This is a note of personal thanks for being the first publication to step up and print the truth about the Minot "urban legend" (12/27/07 RBR #249).
At the time of the incident, I was the Senior Vice President at Clear Channel overseeing a sixteen state territory called the Plains/Northwest and Minot was in my area of responsibility.
Here are the Minot facts. The Minot radio stations were manned 24 hours a day, in fact during this period of time (Randy Michaels was still running Clear Channel), it was policy that there needed to be someone in all of our buildings 24/7.
The issue in Minot was two fold. First, when we moved into a new facility and sent out notices to all local authorities with both daytime and after hours contact numbers (over a year before the incident), the Minot police did not update their records and had old phone numbers in their files. When they got disconnects on both numbers, including the after hours private number, they dialed information, got the switchboard number and dialed that. Jim, how many switchboard numbers are answered after hours, at any company, regardless of their business? Did you have your switchboard answered after midnight at RBR?
Compounding the police error, despite having it for more than a year, the local police never installed their EAS system, and that was despite the fact that the local CC staff called regularly to ask if they needed any help in understanding how to operate it.
Rick Stensby, who was mentioned prominently this morning, was, and is still the market manager in Minot and I feel for him every time this story comes up. He’s the consummate small market broadcaster, on all the boards, chamber, you name it, he’s there. He takes the responsibility of owning all the radio stations in town seriously. Now he’s the victim of a FALSE urban legend.
For some reason, in America we think "big is bad" and the drums beat loudly that Clear Channel has been a disaster for this industry. Because of that belief, every controversial item surrounding radio falls at their feet (most STILL believe that it was Clear Channel that banned the Dixie Chicks…right letter, "C," wrong company – it was Cumulus). You could even make a case that they deserve all the criticism and blame lifted upon them because they’ve "earned" it by their actions and initiatives over the past five and a half years.
But in the case of Minot, IT JUST DIDN"T HAPPEN! Senator Dorgan and everyone else who constantly brings up Minot as an example of what’s wrong with radio is doing a disservice, not to Clear Channel, but to the fine men and women broadcasters who make up the staff and management of the Clear Channel radio stations in Minot.
From the bottom of my heart, a sincere thank you for setting the record straight, not for me but for a great broadcaster, Market Manager Rick Stensby (I called him "Bulldog" because he looked like one) and his hard working, dedicated staff in Minot.
Cavalry Media Services, LLC