Thursday, June 25, 2020

Bigger Pie Forum: Supertalk Gets Super Contracts

Imagine a talk radio network that reaches every county in Mississippi and hosts state policymakers as guests with a large proportion of its advertisements each hour coming in the form of taxpayer-funded public service announcements (PSAs).

This is exactly what is occurring in Mississippi, as taxpayers have spent more $30 million on advertisements in the last six years, according to an analysis of contracts on the state’s transparency website.  Most of those contracts go to Ridgeland-based TeleSouth, which owns 12 radio stations that carry the SuperTalk network.  Should we be surprised if the questions asked of policymakers are more softballs than hardballs?

Here are some details worth noting.  Since 2016, the company has received more than $1.8 million for PSAs from taxpayers, over five percent of all funds spent on advertising.  In fiscal 2020 alone, TeleSouth has received more than $218,000 for PSAs.  Other station owners receive little in comparison.  National radio giant iHeartMedia (which owns 19 radio stations in Mississippi) received $43,731 in fiscal 2020 for advertisements and Cumulus Broadcasting (four radio stations) received $3,449.

TeleSouth’s SuperTalk network is the home of the Gallo Radio Show and the JT Show, both of which often feature state policymakers as guests.



Some of these public service announcements include:
  • Department of Public Safety PSAs dealing with seatbelt usage, known as “Click it or Ticket”.
  • Drunken driving, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign from DPS.
  • DPS’ “See Something, Say Something” campaign.
  • The Department of Human Services with its “Better Me, Better Mississippi” campaign.
  • DHS for the “iPay Online” campaign that allows parents to submit child support payments online.
  • Division of Medicaid for “the Medicaid Minute.”
  • Flood insurance awareness from the Mississippi Department of Insurance.
  • Hurricane preparedness from MDI.
  • All-terrain vehicle and hunter safety from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
  • Fire safety from the MDI.
TeleSouth also received more than $314,000 for PSAs in fiscal 2019, more than $366,000 in fiscal 2018 and more than $325,000 in fiscal 2017.  The biggest year for TeleSouth was 2016, when the company received more than $609,000 from taxpayers.  iHeartMedia and Cumulus Broadcasting received only a fraction in comparison for each of these fiscal periods.

PSA buys from state agencies are nothing new for TeleSouth.  From 2009 to 2015, taxpayers paid the radio network $3.928 million for the airing of public service announcements and other services.


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41 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is why I support 103.9 WYAB. They do not accept tax payer money for advertising. I also support the advertisers of WYAB. I wish WYAB could afford to buy the syndication for Coast to Coast AM because I have to tune in to SuperTalk FM for my paranormal talk radio fix
SuperTalk's in house talent is bland and obviously anti-intellectual propaganda.

Anonymous said...

I knew something was up when I met Gallo and Phil Bryant at hotel in Tupelo when he was running for Governor.

Anonymous said...

This is incredibly hypocritical. This network throws out the "government is too big" mantra every chance they get and here they are sucking of the government teat. Two faced jerks.

Anonymous said...

How much does Uncle Sugar spend on NPR?

Anonymous said...

Something doesn’t smell right with this one.
Interesting that one station would garner such support if the goal was to inform the public.

Anonymous said...

When you consider that so few Mississippians actually listen to the stations themselves, it looks like our tax dollars are not well spent. You can cover as many counties you want, but how many listeners do these stations have? Not many. So much for getting the message out. Something smells here, and it ain’t rotten watermelons.

Anonymous said...

I have no dog in the hunt, but why is this a story? They own the most radio stations in the state. They are a MS based company. It's not like they're minting gold either, I know they have had layoffs during COVID.

Anonymous said...

Telesouth Communications is also the parent company for News Mississippi and Mississippi AgriNews Network. There are a number of stations not owned by Telesouth Communications that air these networks.

One hand washes the other said...

And it's straight far right-wing propaganda.

Anon-E-Mouse said...

Well, it’s a popular network and they reach the republican base. If the state wants to advertise there, let them.

If other stations reached as many people, I feel certain the state would advertise on those too.

So, how much other money is spent on radio ads and where.

Anonymous said...

@8:46
You say they own the most radio stations in MS.
Out of over 200 radio stations in the state, they own around 20, mostly in small towns with few listeners. Are not the local owners of all those other stations worthy of your tax funded ads?

Anonymous said...

SuperCommercial radio is painful to listen to regardless of your political orientation.

Anonymous said...

I’ve never heard anyone on super talk ever criticize a Republican politician and now I know why. It’s because they’re being paid by Republican politicians! WYAB 103.9 is far superior. As was previously mentioned, they take no taxpayer advertisements, and they’re way more interesting , entertaining and original. Watching super talk is like watching Sean Hannity- Republican good, Democrat bad , all day long. WYAB all the way.

Anonymous said...

If you want to be brainwashed with state sponsored propaganda, listen to super talk. If you want actually interesting and entertaining conversations, listen to WYAB. My favorites are Kim Wade and James Tulp but all of their hosts are good.

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong? Of course. But more wrong is that tax dollars build and maintain PBS and NPR. If the left wants their own TV and radio networks and stations, then let them pay for it. PBS and NPR should be dismantled and sold.

We have over 50 years of Sesame Street on tape. Re-runs can teach kids how to count to ten.

Anonymous said...

This makes perfect sense. I was listening when Gallo was grilling James Tulp with tough questions during his campaign, and James handled them nicely. Then the next day Michael Guest came on and it was softball after softball. They did the same thing with McDaniel and Cochran. I don’t listen to them anymore

Anonymous said...

How is it not even mentioned that they support candidates DURING PRIMARIES as long as the candidates advertise. There has never been a bigger attack show done than the Gallo attack on guest Andy Taggart and DURING THE SHOW Lynn Fitch had advertisements for pre-paid tuition programs or whatever directing everyone to her LynnFitch.com website! That was two Republicans, but the advertiser got the softest softballs and the non-advertiser got an attack dog style interview.

Anonymous said...

Listening to Gallo or JT interview a Republican official is like watching Chris Cuomo interview Andrew Cuomo.

Anonymous said...

Just adding my support for WYAB and also reminding people of AM620 WJDX. Honestly, WJDX is probably the biggest local talk station because they have Rush Limbaugh. Just adding because newcomers and young bucks may not even know about AM radio.

Here's how to get the most.
Michael Savage replay starts at 5:00 AM on WYAB so you can leave your dial there all day until 11:00 AM when Rush comes on. When Rush finishes, I switch back to WYAB because I can't stand Sean Hannity. Then I just listen the rest of the day to WYAB through the Kim Wade Show until I get home from work.

Anonymous said...

I can't get over the fact that folks are just now figuring out the Supertalk Radio scam. It's been going on for years with the support of our spineless and gutless legislature, and some State agency heads. You can't fix stupid I guess.

Anonymous said...

I'll know some of you will find this shocking, but there was a time ( when we owned the airways, rather than paid for them), that public service announcements were not paid for but a required slot in public broadcasting for important information.

It was part of the licensing contract with the FCC.

Congress didn't " sell" our airways, they gave them away or Congress got "campaign and PAC donations" in payment. They gave away what we " owned" with no compensation. Given the profits, our " unwilling investments in cable, satellite and wifi should be " paid" back by NO charges for Public Service announcements!

You are fighting over " freedoms" about masks, but you sat quietly while the " Family Protection Act" was passed. You "fell
for the title of the bill. Remember that every time you pay your bill to watch TV or get radio in your vehicle. And, remember, you now pay for propaganda and opinions because FCC " deregulated" away
equal time" and " truth".


And, now , in your misguided " pursuit of happiness", you are, in the same ignorance, giving away the "life" part which came first..."life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Way to go, numbskulls.

Anonymous said...

It’s a scam much bigger than the Dibiase-Farve-New scandal. The same people who steer these public service “ads” are the ones running the political campaigns. Supertalk says and does exactly what they are told by these folks because they control so much money. Paul Gallo and JT skewer candidates they are told to skewer and they lob softballs to the preferred candidates. And then, wink wink nod nod, here come all the public service announcement ad dollars.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of Red Herring logical fallacies being displayed today.

BUT... BUT... BUT... MPB?!??!?!?!?!?!?

Go ahead, cut to "But they're doing it too, mama!"

Anonymous said...

Sure is a lot of anonymous slander coming from the poors. Hey, here's an idea. Why don't you spend your own time and money on building a media empire yourself insteading of throwing stones at SuperTalk.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Clarion Ledger, Jackson Free Press, Mississippi Today, Sun Herald, Starkville, Tupelo, Columbus papers and many more are propagandists for the far left. So many I am exhausted trying to remember all of them.

Anonymous said...

We have a republic form of government. We elect representatives to vote on laws for us for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Top 2 defenders of free speech in Mississippi are Kim Wade and Kingfish. Period.

Anonymous said...

Sure is a lot of anonymous slander coming from the poors. Hey, here's an idea. Why don't you spend your own time and money on building a media empire yourself instead of throwing stones at SuperTalk? You don't have to listen and you don't have to advertise. This is no different than how it is done on a national level too. There is no news reporting anymore. There is only guiding and shaping public opinion to what the 1% that rules over us want us to believe.

Anonymous said...

"Payola" still exists. Y'all remember "payola?"

Anonymous said...

I assume 12:04 and 12:26 must be the same Anonymous poster, since the posts mention a “media empire”.
Informed citizens know how that “empire “ was built.

Anonymous said...

So those conservative talk show host that talk about hard work, stopping government waste, etc. are going to the bank because of tax dollars. Interesting, extremely hypocritical, but interesting.

Anonymous said...

I don't listen to talk radio anymore - podcasts and Audible. Agreed the Gallo / JT narrative will make you sick after about 5 minutes. I'm surprised radio stations still exists for no other reason than to issue emergency notifications... oh wait your phone does that..

Anonymous said...

So those conservative talk show host that talk about hard work, stopping government waste, etc. are going to the bank because of tax dollars. Interesting, extremely hypocritical, but interesting.

He who smelt it dealt it!

Anonymous said...

I don't listen to the station...but I have a question as I must not be knowledgeable of PSA's. PSA does stand for "Public Service Announcement," right? So...when did PSA's become Democrat/Republican? The STATE chooses to pay the price that this company has for PSA's/commercials. Each station sets its own price - capitalism. I see nothing "wrong" with this.

As someone else commented on the newsworthiness of this...other than this "article" must just be for educating us, the readers, as to where our tax dollars are being spent. If it is to spark political debate, I go back to my original question: when did PSA's become Democrat/Republican?


RD

Anonymous said...

Simply amazed at the folks who are just now figuring out that all of the metro area holds a sign saying Downsize GubMint with one hand and the other is open for GubMint subsidies, cotton welfare, GubMint contracts, tax expenditures, and setasides, or money from the blessed farmers and banker buddies. Courtesy of Big Ole Bad Ole Uncle Sam. Sort of like taxpayer watchdog Uncle Cecil.

But, rest assured, they are all "self made" men and none of that untaxed inherited wealth had anything to do with it.

Yep. Pull yourself up by those bootstraps, poor folks. Just like me, Throckmorton P. Big Bux, IV! Get my lobbyist on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Only normies listem to AM/FM. Shortwave is where it's at. Doomsday preachers, White Supremacists, full communists, and even Alex Jones is on Shortwave.

Anonymous said...

So no one has issues with Dem’s spewing hate from pulpits weekly for decades? Please....we all play the same game just different playbook.

Anonymous said...

I have not listened to super talk since the last Thad Cochran campaign. Advertising $'s are the reason that Gallo & JT were in bed with the Thad Cochran campaign. The king of MS pork would make sure the advertisement $'s kept flowing. Gallo is always tough on Democrats and their spending but whenever he would have Palazzo or Harper on after voting for a HUGE omnibus bills (every year - one Schumer claimed "we got everything we wanted") Gallo would say "well its something you had to do". Gallo & JT are as fake a conservative as Roger Wicker.They run cover for the republican establishment.

Anonymous said...

@7:08

In other words, Gallo & JT are friends of the program, the REAL program.

When are we going to revolt against these do nothing for the good of the entire state politicians. Our silence means we are complicit. I am looking at both sides of the aisle. You do not have to go along to get along with these idiots.

Anonymous said...

If anybody is on the fence about whether to stay tuned to Supertalk, the addition of Mary Weden will damned sure make up your mind for you. My God...talking about running over a cat with a lawn mower!

Anonymous said...

Conservative icons Limbaugh and O'Reilly enjoy a great deal of PSA support that includes such unconservative issues as the United Negro College Fund, EPA, and pro-vaccine. Limbaugh's personal endorsement of Mahindra tractors(Imported from India) and O'Reilly's endorsement for JUUL are indicative of just how desperate they are for actual sponsors.

Conservative talk radio is a puffed up self serving propaganda mill for the friends of Murdoch and the Mercers who couldn't care less about abortion, guns or illegal aliens.

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