Here are the full results from this year’s Readers Poll. Some choice selections:
Rick Pitino is mad at me again. The former University of Louisville basketball coach and I are longtime friends but he has thrown hissy fits when I’ve publicly questioned him about sensitive issues. He even dropped me as co-host of his TV show for two years over tensions surrounding coverage of his affair with sketchy doughnut seller Karen Sypher.
Then there was the time I asked him if mounting evidence of strippers offering sex to his players and recruits would make him consider resigning. Pitino didn’t speak to me for a year and even avoided looking at me when we crossed paths in our St. Matthews neighborhood.
Of course, I’ve gone on national TV and newspapers of record to defend Pitino over the years. I told what I know to be the truth and was never prompted to do it.
I know what I know and am not afraid to share it. Pitino stupidly got himself into the Sypher mess, was clueless about Andre McGee bringing strippers to the dorm, and made an adidas deal that benefitted him (and Tom Jurich) but it shackled the school from getting top level recruits.
Thems the facts through my lens.
The latest upheaval stems from Rachel Platt and me inviting WHAS Radio host Tony Vanetti onto WHAS-TV’s Great Day Live to talk about Rick Pitino’s forthcoming book and the drama surrounding the ongoing lawsuit.
A WHAS-TV viewer poll indicates that an overwhelming number of fans will avoid reading Pitino’s book.
Pitino watched the segment and texted me to suggest that there is “no need to have me on your show” if I am discussing fan fatigue related to him.
In June 2017, Pitino contacted me to get on the air and tell the story of how snaring Brian Bowen “is the luckiest” Pitino has been in his 40 years of coaching.
Some would say today that maybe it wasn’t all about luck.
I believe Pitino when he talks about not knowing about the dorm strippers and that Governor Matt Bevin’s buddies David Grissom and “Papa John” Schnatter used their influence to push Pitino over the cliff at UofL.
? me: What do you want to happen to settle your UofL lawsuit?
Rick Pitino: As long as David Grissom is running that situation it's not going to happen. ?️ https://t.co/dco71EYehz … Pitino on Bowen ?, FBI probe, @CoachChrisMack, Montrezl & Behanan, @adidas, Dawkins, more ? pic.twitter.com/9qlwszZs2Q
— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) August 3, 2018
Pitino will always have a green light to come on the air with me. He’s done it to promote his teams, camps, books, sell tickets to special events, and to brag about recruits.
He has sometimes appeared on competing shows and ignored me to get his message out. That’s OK. Competition keeps us on our toes.
On a personal level, I helped Pitino fund Minardi Hall construction and advised him on charitable donations even with occasional professional disruption between us.
I’ve also spent untold thousands supporting his foundation through golf tournaments and auction packages that were sometimes unfulfilled. So those thousands became donations, too. Again…that’s all good. Charity matters.
He once texted to ask why I had resigned from his Daniel Pitino Foundation board. Unbeknownst to me, I had apparently been removed from the board over some perceived transgression. Pitino had forgotten about it and needed my help with some new obstacle.
Asking piercing questions, even of friends, is the very basis of journalism. We search for answers from people who make news.
After the contentious 2015 radio interview, Pitino spoke to the UofL fan base at the tipoff luncheon and declared that I “blindsided” him asking about his potential resignation.
He went on to say he understood it was my job to ask him questions. He compared it to 60 Minutes host Steve Kroft asking tough questions of his friend President Barack Obama.
Even with that explanation, Pitino would not speak to me or even look at me for over a year. That’s how overly emotional people like Rick behave.
People complain to me nearly every day that they are tired of hearing about Rick Pitino or seeing references to him on newscasts because “we need to get on with Chris Mack’s team” and the future of University of Louisville basketball.
I agree that we need to fully support Coach Mack and his team but I disagree on the sentiment to ignore the newsworthiness of Pitino’s story. Millions of public dollars are at stake in the Pitino lawsuit against UofL. It’s a story we will all continue to update until the money issues are resolved.
Now steering his information elsewhere, Pitino is telling a local newspaper columnist that he plans to launch a podcast and will open a Twitter account.
Sensitivity to criticism is a problem for Rick Pitino. Hosting his own podcast will keep anyone from asking tough questions. If he actually opens a legitimate Twitter account, he will soon find that “fatigue” is the gentlest term lobbed at him.
Just read the comment thread beneath this Jay Bilas tweet.
Just finished reading an advance copy of Rick Pitino’s new book “Pitino: My Story.” What a compelling book. From the NCAA to the FBI to a detailed history of how the money influence has changed the game, like him or not, Pitino’s book is gripping stuff. pic.twitter.com/FsIk1goQM3
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) August 26, 2018
People have moved on. The lawsuit with UofL will end. Rick Pitino and Louisville will go their separate ways forever. It’s a sad end for a mostly brilliant career.
Actor Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) made headlines a few months ago after threatening to kill Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein for allegedly derailing his daughter’s acting career. Weinstein faces a litany of allegations that he sexually abused, debased, and squelched the careers of women who rebuffed his sexual advances.
Paul Sorvino and his wife Dee Dee appeared on Great Day Live this morning for Friday’s Unbridled Eve gala.
Off the air, Sorvino told me that men praise him every day for validating that dads will go to any length to defend their daughters. We talked about Weinstein’s reign of terror and Sorvino reiterated that he would “kill that mother fucker” (Weinstein) if he had 5 minutes with him.
That’s what dads do.
In the above photo, I asked Sorvino to give me the death stare he used to intimidate Tom Cruise in the film The Firm. He said Cruise was so flustered by the menacing faces of Sorvino and actor Joe Viterelli (the Morolto brothers) that Cruise kept botching his lines. ?
Paul Sorvino and his wife Dee Dee are in Louisville for the Unbridled Eve gala on Kentucky Derby Eve.
The Sorvinos have a cookbook with “Pauly’s” favorite dishes. One of the auction items is a dinner prepared by Paul and chef friends for a group at the home of the founder of Angel’s Envy bourbon. Proceeds benefit Blessings in a Backpack.
Great Day Live appearance, May 2, 2018
?️ Friday launches my 33rd year on WHAS Radio and television. We ran a contest on my 1st radio show where hundreds of people guessed when I would be fired or leave. The winner gets $500.
Only two entries are still valid. Jim McClellan needs me gone within three years or else Robert Rudolph is the winner. #loumedia #radiopersonality #Louisville
My radio career began in September 1976 at WKQQ in Lexington, although I did not go on the air until late 1977. Therefore my total broadcast career has surpassed the 40 year mark.
Tom Jurich called me last night to respond to the University of Louisville termination letter. More to come today at a 3:30 press conference at the offices of his attorneys.
Rick Pitino and I will talk about his firing and the Jurich termination letter at 5:35 PM today on 840WHAS Radio.
I spoke about the Jurich call with Renee Murphy at WHAS11 and then with Rachel Platt on Great Day Live…
…then to Bob Ley on ESPN’s Outside the Lines
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) October 25, 2017
Plus there were 840WHAS radio chats with Tony Cruise
and Leland Conway…then to WKRD to speak with Nick Coffey on “The Red Zone”
And I closed out the day on my own show interviewing Rick Pitino for 30 minutes. It was one of the most newsworthy days in my 40 year career.
Henry Sadlo and I have been best friends since childhood when we were next door neighbors. Today, thousands know Dr. Sadlo as a respected cardiologist and all-around good soul.
Thanks also to Regan Judd and Dr. Garth Beache for talking about challenges and remedies for heart issues. Later that day, Henry and I had a throughly personal radio conversation about our lives and heart health guidelines about exercise, eating, alcohol consumption, and signs of troubles. Happy Heart Month! Keep your ticker clicking!
I was never smart enough to get a real job. Nonetheless, this broadcasting thing seemed to work out.
Both of my sons have the media bug. Family tradition. It’s all good.
WHAS Radio “Ter’s Top 73 clips of 1987”
Getting paid to play in the snow? Sign me up.
In 2016, my media buddies roasted me as a fundraiser for Seven Counties Services.
My earliest TV series was the nightly news magazine PM Louisville with the delightful Ange Humphrey.
The 1993 Thunder Over Louisville broadcast from WHAS-TV was a technical marvel with an unprecedented number of cameras, aerial angles, and personalities.
The show came off without a hitch except for one thing. The ceremonial starter’s clock was off by 20 seconds. Check the above video at the 1:33 mark. A 7th grader pushed the button and …….. an eternity later…BOOM!
Below is the introductory piece for the nights coverage with Rachel Platt, Barry Bernson, Wayne Perkey, Terry Meiners, and hosts John O’Conner and Kirby Adams.
Is radio dead? Is TV dead? Nope. But there is a reframing of information flow.
A recent poll lists broadcasting as one of today’s worst career choices. You may be surprised to learn how little most TV and radio people earn. Others predict the end of talk radio following the 2016 elections. No way. Local talk shows allow each city’s residents to weigh in on local issues. The local radio station is the kitchen table where everyone can throw in their two cents or at least eavesdrop on those who do.
I completely love my 40 year broadcast career and have rarely regretted choosing it. I have learned 10 million things by talking with a zillion people on radio and TV. WHAS-TV’s Great Day Live and my WHAS radio show are valuable assets to local groups promoting important newsworthy fundraising efforts and social connectivity.
With today’s ongoing battles to jump the minimum wage to $15 per hour, I thought you might enjoy this 1976 memo that kept me from being laid off only months after I’d started part-time production work at WKQQ/Lexington. (NOTE: the boss had poor math skills. I earned $40 per MONTH, not per week, and that totals $480 annually). Our “full-time” deejays were knocking down $3 per hour or $84 per week if they never took off a day. (federal minimum wage in 1976 was $2.30)
That’s twenty-year-old me at work in the WKQQ studio (1977). Because I wasn’t laid off in 1976 and discouraged about working in media, my broadcast life has been massively successful. Someone gave me a shot and I have worked like a mule to advance over 4 decades. A recent charity roast spotlighted my highs and lows. For many others in broadcasting, it is a tough, low-paying pursuit. Here’s a blog from a meteorologist who started in 1999 for $10/hr after completing college. The love of the game keeps all of us in it regardless of monetary gain. (MORE: Why a $15 minimum wage is not the answer)
Now many of my contemporaries are leaving the business. Just this week, a group of WHAS-TV colleagues are rolling on to new dimensions. Each one of them has been a pillar of WHAS’ success and a vital part of my growth as a broadcaster. My radio company iHeartMedia also just restructured staff placement which left six cherished colleagues in search of new challenges. Each of them added positive value to my life and career. Broadcasting is certainly under siege, but by no means dead.
They were both hilarious in the March 2016 charity roast featuring the best of the best in Louisville broadcasters. Each member of that roast cast is a high earner in broadcasting (and the lawyer and UofL department head are also well-paid).
Lots of people enter the broadcasting game but only a few are lucky enough to make a decent living. It’s a tough business that demands a love of the game with a secondary eye on monetary reward.
Local broadcasting will continue to deliver local information, and more importantly, local compassion.
A 2009 blog post I wrote for a site compiling info on Lexington radio stations:
Terry Meiners, Lexington radio personality from 1977 thru 1980.
I was originally hired in 1976 to monitor the automation on the weekend overnight shifts. Eventually, WKQQ-FM “Double Q” went live and I was given a chance to go on the air when one of the original hires did not work out.
I am enclosing a photo of me (posted above) in the tiny WKQQ control room not long after it went live in early 1977. I am also enclosing a memo (also posted above) written by then program director Dick Hungate that laid out his proposed budget for taking the station from automation to live.
Notice that he saves my job because I am a part-time college student who makes minimum wage. Hungate’s actual calculation of my annual earnings is incorrect, but it still shows how cheaply a station could be run in that era.
WKQQ, which used the positioning phrase “Stereo Album Rock” at the time I was there, was a great launch pad for me. I started out doing late night, then evenings, then the morning show, then afternoon drive before tiring of it.
I learned to use sound effects to make it seem as though I was cutting the station’s grass while the music played. I would tell the audience that the boss was making all of us do multiple jobs so that we just didn’t sit around and actually “listen to that garbage we play on our station.” So I’d use a sound effect of a starting lawnmower, then seque into “Stairway to Heaven” and as the song ended, I would fade up the sound of the lawnmower winding down. Then I would breathlessly backsell the record, make a snide comment about the cheap boss, and go to break.
My career was just taking off.
Alas, I hit a pay ceiling in 1980 and was told “that’s all there is.” I opted to go to Indianapolis and help my brother run a grocery store for about 3 months. I was miserable and missed being in broadcasting. Oddly enough, I didn’t miss being on the air, just being around the industry.
I called Louisa Henson at WLRS-FM in Louisville and begged for a job. As luck would have it, the promotions director job was available and I took it. My only request was that I not have to do airshifts any longer because I felt they led to a professional dead end.
Naturally, when one of the WLRS deejays would call in drunk, I was summoned to fill in for them. Then I was persuaded to take the afternoon drive slot in 1981. Not long thereafter, Dan Burgess left to go to WHAS Radio and left a vacancy for a co-host of the morning show with a kind but soured-on-life jaded hippie named Ron Clay.
We formed the “Morning Sickness” show and it became a montrous hit for WLRS. It wasn’t long before arch rival WQMF came calling in December 1982. After a brief negotiation which jumped our salaries from $25,000 to $32,000, we jumped ship.
WLRS filed a lawsuit claiming “verbal agreements” were in place to extend work contracts for both announcers. The lawsuit was mostly dismissed by the judge, thus, Ron Clay and Terry Meiners were allowed to switch to WQMF with the stipulation that there’d be no transfer of the exact sketches or any other intellectual property from the WLRS show to WQMF.
It was the only time the word “intellectual” was ever used in conjunction with the careers of Ron Clay and/or Terry Meiners.
The judge also demanded that the duo not transfer the show’s name, so the new WQMF show was called “The Show With No Name.” The new show commenced in January 1983 and was a dominant player in Louisville radio until Terry Meiners left to take the afternoon drive slot at WHAS Radio in June 1985.
A six month non-competition clause with WQMF kept Terry off of the new station until “The Terry Meiners Show” debuted on December 2, 1985.