Editorial: An Interview, Accusations, Embarrassment, Apologies, Falsehoods, and “Tapes” — Politics in Atlantic City
The following is an editorial from WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Program Director Chris Coleman...
It's been an interesting past couple of days here at WPG Talk Radio 104.1.
We have all watched how the Atlantic City Mayoral race has been playing out over the past several weeks and as Election Day draws closer, the level of insanity pushes higher and higher into the red. On Wednesday, November 1st, during Harry Hurley's morning show, mayoral candidate Frank Gilliam, Jr., was on the air discussing some issues. During the conversation, Stacey Kammerman, who is running for city council in Atlantic City, called in and the conversation turned a bit heated as Gilliam accused Kammerman of living in Ventnor, thus making her not qualified to run for office in Atlantic City. The discussion then turned towards current Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and his relationship with Craig Callaway. Callaway alleges that Mayor Guardian had his organization's support when he won the election in 2013 and that he wanted it again for this election cycle... Callaway confirmed on WPG that he is not supporting Guardian.
Little did I know that this 75-minute-long interview would become such a top topic and I personally would become a minor footnote in this election cycle. The scene really started to unfold Friday morning here at the radio station.
Friday morning, a person who is heavily involved in Atlantic City politics -- who shall remain nameless -- completely unannounced, came into my office and confronted me about releasing the audio of this interview. During this person's attempt at verbal intimidation, on more than one occasion, this person said it looked like I was hiding something or trying to protect the Guardian campaign. Again, this person never introduced himself to me and I really don't know how he found me since we had never met before.
Before I go further, let me address two points:
(1) In no way was I, Harry Hurley, nor the station itself making any effort what so ever to protect any person in this campaign. I'm not quite sure how I or we can be accused of "hiding something" when the entire interview on Harry's show (which lasted over 75 minutes) was broadcast on an AM radio station that covers the Jersey Shore, reaches the southern tip of Cape Cod, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina; an FM station that covers the greater Atlantic City area, and was streamed live over the internet for the entire planet to hear. Again, how we can be accused of "hiding something" that was on the radio that anyone could have heard boggles my mind.
(2) As you can see on our YouTube channel, we typically don't post interviews of guests that appear on the station. We do once and a while, but not consistently. During the verbal confrontation that I discussed above, it was mentioned to me that we posted the Guardian-Padula exchange and I was questioned why we didn't post Gilliam's appearance on WPG. As you can see, we do make an effort to post our Ask The Mayor and Ask The Congressman shows because they are regular features on WPG and the Guardian-Padula exchange was part of October's Ask The Mayor program.
Anyway, getting back to Friday morning, I followed the guy who came into my office down the hall and asked him who he was -- he was still ranting about me not releasing the interview. Station management became involved when this person was again walking around our building and he was instructed to not leave where he was supposed to be. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and in the end, we both shook hands (several times), the person in question apologized (several times), and I fully accepted his apology, thus the reason why I am not mentioning him by name.
This past Friday night, I saw a couple things on-line that were again accusing me of hiding something and accusing me personally of being an instrument of how the media is trying to manipulate the election because I was not "releasing the tapes." Again, I'm not sure how we can be hiding something that was on the radio for over an hour.
Saturday afternoon -- I find this truly amazing -- I get word that "people on the streets" are saying that I (as Harry Hurley's producer) am going to release the tapes after the election and that this action is clearly bias.
About that -- up until this writing, I had not made any determination either way about "releasing the tapes" either before or after the election or ever at all. Secondly, only one website referred to me as being a producer on WPG. I am not a producer on WPG, so at least I know who the "people on the streets" are. Or should I say "person."
So, since this is clearly what the entire mayoral race in Atlantic City is focused on (let's forget about taxes, unemployment, a couple of giant empty casinos sprinkled around town, crime, drugs, and everything else) at the moment, I will gladly release the Frank Gilliam, Jr., interview that happened on WPG on the morning of November 1st.
Please note, as the person who runs WPG Talk Radio 104.1...
- The number of people who have e-mailed me directly about posting this interview on-line: zero.
- The number of people who have called me directly about posting this interview on-line: zero.
- The number of people who have contacted me on social media about posting this interview on-line: zero.
- The number of Atlantic City residents who have asked me to post this interview on-line: zero.
- The number of politically-involved people in Atlantic City who have politely asked me to post this interview online: zero.
- The number of members of the media (either employed or unemployed) who have asked me to post this interview online: zero.
And if I may opine for just a moment... this is the first time that I have been able to see on the inside, albeit very briefly, how politics work in Atlantic City. Not the politics that play out on radio commercials or in The Press of Atlantic City -- but I really got to experience how the political machine chugs along in the World's Playground. I'm really at a loss for words.
P.S. -- if anyone ever wants us to post audio of an interview, you can just ask me. My office phone number is 609/910-5224.