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'Censored' talk-radio scolding a stunt?

Kevin Miller (photo: KDKA 1020)

Several days after a news-talk radio host was reprimanded on air for his coverage of Obama, station executives are now calling the incident a publicity stunt.

KDKA-AM 1020 host Kevin Miller was
silenced when executive producer P.J. Kumanchik read a statement that was allegedly from CBS accusing Miller of being unfairly biased against Obama.

“We want to apologize to listeners who have found your show offensive,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Kumanchik said to Miller on the air.

Kumanchik referenced alleged phone calls and e-mails from listeners who criticized Miller for his statements about Obama. He also offered Obama a three-hour spot on the Pittsburgh station in place of Miller’s regularly scheduled noon to 3 p.m. program.

The executive producer of the CBS affiliate said Miller, a Marconi Award nominee and former Army Reserve journalist, had featured guests who were not objective when reporting information about Obama, according to reports. Miller had recently conducted an Oct. 9 interview with “The Obama Nation” author and WND senior staff reporter Jerome Corsi about his investigation of Obama’s connections to opposition leader Raila Odinga in Kenya. He called Corsi “a true patriot” upon his return from detention by Kenyan immigration authorities.

In the interview with Corsi, Miller revealed his personal concerns about efforts to silence Obama critics.

“Well Dr. Corsi, what scares me is, we’ve seen this from the Obama campaign, that they clearly target people such as yourself, talk radio stations – whether it’s WGN or others or people like myself – that speak out,” he said. “And if [Obama is] elected, we’re going to have a different chorus when it comes to discourse in this country.”

Another one of Miller’s recent shows featured John Murtagh, a man who survived Weather Underground firebomb attacks on his home, to discuss Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers.

This week, after Kumanchik finished his statements condemning Miller’s coverage, people began calling to criticize the station, suggesting it was censoring the talk-radio host. Others were confused and wondered whether the broadcast was simply a publicity stunt.

KDKA program director Marshall Adams initially would not respond to repeated requests for comment from WND. But several days after the report, and possibly under pressure from the public, he offered a brief explanation.

“I can answer that at the station management level and also from the corporate CBS, no one censored Kevin Miller,” he said. “It was a stunt that Kevin and his executive producer went a little too far on, and they went on the air and apologized.”

However, when WND inquired about the purpose of the alleged stunt, Adams refused to explain.

“I’m sharing with you as much comment as I’m going to share with you,” he said.

Asked where listeners may find a transcript of the show, Adams replied, “As a matter of policy, we don’t release transcripts.”

The program director said Miller will continue to host his program, and he extended an open invitation to both presidential candidates to speak on the show.

“If Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain wants to come on the radio station, we certainly would be willing to have them on.”

However, some people who heard the broadcast aren’t convinced it was a stunt. KDKA listener Janine Wenzig told WND Adams’ explanation doesn’t make sense.

“There were some extremely upset people” after the segment, she said. “One woman was literally crying and saying something to the effect of ‘I never thought this would happen in this country.’ Miller was did not give an inkling that this was not serious. Another woman with a Russian accent called and said she had lived under communism, and this is communism. Miller is normally a jovial guy and he came across as very serious. Never gave an inkling on that. … I think if it were a hoax, they would’ve said something right after they were getting distraught callers.”

She continued,” My aunt also heard the broadcast. I specifically asked her that night if it could have been a hoax, and she said no way, she hadn’t heard anyone sounding that serious on the radio since Kennedy was assassinated.”