Friday, July 31, 2009

Scott Wilder Update and Open Letter To Salem Communications

I wanted to give an update since I have received several emails from other listeners who also have left KWRD and are asking about the responses I have received from advertisers and/or the station. I also want to post the email that I just sent to Salem Communications CEO Edward Atsinger, III and cc'd to John Peroyea, and David Darling.

The response from listeners has been overwhelmingly in support of Scott and Lauren. I am amazed and gratified that there are new posts daily on many facebooks, twitter and blogs. This issue is not simmering down and going away. It is especially heartening to see the continual encouragement given to Scott and Lauren on his facebook and website. The responses I have received from advertisers have been as concerned as the listeners to the show and several that emailed me are no longer advertising or considering it. Another asked Salem: "Why would the station, in a down economy, eliminate the most popular and highest revenue producing personality for a station?" All of our calls and emails are most certainly being noticed and felt! You can read my last post as to the response I have received from station management.

Below is the email that I mentioned above:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Phillips, Sr.
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 12:19 PM
To: edwarda@salem.cc
CC: John.Peroyea@KLTY.com; ddarling@ksky.com
Subject: Scott Wilder Show

Dear Mr. Atsinger,

I have already emailed you, Mr. Peroyea, Mr. Darling, and several KWRD advertisers. I have received several responses from advertisers who have already canceled their relationship with KWRD, and/or are concerned about the effectiveness of advertising on KWRD. Some have told me that may cease to advertise on the station.

I do not understand why Salem Communications would cancel the most popular local Christian talk show in Dallas-Fort Worth (which is the 5th largest market according to your own Resource Guide) . His show even won the National Religious Broadcaster's award for Talk Show of the Year in 2004 according to your own Investor Relations site. As one advertiser put it: "Why would the station, in a down economy, eliminate the most popular and highest revenue producing personality for a station?" There clearly has been a mass exodus of listeners from KWRD since the Scott Wilder Show was canceled. Some listeners, including myself, have publicly posted that they will boycott all three Salem stations in the DFW area (KWRD, KLTY and KSKY). The postings on various facebooks, twitter feeds, and blogs continue to be strong and numerous. My own blog exploded in the number of hits and has been steady every day since with only the one post about the show. The analytics show that numbers of people are reaching my blog via Google search looking for Scott Wilder. Scott's own website and facebook continue to have new listeners post every day who are just becoming aware of the cancellation and they too are stating that they will no longer listen to KWRD. I expect when I post this open letter on my blog, that it again will explode with page views.

If I were a stockholder, I would be asking these questions at the next shareholder meeting:
  • Is Salem management being fiduciarily responsible to it's shareholders?How is eliminating a consistently reliable revenue generating program a sound financial decision?
  • The show may even be one of the most popular on all three stations owned by Salem in this market, and we are expected to believe it is for "budgetary" reasons?
  • What happens when the show is picked up by one of your competitors?
  • Has Salem management not just given away for free their most valuable local asset in the 5th largest market to their competition as well as the multiple thousands of listeners (and advertisers) to whomever picks the show up?
  • With the listening audience dramatically reduced, how will that have anything but a negative impact on advertising rates and revenue? Will they not demand lower rates and/or go to your competition to reach a wider audience?
  • With the listening audience dramatically reduced, how will that have anything but a negative impact on rates ministries pay to be on the air? Will they too not follow the listeners to your competition to reach a wider audience?
Please understand, that the listeners of the Scott Wilder Show are very loyal and we are going to be vigilant in this. We will not waiver. This is not going to blow over in a few weeks or even a few months. Our voices will be heard, and our absence from your listening audience will be a great financial drain upon your company. It will take several years for you to rebuild the trust of listeners in this market which I do not believe this station can survive.

The unnecessary mass exodus of listeners from KWRD, which will be followed by advertisers and then the ministries paying for airtime is entirely the responsibility of the person(s) who made the decision to fire Scott and Lauren and cancel the show. Sadly and most regrettably, the resulting financial losses to Salem need not have happened as this is a self inflicted wound.

Sincerely,

Ron Phillips, Sr.
Fort Worth, TX

UPDATE: 11:15 PM, July 31, 2009

Here is the response I received from Mr. Peroyea to the email above:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Your e-mail
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 14:36:34 -0500
From: John Peroyea

Dear Ron,

Thank you for your comments. We appreciate hearing from you
about a change that obviously saddens you as it saddens us as well.

An estimated 35000 people have been laid off in our industry in
the last several years. No company is immune from the dismal economy
America is experiencing, and I know of no company that relishes having
to make these tough decisions and changes.

Our company is doing what we need to do in order to continue
furthering the Kingdom and providing our listeners with the absolute
best conservative talk platforms in radio today. We offer many people
ministry programming all day as well as conservative talk that they rely
on, and God willing, we will continue doing this forever.

I ask you to consider continuing to listen and support our
station during these rough economic times that America is totally faced
with. With one of three Christian Talk and Teach stations in Dallas-Ft.
Worth going out of business and selling to become a rock station, all
Christian radio stations need the support of our community. Other than
the few of hours of talk in afternoons on 100.7 KWRD, we have a great
number of hours each day delivering Christian teaching and ministry
programs that tens of thousands of our listeners rely on us for.

Janet Mefferd, our new host in afternoons is not Scott nor will
she attempt to be. Whenever a new air talent is introduced, the new
talent will always have their own styles and talents. To date, the
feedback we have been receiving on her show from the masses has been
extremely plentiful and very positive. I hope that you would consider
giving her some of your listening time to get acquainted. This company
decision along with many others were made totally out of necessity. This
situation with the Wilder show was not a firing, it was a necessary
financial layoff. I can assure you, our decisions have all been made
through an abundance of thought, discussion and prayer. Let me also
assure you that we will not be changing from our political positions or
core values as a station or a company.

We all wish Scott and Lauren well, as they are friends. They and
our company parted on good terms. We view any layoff of employees as an
extremely difficult task. This decision was made out of necessity and
was decided at the highest levels of our company. We do not take these
moves lightly, and I can assure you that our parting with Scott and
Lauren was done with dignity, compassion and professionalism.

God bless you Ron,

John


John L. Peroyea
Vice President of Operations
Salem Communications Corporation

94.9 KLTY, 100.7 KWRD, 660AM - 92.9 FM - 95.5 FM KSKY
Dallas/Ft.Worth
Vice President - General Manager


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Irving, Texas 75063
Direct Phone line: 214.561.2142
Direct fax line: 214.561.2143

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5 comments:

PRH said...

Hee is My email to John.Peroyea@KLTY.com on 7/30. I titled it "I gave the show 2 weeks"

Dear John:

I tried to listen for two weeks. I can't do it.

I'm sorry but the new show is all fluff. I'm sure Ms. Mefford is a very nice lady, and there have been a couple of interesting interviews but it's not challenging. Reminds me of Christians just gathering around in their little "holy huddle" complaining about how bad the world is, and that's about it.

Non-Christians and others listened to Scott. We were all better for the time spent listening and thinking about issues, not just taking the obivious "Christian" answer.

Here's a great example of why I always enjoyed The Scott Wilder Show

http://www.crosswalk.com/news/commentary/11564732/

Thoughtful, logical, deep consideration.

And by the way how ridiculous of the caller today to chalk up Biden's use of Jesus Christ as an epithet to be typical of the part of the country he's from and his catholic heritage. Actually, the entire topic was rather unworthy of discussion. Let's all get our good Christian morality on display and play the pharisee card.

Like I said I gave it 2 weeks. I hope you've enjoyed the revelation of how popular The Scott Wilder Show was through all the emails and the Facebook & blog postings.

Why didn't you just do the right think and give us listeners a week to absorb this? Nope, you had to pull the plug right then, just like all the other stations do when they kill a show.

You & Salem would have saved yourselves a ton of grief.

Sadly,

PaulXXXXXXXX
A 12 year + listener to The Scott Wilder Show

Anonymous said...

Dude
Spare yourself the sanctimony. Scott Wilder is an egomaniac, a real tool wrapped around the resurrection. The station cut him loose for its own reasons, not least of which was the bottom line. His kind of nasty fetus loving gay hating dead guy on stick KKKristianity is out of vogue.

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Paul,

Thank you for stopping by. I would not want to be in Janet Mefferd's shoes. Her show might have been a good fit in another time slot (say after Scott's show) but not to replace Scott and Lauren. I only listened to her before I knew what happened and that was very briefly. The show did not appeal to me at all.

I remember and loved the article you linked to. Scott is a very valuable asset to our community.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Anonymous,

I thought about deleting your comment, but decided to leave it up. You are exactly why we need more Scott Wilders!

What I like about Scott, and you apparently didn't, was his uncompromising stand for the truth. For example, one of his Wilderisms: "Right is right even if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it." That is not ego, that is being a principled person. Many believe it is why he was fired. He would not compromise his principles.

I agree with you that the station cut him loose for its own reasons, but it was not the bottom line. This decision will have a huge negative impact on the station's revenue. It was their right to make this change. I support their right to do it! But it is my right to not support that decision and my right to try and convince as many others as I can.

You are correct that Biblical Christianity is out of vogue. Our nation seems to want to embrace sin and to forsake righteousness and the Lord God. As Christians, we are compelled to try and protect the unborn, proclaim the love of Christ to all - that no one can approach a loving and Holy God without the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ who shed His blood on the cross.

In other words, Jesus took our place. God's Word tells us that all have sinned. It also tells us that the wages of sin is death - eternal separation from Him. But there is great news: Scripture also tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He paid the penalty for our sin.

To the world, the cross is foolishness. But it the only way of salvation and eternal life and we glory in the cross. Contrary to what you write, Christ is not dead! He is alive! He rose from the dead three days after He was crucified and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. And praise God, He is coming again.

It is because of the grace and mercy that God has shown us in forgiving us of our sins, that we proclaim to those still caught in unrighteousness and sin, that Christ loves them and died for them - no matter what sin that entangles them. That is love! Because if we did not love people, we would not tell them about Christ and the need to trust in Him alone.

Whoever you are, I am praying for you and hope that you too will know the forgiveness of Christ and the peace that surpasses all understanding.

In Christ,

Ron P.

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

I really enjoyed listening to Scott and even visited him at the Dinner and a Movie, when Sarah Palin debated Joe Biden. I do miss that show and tried to listen to Janet, but it was not the same. I have noticed that she has been moved to another time slot. I guess she is not working out like they have hope. Thank you for writing Salem and giving them a chance to explain, even though, we knew they were not going to give us the right answer. Only an answer that would appease us. God bless you and let's continue to pray for Salem, Scott and Lauren.

D