Thursday, May 1, 2008

Radio: Boy Kevin, Federal Communications Crook

Boy Kevin Martin, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commissioncome on down!

You’re Boy Kevin Martin and as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission you’ve been running the joint like it’s your own Private Idaho.

You’ve transformed it into your own personal hackapalooza where the best deals get done under the table.

You’re Boy Kevin Martin and you’ve got a price.

Sam Zell knows it.

Rupert Murdoch knows it.

Mark Mays knows it.

And if someone who wants something doesn’t meet it the deal doesn’t get done. Right?

Could that be the raison d'être for the curious delay in your pronouncement on the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger?

Just asking.

You’re Boy Kevin Martin and you should’ve known the end was near when the General Accounting Office uncovered those less than fortuitous leaks to certain media companies and trade groups that originated from your office.

I know. Your only motive for passing along confidential information to those that benefitted from the inside information was strictly a courtesy. All you did was give them a timeline on when to prepare their lobbyists and other assorted influence peddlers to descend on Congress.
When Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, threatened to investigate the improprieties uncovered by the GAO, you had that irritating professional speech-deliverer, yes man, and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, David “Fumbles” Rehr prepare an officially sanctioned “Defend Boy Kevin” campaign.
You really believed in running the FCC on the down low. Above the law, below the radar.

You’re Kevin Martin and I had your number back in October and November, last year, when I pegged you the top bag man for big media.

I also predicted you and wifey will go back to where you came from – in this case, North Carolina to corrupt politics there. Maybe I ought to join the Psychic Radio Network?

You’re Boy Kevin Martin and you’ve made one huge mistake.
You should’ve never forgotten the one rule that applies to how business is done whether you’re a politician, a crook, or both: Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.

You learned that the hard way in March when the committee sent you a letter requesting e-mails, memos, handwritten notes, and meeting schedules for the last three years. It said their investigation was linked "to management practices that may adversely affect the commission's ability both to discharge effectively its statutory duties and to guard against waste, fraud and abuse."

You tried to squash it, claiming that an investigation could violate the commission’s trade secrets until you were reminded that you're not supposed to have any.
You’re Boy Kevin Martin and you don’t know much about public opinion.

When almost three-quarters of the U.S. population disapprove of the way the guy that hired you is running the country that means both your Commander in-chief George W. Bush and his string puller and your wife’s employer, Vice President Dick Cheney are losing juice on the Hill.

They’ve been too busy covering their own asses to be worried about yours. Sorry.

You’re Boy Kevin and you have the same motto as Jerry McGuire – Show me the money.

When the House Commerce Committee began asking around about the way you do business over thirty of your own staff members, past and present, told how you’d been pushing your own agenda to deregulate and eliminate more media ownership rules. They also brought up your way of dragging out meetings that don’t go your way and how you suppress agency studies when they don’t support your viewpoint.

It continues. The committee also grilled a number of telecommunication representatives and companies that had dealings with your office.

The results are in and you are a winner.

You have the best office money can buy.

In your world, wrong is the new right.
You’re Boy Kevin and you look like someone dropped a punch line on you and you were the joke.
How about that House Commerce Committee memo written on April 28 and sent to Rep. Dingell and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), the chairman on the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, and leaked to the Washington Post?

It reads in part, "The bottom line is that the FCC process appears broken and most of the blame appears to rest with Chairman Martin."
You’re Kevin Martin and if your office seems a little smaller; the walls a little closer, the ceiling a bit lower, the floor a bit higher, you shouldn't be alarmed. That’s just your world closing in on you.


Anonymous said...

Gorman, you called this one. I am glad to see the Bush/Cheney fiefdoms exposed and broken. Michael Powell was damaging to the FCC and fortunately his ineptness and inablilty to cover his tracks did him in. His replacement was a lot shrewder, having learned how to tip toe through the minefields from the master Dick Cheney. Even the best and brightest eventually fall and Cheney's cocksureness did him in and fortunately he had Libby take his fall and Kevin's wife being the mouthpiece of the VP office. I hope this is not a slap on the wrist and he is sent back to North Carolina. The man is a felon who created an insider pipeline to key media moguls and that should be enough to file charges against him.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you are willing to write off the dirty deeds done by Kevin Martin so easily. You are satisfied having him resign from the FCC with pension intact and take on N.C. politics when he allowed a small group of media companies variances and confidential information? It is not a secret that Sam Zell and others profited from the information Martin funnelled to him and others from his office. The GAO proved it. The Tribune deal proved it. This man should be put on trial and once and for all put an end to the buying and selling of our media. We used to laugh about Russia and Pravda? Show me the difference. Don't let Martin off that easily.

Anonymous said...

This is what the pro-radio Radio World wrote about Martin:

Martin Probe Ongoing; Chairman May Be Asked to Testify

FCC Chairman Martin may be called to testify before Congress in a review of how he runs the agency, the Washington Post reported this week.

Hearings on what the investigation by a subcommittee on oversight and investigations has learned have been proposed for June, according to a congressional memo obtained by the newspaper.

Commerce and Energy Committee staff members stated, “The bottom line is that the FCC process appears broken and most of the blame appears to rest with Chairman Martin,” in a memo to Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich. and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., the chair of the subcommittee.

Neither the FCC nor the committee would comment other than to confirm no hearings have been slated, according to the account.

The probe began in December after Martin’s fellow commissioners complained that relevant information was kept from them until just before votes at monthly meetings. The Post reported that according to the memo, more than 30 current and former FCC employees have been interviewed, along with telecom lobbyists and private citizens — the first indication that the investigation has turned up material to support complaints against the chairman.

Martin has defended how he runs the agency and made moves to make the process more transparent; last week he announced items will be publicized three weeks before a vote at the agency’s public monthly meeting.

Sick of it said...

What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Kevin Martin has done nothing wrong. You have a handful of gadfly liberals who want media in this country controlled by left-wing interests. Martin has tried to create a level playing field. These stupid witch hunts do nothing but devalue radio and television properties. You anti-commerce, anti-business idiots ought to go to work for Putin's version of the FCC. Then you will experience what graft and corruption really is. Lay off Martin.

Anonymous said...

Martin could be in for some rough waters. His treatment of those he felt were not part of his team bordered on deplorable. He may look like a nice young gentlemen. In reality he is mean spirited and unforgiving. He is a carbon copy of his wife. They are definitely cut from the same stalk. Both have tutulage under Dick Cheney. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

So let me see if I got this right: Someone does somethings that you don't like, and ipso facto, he's committed crimes. He's accepted bribes. I hope you never get called to jury duty. What you ignore is that in the process, if you've said something you can't prove, you've committed a crime yourself: Libel.

Just because you THINK something's a crime doesn't make it one.

Anonymous said...

two questions

what does pocketradio think

when will you bash the cc gang for using a private plane and their annual compensation is that coming next article

Anonymous said...

Do you have or do you know where the full memo can be read? I seem to recall reading elsewhere that Kevin Martin brushed off the GAO when they reported on his violations at the FCC and continued business as usual. He deserves to get what is coming to him.

Anonymous said...

If you think Kevin Martin feels he is above the law you should have seen how his wife Cathie (with an "ie")was defending Scooter Libby for her boss Dick Cheney. If there was ever one who views anyone not in her rareified air sphere of importance in Washington as the little people it's her. No question who wears the pants in that family.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...

"two questions - what does pocketradio think"

You sure are spending a lot of time on him - his posts really must bother you.

Jack Hannold said...

John, you're too kind when you call him "Boy Kevin Martin." He's nothing but a puppet of the big money boys.

But he aspires to be one of the big boys, or at least a real boy.

So maybe you should call him "Kevin 'Pinocchio' Martin"!

Anonymous said...

Good for Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) for not giving up on his pursuit of wrongdoings by Kevin Martin at the FCC.

I would not bet against our administration doingeverything it can to interfere with calling Kevin Martin before the committee to grill him on his fiefdom.

I would not be surprised if that is the reason for the hearing not being scheduled yet.

Martin felt he was invincible and that his office clearly had a friend or foe attitude and he know who his friends are. They benefitted well.

This has to be upsetting to Bush. It was bad enough that Michael Powell turned out to be a bumbling idiot. Having his good Boy on the hot seat has to heat up his own.

bobyoung said...

Jeez, I wonder if the boy would grow up if he spent a few well deserved years in the slammer? (country club slammer of course)

Robert D Young Jr
33 S Main St 32B
Millbury, MA

Anonymous said...

This is GREAT-it is classic John Gorman!! We used to call the FCC the FCK because of the hoops we broadcasters had to jump through-they have done a complete 180 degree turn-now to the public they are the FCK--

They are just like the Bush administration feathering all their little friends' nests and screwing the rest of us.

Boy Kevin needs to go to jail so he can become girl Kevin and get what he's been

Anonymous said...

John, I know who you are and your history and discovered your blog via your book one. I loved your Kevin Martin story and your links to prior stories. As that other poster said, you called that one. However, as someone who grew up listening your stations, you have always been good at forecasting the future which made your stations leaders. What I want to know is when are you going to get back into active duty with radio? We need you and others like you. I listen to far less radio than I used to but it has nothing to do with having an iPod. If radio had programming of interest to me and if I felt that if I was not listening I could be missing something entertaining I would be locked on stations that supplied that kind of programming. When radio people use the excuse that they have so much competition I have to laugh. If they believed it they would be trying harder to fulfill listener needs. Thank you for your blog and I hope that Kevin Martin gets raked over hot coals.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was James Michael Curley that came up with that line. Martin Lomasney? Never heard of him.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that when they go through the Boy's e-mails and memos there will be a lot of them filed under Z. Did that guy have the Boy's price or what?

Anonymous said...

Kevin Martin was far worse as FCC chairman than Michale Powell. Both had the same adjenda. Martin was smooth while Powell was way over his head. It didn't help that his old man fell out of favor with the Bushites either. Martin is a smooth operator. His problem was that he that didn't know when to quit or slow down. He exposed himself with Zell and Murdoch and has only himself to blame for his downfall. It happens to a lot of them. They live outside the law, get away with it and keep pushing until they push too far. That is Martin's legacy.

pocket pool said...

I know how to build interest in HD Radio. Clear Channel should set up an ad hoc network of HD - 2 stations to simulcast Kevin Martin's hearing. Now that's entertainment. I would buy an HD radio to hear that. On second thought, never mind. I'll catch the internet stream.

Anonymous said...

I can't add to anything that has not been said already except that I first read about Kevin Martin's misdeeds on this blog first. I read nothing in any of the radio/media trades or other on line blogs. I hope you continue to cover the events that unfold. Radio is public media. It is leased not owned. Martin tried to rewrite the rule book.

Anonymous said...

"Radio is public media. It is leased not owned."

Absolutely wrong.

It is a public/private partnership.

Like electricity, water, and other ublic utiltities owned, delivered, and sold by private companies.

The US set the system up this way in the 1920s. It is unique among broadcating systems in the world.

But the media is not owned by the public. Stations are licensed, and those licenses carry with them certain rights.

Anonymous said...

Politics as usual in Washington.

When the Democrats were in the White House, there was a Republican witch hunt to root out all the skeletons in Bill Clinton's closet. They kept digging and digging until they got him caught in a lie. Not that he did something illegal, but that he lied about it. Then they tarred and feathered him.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. The Democrats are on a hunt for weakness in Bush's closet. Bush himself is too stupid to do anything wrong, so they look around at his appointees.

Radio is an easy industry to pick on. After they've jumped on the oil companies, the next group to attack are the media companies. They never follow the party playbook, so lets roast them over the coals a while.

If you're actually in the business, none of this is any good for you, no matter who you work for. The only people who have a lower approval rate from the public than the media are the goons in Congress. Those selfish slobs aren't about to do anything for the public. If favors are being handed out, THEY want to be the ones doing it, not a Bush appointee. That's the real issue here.

Anonymous said...

Clinton and Gore were the driving forces for the Telecommunications Bill & it covered all telecom issues not just radio. Senator Bob Dole added the radio revisions while it was already in Congress. That way radio got around the hearings and meetings that would normally accompany such revisions. But then Clinton signed it anyway because his advisor Vernon Jordan stood to make a huge profit on the sale of AMFM/Chancellor which Clear Channel later bought. In retrospect the whole thing was planned. Both Democrats and Republicans share the blame for this mess. I know where McCain stands. Where is Hillary (I think I already know) and Obama on this matter?

Anonymous said...

"Both Democrats and Republicans share the blame for this mess."

If it ever is up to either of them again, they'll make it a BIGGER mess. Don't rely on politicians to fix radio. They don't understand the issues.

Anonymous said...

You know better than this. Nothing is going to happen to Kevin Martin. He will slip into private practice, perhaps run for office in NC (and lose) and continue flitting around the DC cocktail party circuit until the next Republican administration. This is all pure theater.

Dingell is an old hand at talking up an issue to flush out the campaign money. And Rehr is an old hand at paying it out. It's just the usual Washington bullshit. Scary Dingell gives Rehr the chance to puff out his chest and then run to his members and point out how essential he is and how important it is that they stay members. And Dingell gets to tell Rehr where to send the checks so he can point out to the party bosses how essential he is.

Anyone who believes there is any real animosity here needs their head examined. Please don't continue to spread the bullshit. It stinks enough already.