Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher has been a thorn in the side of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church for years. The nationally syndicated talker has even afforded the group access to his nationwide radio program three different times to keep WBC members from protesting outside the funerals for the victims of the Amish schoolhouse shootings in 2006, the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, and the recent January 2011 shootings in Tucson. So it comes as no surprise that Gallagher was quick to respond to today’s Supreme Court ruling that the fundamentalist church’s actions are legally protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. “I’m stunned, saddened and disgusted by the decision,” said Gallagher (pictured), who also noted that when his wife Denise died of cancer several years ago, the group threatened to picket her funeral (ultimately they did not show up). “I’m a strong First Amendment advocate, but I’m heartbroken on behalf of the families who will continue to be exposed to these vile people, now undoubtedly emboldened by the high court’s decision.”
Recently elected U.S. Congressman Allen West (R-FL) has written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on behalf of Talk Radio Network syndicated personality Michael Savage, seeking the U.S. State Department’s help in getting the talk host removed from a list of individuals banned from travel to the United Kingdom. For the past year and a half Savage has fought to have his name removed from the ban-list that also includes a known terrorist leader, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, a neo-Nazi, Russian skinheads, and the controversial head of the aforementioned Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps. In his letter to Clinton, West asks the Secretary to “not let the UK’s policy be used as a model for other countries around the world” and adds, “Please let our model of freedom of speech be the impetus of change around the world.” Savage also reports that a listener petition demanding his removal from the British travel ban list now boasts more than 70,000 signatures.
Tex Meyer, most recently GM for Curtis Media/Raleigh, is named VP/GM at Broadcast Company of the Americas’ south-of-the-border San Diego Sports/Talkers “Double X 1090” and “ESPN 1700,” as well as Oldies “105.7 The Walrus” … Congrats to Citadel Media syndicated Red Eye Radio host Doug McIntyre (pictured) as he hits the 50th affiliate milestone for his overnight radio show through the addition of 11 new stations in just the first two months of 2011 … Premiere Radio Networks’ The Jesus Christ Show also marks the 50 affiliates milestone this week. The KFI/Los Angeles-based weekend show, created by producer Neil Saavedra, first debuted nationally in 2008. Look for more “Network/Syndication Notes” this week, and every week, in our regular Friday feature publication, NTS MediaOnline Weekly.
The industry is remembering longtime broadcast exec Carl Hirsch who died March 1st, in Palm Beach, FL, of an apparent heart attack. He was 64. Best known for his years as the driving force behind legendary rocker WMMS/Cleveland, Hirsch also teamed up with Scott Shannon to launch “Z100,” the now infamous New York City CHR that rose “from worst to first” in a single book. Services will be held for Hirsch at Cleveland’s Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz funeral home at 11am on Sunday (3/6). Memorial contributions may be made to the Lerner Research Institute Hirsch Fund or the Palm Beach Wellness Expansion Fund, both at Cleveland Clinic, PO Box 931517, Cleveland, OH 44193 … Condolences: To the family and friends of iconic Kansas City Chiefs broadcaster Bill Grigsby who passed away on February 26th at the age of 89. The Chiefs‘ signature voice reportedly missed just eight broadcasts during his nearly fifty years in the team’s broadcast booth, from 1963 until his retirement in 2009.
In yet another example of a broadcast journalist braving dangerous conditions to get the story, that’s CBS Radio News reporter Toula Vlahou (center) as she visits with volunteers who are risking their own lives to provide aid to refugees along the troubled border of Tunisia and Libya.