Kvi Radio Fires Talk Host Mike Siegel
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Talk-show host Mike Siegel, whose broadcasts prompted Seattle Mayor Norm Rice to publicly deny rumors about his private life, has been fired by KVI Radio.
Siegel's dismissal was announced yesterday on the air, at the beginning of John Carlson's program at 3 p.m.
Siegel had no comment.
Rob Dunlop, vice president and operations manager of Fisher Broadcasting, which owns KVI, said Siegel had damaged the "reputation of credibility" of both KVI and Fisher Broadcasting. But he also said the firing was not based "on the allegations surrounding Mayor Rice."
In recent months, Siegel encouraged on-air discussion of unfounded rumors about an alleged incident related to the mayor's private life. Rice, a Democratic candidate for governor, held a news conference May 13 to denounce the rumors as "hate talk." Siegel apologized on the air that same day but was suspended by the station a week later.
Dunlop said the decision to fire Siegel was made after reviewing tapes and transcripts of Siegel's shows, talking with Fisher employees and considering listener comments and media coverage of the Rice-Siegel story. After the review, he said, he and other company officials determined Fisher Broadcasting's integrity and reputation had been damaged. Fisher also owns KOMO-TV, KOMO-AM and Star 101.5 FM in the Seattle market.
"This decision was based on an investigation of the impact of Mike's actions on the reputation and credibility of Fisher
Broadcasting, not on the allegations surrounding Mayor Rice, broadcast on the Mike Siegel Show," Dunlop said.
Asked if the company owes Rice an apology, Dunlop paused for a moment and said he hadn't considered that question. "I think the actions this company's taken will demonstrate where this company stands and what it stands for."
Rice, campaigning in Southwest Washington, issued the following statement: "I think Fisher Broadcasting has taken a responsible position. . . ."
Callers to Carlson's show yesterday were mostly supportive of Siegel and critical of station management.
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