Friday, October 30, 2009

Radio Host Sileo Suspended -- For Being Wrong or for Biting Feeding Hand?

A Tampa radio station suspended its morning host for reporting a story about the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. WDAE-AM host Dan Sileo claimed that the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, had lost $475-million in Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme and might be forced to sell the team because of it.

Listen to it here: WDAE-620 AM audio clip, posted by the St. Petersburg Times on its website when it reported Sileo's suspension.

The team issued a statement flatly denying all of Sileo's claims, including that the team was for sale and that the Glazers had invested with Madoff. "The report is baseless, irresponsible and slanderous," the statement said. "This type of behavior by Mr. Sileo and his company Clear Channel will be dealt with in the appropriate manner."

Sure enough, later yesterday, the station issued a retraction of Sileo's story still prominently displayed on the homepage of its website today.

WDAE Homepage RetractionClick Image for Larger Version

And what say would the team have over what a radio station reports? WDAE is the flagship station for the Buccaneer Radio Network, a designation that WDAE's owner, Clearchannel, wrested away from WQYK back when the Bucs used to win games and their radio contract was a coveted property.

Was Sileo suspended because of his story's subject or because he apparently got its facts wrong? Believe it or not, screwing up a story is not illegal, provided that you report it in good faith believing it to be true. Dan Sileo is not a reporter, he's a talk radio host -- and not a very good one of those for my money -- but he enjoys the same protections a reporter does.

But I wonder: Could the Glazers have dictated how "Mr. Sileo will be dealt with" if WDAE were not the team's radio broadcast partner. Would Clearchannel have issued such a public retraction and suspended Sileo so quickly?

1 comment:

Vince Money said...

I agree it was not appropriate for him to be suspended unless he acted recklessly. The Glazers are WAYYYYY under the salary cap made a cheap hire for head coach, have a lot of debt from Man-U..... things don't add up. If one of his sources told him the Glazers lost $ with Madoff is it that crazy to think they did or are thinking of selling? NO. I wonder what would happen if it comes out that the team is Bankrupt? Does he get an extra week on the radio? Glazers pay him.... ohh wait they wouldn't be able to......