December 20, 2011

Sid Rosenberg Suspended "How Does This Guy Not Lose His Job?"

What the Sports Host Did was Illegal

Miami Sports radio station WQAM-AM 560 features top rated shock jock Sid Rosenberg. He was a former New York sports host who landed in South Florida after getting fired twice from the Don Imus show for making insensitive racial and sexist remarks. He is now serving a six-week suspension without pay.

How does he not get fired? How does the station not lose their licence with the FCC?

He allegedly attempted what radio industry folks call “plugola” according to the Miami Herald. Plugola, which is illegal and a Federal Communications Commission violation that could cost a station its license, happens when a talk-show host is paid without the station’s approval to promote a product on the air.

Rosenberg was apparently in debt somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 to a sports betting website, the Herald reports. Instead of paying off the losses, he struck a deal with the site to mention them on the air during his radio show without the station's knowledge.

Rosenberg was allegedly caught after he made some sloppy mistakes. He received a fax at the station spelling out their private agreement, and Rosenberg forgot and left it in the fax machine. Someone found it and brought it to the attention of station management.

The legality of websites that are set up for football betting are still a little fuzzy in the eye of the law in the United States. However plugola is illegal, but apparently using the public airwaves to receive the benefit of reducing one's own personal gambling debt is OK.

How many folks have been let go from their radio station for doing something a lot less... like playing a song they were not suppose to play or putting someone on the air that results in the station getting sued?

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