The call came to me about 20 minutes to showtime earlier today.
On the other end was program director, Steve Torre.
The purpose of the call?
To inform me that I was suspended indefinitely because I accepted some money from a fan in Las Vegas to go to his Super Bowl party in Las Vegas.
I agreed to do this for the sum of $3500.
—>Plus a car service to and from the airport.
Torre told me I ran a ‘contest’.
No, I did not.
This was spontaneous, this was off the cuff, this was, in the end, radio genius.
I need not anyone at SXM to agree with me on this – it was radio genius.
End of story.
It’s funny, because we at SXM are unregulated by the powers of the FCC.
This means that free flowing radio where you might utter the word FUCK! at any old time cannot get you in any trouble.
There is also something in the world of radio known as; ‘Payola.’
Not to confuse you with all the legal jargon, but Payola is best described as doing something on the air for the benefit and the advancement of an entity on the outside, whereby the person on the air is rewarded monetarily for advancing, say a record, or a business.
Like for instance, what that dickhead and no talent sports talk host, Sid Rosenberg did, at a station in Florida a short time back.
Rosenberg owed thousands of dollars in gambling debts to an off shore sports book – and to pay down some of the debt, without the station’s knowledge, he began airing his own off the cuff commercials for this organization, good for Rosenberg personally – but the station was now giving away free advertising because of Rosenberg’s unpaid testimonials on behalf of the company he owed lots of money to.
Another example: Say I was a disc jockey, and a record company offered me some cash to play one of their artists songs over and over, say 4 times an hour to the exclusion of other records normally placed in rotation — this my friends, is a clear violation and something we call; Payola.
On yesterday’s show, I simply wondered aloud — who might be willing to pay me to go to their Super Bowl party?
The result was people calling in from all points across the North American continent offering me the best deal they had to come to their party.
They asked for nothing in return.
—————–>I offered nothing in return but my time.
They asked for nothing in return.
—————–>I offered nothing in return but my time.
Are we straight on this?
Nobody asked me to pimp their company, their service, their product…nor would I, because under such a situation it wasn’t ever lost on me that this would be a potential violation under the Payola framework.
I say ‘potential‘, only because I’m not certain of the various wiggle room allotted to SiriusXM based upon the company not being under the jurisdiction of the FCC.
But I digress, the impulsive decision on my part to see who might be interested in having me come to their Super Bowl party this Sunday was never about me offering to do this for a favor on my end — for the party interested in having me join them.
This was simple, it was cut and dried.
You want me to come to your party on behalf of myself?
Fine, there would be no attachments to SiriusXM, no radio show broadcast, no banners or signs signaling this was a SXM event…this was a DINO event.
Much like a ballplayer will often times accept money to make a personal appearance – I was doing the same thing.
Much like an actor paid for their time to show up and schmooze with folks for a fee — this is what I was doing.
I was not representing SiriusXM Radio.
I was representing; DINO COSTA.
This was not a ‘contest’ — and not once did I feel that the three hours of radio magic constituted anything in the way of deceptive and or nefarious conduct.
On the contrary, it was fun and it was innocent.
It was light and airy, nothing in the way of being heavy-handed…this was finesse all the way baby.
Look it, I’ve been trying to alert the brains over at SXM for nearly 5 years that I am money just waiting to be made – if someone over there ever awakens to an epiphany one day and realizes I am a marketing dream come true – I’ll make that company a hell of a lot of money in the way of new subscribers — and through the maintaining of current ones.
My audience is fiercely loyal to me - they gravitate toward me - and to have not just one — but several people — on impulse, with no advance warning…offer me thousands of dollars to sit with them and watch a football game?
Is this really happening?
SiriusXM should have looked upon this as an eye-opener.
Instead for some strange reason — they chose to look upon it in a small and petty, juvenile way, because someone wired me $3500 today to appear in a private fashion unrelated to anything SXM oriented.
“Holy shit…someone just paid Dino $3500 to simply show up and watch a Super Bowl game this weekend?”
“Maybe this fucking guy really is good!”
“Man, if he can reach listeners like this without any advance notice — I wonder what this asshole could do with potential advertisers?”
If only I was surrounded by such innovative and creative thinkers possessing the same radio genius that I maintain.
My appearance this weekend in Las Vegas is nothing more than an appearance fee.
An appearance fee.
I thought these things happened all the time?
Furthermore, only last month, three (3) Howard Stern cast members, accepted money to head up north someplace, appearance fees, with airline tickets paid for…this was trumpeted on SXM airwaves proudly.
Can someone point to the difference between those SXM employees accepting money and perks over the air – and what I did on my show yesterday/last night?
QUICK THOUGHT: On Radio Row at The Super Bowl last year, at least 3 of the guests I interviewed also pitched their products before saying goodbye to me.
Is this ‘Payola?’
At least a form of it?
One guest told me he couldn’t come on (Bill Romanowski) unless I was going to talk about his smoothie product.
Did me and Bill break any laws?
I hope not.
In addition, while there was no trade off with my deal – in other words — the person paying me a private and personal appearance fee to show up —- this individual asked for and received nothing in return…
But what about for instance, Scott Wetzel, or before him, Scott Ferrall, openly talking about, promoting, and directing, individuals to their gambling websites?
Ferrall was doing this right up until the second he left SXM for CBS earlier this month.
Scott Wetzel has been pushing his ‘opposite picks’ gaming site for as long as he’s been with SXM.
In order to get Wetzel’s knowledge in regard to his ‘picks’, you have to pay him.
In the above instance – is this not a form of personal Payola for the individuals I speak of?
True they are not advancing and rewarding an outside company…
NO THIS IS EVEN WORSE THAN IF THEY WERE DOING THAT!!!
Ferrall and Wetzel are guilty of promoting their own companies (WHAT THE FUCK?) for their own PERSONAL FINANCIAL GAIN – without compensating SiriusXM Radio one single penny!
How in the FUCK! is the above not a case of ‘self-payoloa?”
Let me get this straight now. I’m suspended today for making a personal appearance in Las Vegas — yet Wetzel, and Ferrall can pad their own bank accounts with no questions asked…for years?
Are these simply to be referred to as; ‘DINO Rules?’
Someone please look up the Webster’s definition of ‘Double-Standard’ for me.
NEWS>>>>>>I spoke with someone today who has intimate knowledge of Scott Ferrall and his consistent over the air promotion of his “Scott Beats The Man” website, Ferrall never paid SXM a dime – yet cleared on average 200K a year off of it!
This person told me he’d gladly talk at anytime to anyone who may wish to, you know, talk to him?
Indeed, perhaps it may come to being that ‘my’ people will have a need to speak to ‘him’ and ‘his’ people.
Someone asked me earlier today, “Dino if they asked you to return the money and this would all be forgotten would you do that.”?
Now, on the other hand, if SXM had not so blatantly overreacted and stated to me, “Hey Dino look it, from now on if you’re going to promote your own personal appearances, then please do it only on your website and not on the air.”
Under the above reaction, I would have respected it — and complied.
I would have mentioned the Wetzel and Ferrall thing, the Howard employees who accepted essentially the same thing I did yesterday…the FACT that on Howard’s show back in February of 2009, then SXM employee ARTIE LANGE accepeted 25K from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the air to appear and do stand up at Kraft’s home in Massachusetts…
I would have mentioned all of that – but in the end I would have respected their request.
During Super Bowl week, to make me look like the mamaluke of the year 20 minutes before showtime on a Thursday?
Depriving my monster audience of the most singularly unique radio product on the air in America today?
Admonishing me for doing as it turns out – nothing wrong?
Come on now.
I deserve this?
Because I’m a loyal and proud, enthusiastic SiriusXM employee, someone who has been bullish on our products, and someone who goes out of their way on his shows to consistently talk up the great SiriusXM company?
My SiriusXM love has been loudly and proudly broadcast by me on my shows with regularity.
My last words to Steve Torre today we’re: “Steve I gotta go, with this suspension I now have more time to plan for my Las Vegas trip.”
I mean, what else could I say to someone who so mis-read the situation and completely missed the mark on this one?
I’ll be in Las Vegas this Saturday and Sunday.
I’ll be at the Super Bowl party too.
I’ll leave Vegas with $3500 in my hand and zero regrets as to how I procured this money.
If anything, my private and personal appearance at this party in Las Vegas, depending on who I might meet and be introduced to, could very well add a few more subscriptions to the SXM stable.
That’s good business.
Now however, subsequent conversations with not only my Las Vegas source, but also a few others, individuals with resources, wish to speak with me about where I want to take the TEAM DINO brand.
These are not radio people, mind you, however, they are people with instincts, businessmen who have the ability to know what works, and what sells.
I’m more enthused about going to Vegas right now than at any point prior to the show yesterday.
And what of SXM and DINO COSTA?
Like everything else at this point — it’s to be seen how it all shakes out in the wash.
Fear not for me, amigos.
Be it radio, an aggressive online digital enterprise backed by solid money, working at a commercial cattle feed lot, going into the food truck business, or sweeping the streets here in Cheyenne…I’ll survive.
It’s the way I’m built.
Nothing and nobody – can or will – ever change that.