Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Did Frank LoBiondo Have a Conservative Radio Host Fired?

This is an interesting dispute. Conservative Seth Grossman claims Frank Lobiondo had him fired:

Last July I got tired of hosting a two-way talk program every weekday afternoon on an Ocean City radio station. So I started a new one-hour program Saturday mornings on 92.1 FM WVLT in Vineland. Then I set up a second one-hour program for Friday afternoons on an Atlantic County station.

I agreed to pay the full market rate, and signed up more than enough sponsors. Both I and the station made public announcements, and I even appeared twice as a guest host in advance... But talk radio is very important to local Republican politicians like Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo and Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson...

My daily radio program messed things up for both of them. I told the details of how LoBiondo voted to blackmail President Bush into using union contractors for Katrina relief home repairs, end secret ballots for union elections, and waste billions around the country to get beach erosion money down here. I told how LoBiondo was one of only eight Republicans who voted for big new taxes on coal, gas, and oil – while banning offshore drilling for cheap oil...

Seth Grossman continued to press his claims in Shore News:

Last month I asked, “Cui bono?” (who benefits) to find out who “persuaded” the owners of an Atlantic County radio station to cancel my one-hour-a-week program before it even began. I then concluded that Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo and Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson benefited the most, had the means, and were most likely the culprits.

After I wrote that, Dennis Levinson wrote a letter that was published in this paper disputing much of what I wrote – but not my main point: that he had used his public office to kick me off the air. By describing me and my column as “purposely misleading … mean spirited … vindictive … dead wrong,” etc., he seemed to confirm it.

Since my program was cancelled, Levinson has been a “guest” on that same radio station more than many regular hosts. His message is this: Wise, honest and caring Republican Dennis Levinson is there to help every senior (even one who needs loan guarantees to buy bankrupt department stores), veteran, union member, friend of the environment, etc. who comes to him; but the high taxes and expensive regulations that go with this kind of politics are caused by others – like those big-spending, corrupt Democrats in Washington, Trenton, and Atlantic City!

Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo plays the same game. And it works. Levinson has been county executive or freeholder for 20 years. LoBiondo has been in Congress for 15 years. When LoBiondo broke his 12-year term limit pledge in 2006, Levinson was the first to publicly praise him for it. Would politicians stay in power this long if more media outlets were like this newspaper and gave all views a chance to be heard?

Reader Mike Conte of Ventor wrote in too:

Mr. Grossman’s recent editorial, "Cui bono," Latin for "Who benefits?" suggests the county executive and Congressmen LoBiondo had a hand in getting his conservative talk-radio program pulled off the air for fear that it would continue to expose their liberal agendas.

Curiously, Levinson does not deny the accusation, but his response appears somewhat disingenuous.

Now, I like the pro-union vote that Conte criticizes and some of the ones Grossman criticizes, and I certainly don't want to listen to Grossman's show, but this is not good if true.