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WBT News Director Mark Garrison Defends Conduct During Interview with Karine Jean-Pierre

“To quote Karine, I’m offended that she would suggest that. We don’t add sound effects to news stories.”

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A photo of the WBT logo

WBT News Director Mark Garrison has been in the spotlight for his recent interview with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. He’s now defending his actions after pushback from the White House.

Garrison conducted a phone interview with Jean-Pierre ahead of President Biden’s visit to North Carolina. During the interview, he asked the Press Secretary if the President has dementia, stating the question was prompted by those who heard he would be speaking with Jean-Pierre.

In her response, she stated “I can’t even believe you’re asking me this question. It is incredibly insulting,” before asking Garrison for his next question. Later in the interview, she said “And with that, Mark, thank you so much. Have an amazing, amazing day,” and ended the call.

The White House alleges that WBT was given seven minutes to speak with Jean-Pierre, and the time was up. It also claims that the station edited in a dial tone for dramatic effect, arguing that its phones do not have dial tones when a call is ended.

Mark Garrison appeared on The Ingraham Angle on Fox News Wednesday to discuss the matter, and defended his actions.

“I knew — as you know, doing interviews through the years — you’re going to get a lot of talking points,” Garrison told Ingraham. “So I thought if I can just ask a couple of questions, maybe we’d make a little news, maybe get a sound bite out of her. I just decided to ask her about all the concern here in North Carolina. Even 45% of Democrats are concerned about Biden’s mental state, so I thought ‘Ok, I brought that up to her.’ She somewhat dismissed that. And then I just said, ‘Ok, well, does he have dementia?’ And I was surprised that she was so offended.”

Garrison added that Jean-Pierre sidestepped the question for a specific reason.

“What she did was take us down a bumpy dirt road, because she went on to say, ‘Well, every year, the White House physician examines the president and puts out a detailed report.’ Well, I went back and looked at all of those detail reports. It talks about his heartburn, it talks about his limp, it talks about his heart, it talks about his stomach, but there’s nothing in those reports about his mental capacity.”

When asked if he altered the audio to add a dial tone for dramatic effect, the WBT anchor shared his displeasure with the insinuation.

“To quote Karine, I’m offended that she would suggest that. We don’t add sound effects to news stories. When she hit the button to disconnect, we got a dial tone. We didn’t add any drama to it.”

He concluded by stating the he aired the unedited interview, despite what the White House claimed.

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News Radio

Brian Kilmeade: Show is at Disadvantage Because Fox News Doesn’t Own Any Radio Stations

“A lot of that with these syndicated companies is ‘Oh, yeah. This is our guy. This is our woman, we’ll put them on.’ That’s kind of the way radio works.”

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(Photo: Roy Rochlin | Getty Images)

The Brian Kilmeade Show has seen growth in recent months, with several new stations carrying the program. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a constant uphill climb for the Fox News host.

Many nationally syndicated shows air on stations that are also owned by the syndicators themselves, like Premiere Networks and Westwood One. Kilmeade told 77 WABC’s Sid Rosenberg that his show — which is distributed by Fox News Radio — doesn’t have the same luxury.

“We don’t own any stations. Fox doesn’t have any leverage, just like you guys. If people are going to pick up our show syndicated they’re going to pick it up on the quality of the show,” said Kilmeade, whose show airs on WABC in New York.

“A lot of that with these syndicated companies is ‘Oh, yeah. This is our guy. This is our woman, we’ll put them on.’ That’s kind of the way radio works.”

Brian Kilmeade also told Rosenberg his show is on the verge of being added in a “major city” in Texas, and is also nearing a deal to be heard locally on a station in a “major city” in Connecticut, on top of recently being added by WRVA in Virginia.

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Curtis Sliwa: Syndication Has Destroyed Talk Radio

“Because of syndication, we haven’t been able to develop live and local talent all over this nation.”

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(Photo: CBS News)

77 WABC host Sid Rosenberg is considering taking his popular morning show into national syndication, but he doesn’t have the blessing of colleague Curtis Sliwa.

While discussing the possibility of Rosenberg joining the likes of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Clay Travis, and Buck Sexton in the talk radio ranks of nationally syndicated hosts, Sliwa shared that he believes the industry has been ruined by the development of syndication.

“All syndication sucks. It has destroyed talk radio,” Sliwa sternly said. “Because of syndication, we haven’t been able to develop live and local talent all over this nation, because it’s just so easy for a station to plug in syndication.

“I was at the original WABC when Rush (Limbaugh) was doing local, and eventually national. He was better (locally). (Sean) Hannity? Better! Mark Levin? Better! Much better! Because all of a sudden, you get syndicated, and it’s milquetoast. You gotta hit your marks. You can’t offend people.”

Sliwa then told Rosenberg he would hate being a syndicated host.

“Program Directors from two-watt stations that you can’t even find on a map — ‘I’m gonna get rid of the Sid Rosenberg show, and that’s gonna create a domino effect!’ — do you need that irritation?!”

Rosenberg then admitted that being a local host allows him flexibility in the program’s clock, which has led to issues inside the hallways at 77 WABC.

“I don’t necessarily do a good job with that because I always consider content to be more important. I think the ads can wait,” said Rosenberg. “And that has caused, I mean screaming matches — screaming matches — in the hallway between me and Chad (Lopez). I love and respect Chad. He’s my boss and the best boss I’ve ever had. But I have a way of doing things and I don’t want the clock to get in the way and when it comes to syndication, you’re right, that becomes a huge pain in the ass.”

Curtis Sliwa appears on Sid and Friends in the Morning each weekday but said that would end if Rosenberg took the program to a nationally syndicated audience.

“You will lose me. I will not do syndicated radio. That has destroyed talk radio,” Sliwa said defiantly.

Sliwa continued by noting that he has been tasked with finding new talent by John Catsimatidis and Chad Lopez in an effort to combat George Soros, who recently became the largest shareholder in Audacy.

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WLS-AM 890 Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Several famous radio moments took place on WLS-AM 890 during its early days.

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WLS-AM 890 is celebrating a large milestone Friday, as the Chicago news/talk station marks the 100th anniversary of its sign-on date.

The station debuted on Saturday, April 12th, 1924 with the call letters WLS, which stood for “World’s Largest Store,” as it was owned by Sears, Roebuck and Co. The retailer sold the station to Prairie Farmer magazine in 1928. Through a series of ownership changes, it was eventually purchased by ABC before being sold to Citadel Broadcasting in 2007, before Citadel was acquired by Cumulus Media — the current owner of the station — in 2011.

The station has undergone several different formats throughout its life, spending decades as one of the nation’s premier CHR stations until it made the full-time switch to talk radio in 1989.

Several famous radio moments took place on WLS-AM 890 during its early days. The famous Hindenburg disaster was brought to audiences around the globe by WLS reporter Herbert Morrison who decided “Oh, the humanity!” while seeing the zeppelin burst into flames. The station was also the first to play The Beatles in the United States.

Currently, the Chicago news/talk station airs a combination of local and nationally syndicated programs. Steve Cochran helms mornings from 5:30-9 AM, before syndicated hosts Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, and Ben Shapiro run the station through middays. The Closing Bell, hosted by Bret Gogoel is a one-hour business program airing from 3-4 PM, while Gogoel also hosts PM Chicago, an additional one-hour local news program. Mark Levin and Michael Knowles round out the remaining hours of the programming lineup.

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