof so much?”
One time her mother bribed Kaye’s brother and his friends with cookies and cake if they would watch her perform songs from The Sound of Music.
“Mary Lee was my mother’s mom. She had to be tough because her husband died while my mom was in the womb,” Kaye said. “She didn’t have time to be nurturing with four kids and a dairy farm to run.”
She said Mary Lee would babysit often.
“She didn’t believe in sugar-coating for kids,” Kaye said. “One of my sisters asked her what a dead person looked like?”
Mary Lee packed the kids into the car and took them to a viewing with a dead man in a coffin and said, ‘This is what a dead person looks like.’
“You asked her a question and you got an answer,” Kaye said. “Mama was the same.”
That didn’t mean her parents didn’t love them, Kaye explained.
“They didn’t believe like today’s parents that everyone should get a trophy and everyone had to be happy every day. We were raised with the pragmatic truths of life. They were all about supporting what we wanted to do. There were no barriers to those dreams. That was instilled in my sister, brother and me.”
Kaye was born at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps base, living in the base housing Tarawa Terrace, also known as “Terrible Terrace”. They moved around a bit but settled in the New Orleans area.
“I loved everything about the military,” Kaye said. “I loved the bases, uniforms, marching, the regiment, the chain of command. I loved the military bearing and authoritative presence they had at all ranks. I was mesmerized by it all. Daddy was a Vietnam vet and when he was deployed, multiple times.
“Me and my siblings and Mama went back to the dairy farm with grandma,” Kayes said. “My father never talked about his time in the service. We had no idea what he did. My sister, Donna, who we just called Sister, asked Daddy once what he did for a living. He said, I shoot the bull all day. So when she was asked once what her dad did, she told them, “He shoots bulls.”
The mystery of the military was part of the allure. Kaye was so enamored with the military, she gave some thought to how great it would be if she could attend West Point after the family had visited. Her mother and father brought the military with them when they took a break from the base.
“Even though I love the military, I had a love and hate relationship with regiment when Dad and Mom took us on a vacation,” Kaye said. “We had to get up at 4:00am. It wasn’t like my father was harsh like the pilot Bull Meecham in The Great Santini. Still, we had a very specific way of doing things. I learned to fold clothes according to regulation”
Kaye was always interested in going to college, imagining where she might enroll. She ended up choosing Louisiana State University to study political science.
“LSU was an amazing experience,” she said. “Louisiana is like being in another country. The language, food, culture. LSU is the perfect educational community of the unique culture. I embraced every aspect possible. I joined a sorority and lived in the house. Spent Saturday nights in the famous Tiger Stadium called Death Valley, and ate my weight in crawfish. I wanted the big university experience, and I got it.”
She’d thought about becoming a lawyer, perhaps a Supreme Court justice.
“I became obsessed with politics during my teen years,” Kaye explained. “I studied political science at LSU, admitted as a 17 year-old. I also gave some thought to becoming an attorney. In my family there was a constant theme of justice, of right and wrong. I have always been fascinated by true-crime.”
Kaye said her parents were always concerned about justice, committed to their beliefs of right and wrong. Always looking to improve her circumstances, instead of working her normal summer job at Fasulo Drugs in Slidell, she got a job in the French Quarter selling timeshares.
“I was able to make more money in six or eight weeks over the summer than I’d make all year working at the drugstore,” Kaye explained.
It was then Kay recognized she had an aptitude for sales. During her third year at LSU, she decided to switch her major to business. “I’m glad I did. There’s such an intersection between politics and business. I already loved politics and needed to learn more about business.”
She visited La Jolla, California after she graduated from LSU. It was a quick vacation but she fell in love with the area, and state. After graduation she started her first corporate job with No Nonsense panty hose.
“I was going around to K-Marts and other retail stores around Louisiana,” Kaye said. “I traveled around the state. It was a great first out of college job, but not a life choice. I earned my bones at No Nonsense. It was a grind.”
She couldn’t shake her love for La Jolla and San Diego, so she quit her job at No Nonsense and moved to San Diego, where she was hired by Xerox.
“Xerox sent me to Las Vegas, a branch of the San Diego office,” she said. “You have no idea how hot it is to be in a suit in Las Vegas when the temperature is 115-degrees. Still, I’d take it over the Florida heat and the mosquitos in New Orleans.”
After a year in Vegas, Xerox relocated her to San Diego. Xerox is where she made her bones, working in one of the toughest industries, and for a legendarily tough company.
Kaye said she may live in California, but her soul is on the New Orleans Bayou.
“I love, love, love Louisiana,” she said. “Down to the core of my being. One of the reasons I left was because after the oil industry crashed, so did the economy. There was a not so funny billboard outside Lafayette that said, ‘Last one to leave, turn out the lights’. The economy had completely tanked.”
At the time she left for California, Kaye said she didn’t understand her soul connection with New Orleans. “I didn’t know how much I’d miss it. I try to get back at least once or twice a year and still have family and friends there.”
The transition from sales to media wasn’t all that difficult for Kaye. She said every company she worked for required her to do some kind of media work.
“When I was with No Nonsense, I would join radio stations on the air when they were doing promotions from a parking lot. They’d talk to anyone. I would say, ‘I’m Andrea from No Nonsense. Come and check us out.’ It wasn’t difficult for me. I just wormed my way in and identified myself and the product on the air.”
She has ‘acted’ in corporate industrial videos and some infomercials. Again, this came naturally. She ended up getting an agent.
“It’s different in New York and L.A.,” Kaye said. “In those cities you can get an agent for particular things. An agent for acting, and agent for modeling. In San Diego, they only had agents that were a one-stop-shop. You were required to do any medium the agent put you up for. You’d be called upon to audition for commercials on TV, or a model in print ads, even some acting gigs.”
Kaye appeared in one movie, Lore Deadly Obsession. The film was about real-life serial killer and cannibal Richard Chase, who killed six women and drank their blood in the late 70s. He was dubbed ‘The Vampire Killer.’
“That was the first time they used the term ‘serial killer,” she explained.
Kaye is married but never had children. “It just wasn’t my dream,” she said. “I never had the fantasy of staying home and starting a family. That was Sister’s dream, and she fulfilled it. So did my brother. My fantasies were about living a life that was different. Bigger and brighter than my folks and their folks before them. Just as each generation behind me lived a bigger and brighter life than those before.
“My fantasies didn’t involve radio as a kid, but they did involve my voice. And they did involve using that voice in some way to influence.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his new book: Talk To Me – Profiles on News Talkers and Media Leaders From Top 50 Markets, log on to Amazon or shoot Jim an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should The Media Be More Supportive of Law Enforcement?
BNM’s Rick Schultz writes Never has the danger to police officers been greater, and never has the thin blue line been under such attack, so where is the media?
Never has the danger to police officers been greater, and never has the thin blue line been under such attack.
So where is the media?
This past weekend, Fox News at Night hosted a discussion about public support for the police. In doing so, they highlighted a group dedicated to wounded officers and their families.
Retired Las Vegas Police Detective Lt. Randy Sutton of TheWoundedBlue.com joined host Trace Gallagher to discuss the current state of affairs from law enforcement’s perspective.
“Well, when it comes to America’s crime crisis, something appears to be missing in society and in mainstream media, covering and honoring law enforcement officers who are wounded or killed in the line of duty,” Gallagher began. “I want to know why it is that mainstream media, and that society, feels like, you know what, the war on police is not worth covering?”
“This news network is pretty much the only one that’s giving the truth out about the war on cops. Last year, 207 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Almost sixty thousand were physically assaulted in the line of duty, Trace,” Sutton responded. “They’ve been shot, they’ve been stabbed, they’ve been beaten. And yet, you don’t even see it in the newspapers. It’s barely covered because it’s not politically expedient for the political Left and for the mainstream media to even cover.”
Gallagher then drew attention to a graphic showing a mid-October statement from the National Fraternal Order of Police, @GLFOP, which read…
The spewing of anti-police rhetoric by some political and media figures as well as the failed policies of rogue prosecutors and judges, are placing our officers in greater danger. This culture of lawlessness must stop!
“A lot of people don’t know when officers get injured, not only is the officer affected. But the family and a lot of things change,” said Marcus Mason, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy, who was injured in the line of duty. “I spent about a month in the hospital, so my family had to drive to and from home, daycare, dropping off children, and doing different things to get people to work to get people to come see me and things like that. A lot of financial things are a burden put on your family. And so, The Wounded Blue was there to help my family in making those things easier. Whether it’s paying for gas or the increase in groceries and things like that, and making things easier for my family to be able to come and spend time with me.”
TheWoundedBlue.com’s mission, as stated on the website, is to improve the lives of injured and disabled law enforcement officers. They place a strong focus on de-stigmatizing mental health within the law enforcement community, in addition to providing peer support and community outreach. Their emergency phone number – (702) 290-5611 – provides “immediate trust, validation, and confidentiality, which breaks down barriers when a person is in a vulnerable state.”
Vickie Speed, whose brother-in-law was “executed in the line of duty,” joined the panel to share part of her sister’s recovery story after the violent episode.
“We got involved with Randy because he actually stepped in to help her with PTSD and trauma and I saw what he did,” she said, noting that she also lost her husband to cancer. “Just losing my husband alone, I just had a real passion to give back and not just help widows, but I’ve actually run into law enforcement that’s now retired, that’s reaching out.”
Gallagher pointed out that while the group’s mission is crucial to families recovering from such tragedies, the real shame is that Wounded Blue is needed in the first place.
“My peer team, amazing people,” Sutton said. “All of my peer team are officers who have been shot, stabbed, beaten, run over. And you know what, but I fully believe this, that the American people believe in their police and want to help. They want to have an avenue to help. And now we’re giving them that avenue by supporting these wounded officers, by going to TheWoundedBlue.org and giving what they can, can make a difference. In fact, they might even save a life.”
The question posed by Gallagher, although never definitively answered, is whether the mainstream corporate media will ever reflect the widely-held sentiment of most Americans. The feeling is that law enforcement should be applauded and supported, especially on the heels of a violent attack.
Rick Schultz is a former Sports Director for WFUV Radio at Fordham University. He has coached and mentored hundreds of Sports Broadcasting students at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Marist College and privately. His media career experiences include working for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Army Sports at West Point, The Norwich Navigators, 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie, NY, Time Warner Cable TV, Scorephone NY, Metro Networks, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Cumulus Media, Pamal Broadcasting and WATR. He has also authored a number of books including “A Renegade Championship Summer” and “Untold Tales From The Bush Leagues”. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @RickSchultzNY.