On Friday, Sept. 17, Seattle talk-radio host Brian Maloney learned from CBS affiliate KIRO that his weekend show, which had been on the air for three years, would be off the air.

That evening, he decided to send an e-mail about this to 15 people, including me.

His e-mail noted that he was fired after saying on the air that Dan Rather should either retire or be forced out of CBS News over the memo controversy.

On Saturday, I contacted the Seattle office of the Associated Press, which was not aware of this action by KIRO, which is a CBS affiliate housing a CBS network newsroom.

When I reached KIRO, I asked about Maloney’s being fired. Station Manager Ken Berry told a secretary to tell me: “We have no comment. This is a personnel matter.”

AP, also telephoned KIRO and got the same statement from Ken Berry.

But when AP put the story of this firing on its national wire, this news was also picked up and featured on the Drudge Report, FOX News and WorldNetDaily among others.

But AP did not report what else Maloney sent to me in his memo – and what I reported to AP in Seattle.

In his e-mail to me, Maloney wrote:

What’s most astounding is that earlier this year, one of my coworkers openly called for the execution of the president, vice-president and defense secretary and was not even suspended from the air. It was captured on tape and reported in the news media. So apparently you can call for the president’s death, but not the retirement of Dan Rather.

Talon News reported that KIRO talk-show host Mike Webb’s call for the death of President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld had been confirmed by an audio tape of Webb’s broadcast.

Maloney, during an interview with me, recalled that Webb also contended on air that “National Public Radio is run by right-wing conservatives.”

He also noted that KIRO talk-show host Dave Ross is the Democratic candidate for Congress in Washington’s Eighth Congressional District. “Ross continued on the air as KIRO’s talk host for two months after announcing his candidacy.”

A Seattle Times editorial noted the following on Saturday, along with a photograph of Ross:

The former radio talk show host is being promoted all over town by his former employers, KIRO-AM (710). Even though Ross has left the airwaves, the station continues to promote his weekday morning show throughout the community.

Wasn’t it odd Wednesday to hear Dave Ross the candidate being interviewed about his primary victory on Dave Ross, the show, albeit by a substitute host?

Ross explains he has a contract with KIRO that permits the station to continue to use his name. But, when given a chance to criticize the station’s actions, he declines, noting he’ll need a job if he loses the election.

On Sunday, the Washington Post published an op-ed article by Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen, headlined, “STOP THE MEDIA MERGERS.”

Mr. Blethen noted among other things that:

About one-third of the population now listens to radio stations owned by a single company.

Bad things happen when media conglomerates swallow up independent voices: Quality is diminished, local news and investigative journalism disappear, differing points of view vanish, community service becomes an afterthought, and jobs are eliminated. All are sacrificed in an incessant drive for ever-higher profits …

The relentless march of media consolidation has largely gone unreported in the mainstream press.

In Seattle, Entercom, which is the nation’s fourth-largest owner of radio stations with more than 100, owns KIRO, KBSG, KNDD, KMTT, KISW, KQBZ, KNWX and KTTH – three of these talk radio.

After all of this national coverage – which featured his “no comment, it’s a personnel matter” – KIRO station manager Ken Berry telephoned the AP to explain:

The primary reason Brian Maloney’s show was canceled is because KIRO’s broadcasts of the Seattle Seahawks football games significantly reduces our Sunday talk lineup and we felt the remaining time slots would be better filled by other hosts …

With no explanation of any reasons other than “the primary reason;” and with no identification of the “other hosts,” or why they would “better fill the slots,” Berry also told AP: “Several hosts on the station have criticized and continue to criticize Rather and CBS with no interference from management.”

Berry did not identify any of these “several hosts.”

But Maloney told AP – and they quoted him as saying: “What they have expressed is essentially that my show went in a direction they’re not comfortable with.”

Maloney also told me that he told AP the following – which AP did not report: “Berry is changing his tune now that he has seen this become a major national news story. He’s in full panic mode trying to figure a way out of a mess he and the station created.”

Maloney also told me during an interview that he learned he had been replaced by liberal talk-show host Carl Jeffers.

At the national headquarters of Entercom in Bala Cynwd, Pa., on Monday morning, no one was available for comment.

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