Has a Tooth Been Pulled In The Non-Compete Clause Issue In Memphis Media, I Get a Solid Explanation as to Why My Picture from WMC Runs Off the Sides of My TV Screen and Memphis Loses Another Radio Personality

Back when the announcement was first made that Andy Wise was leaving WREG for WMC I really didn’t think that it would be a FULL year before AW was back on the air.  As I posted previously I figured that WMC might roll out AW during the May sweeps or even during the July book but for sure that they wouldn’t wait any later than November.  Some might say when I’m shooting with a shotgun like that I’m bound to be right at some point in time.  So as I browsed the Commercial Appeal and saw a huge ad featuring Mr. Wise, I really wasn’t surprised.  I was told that he had been doing stuff behind the scenes and I figured that this was the first time that the folks on Union would start branding their Investigative squad with Andy’s face.  Hey, his picture has been hanging on the sides of the station for months now.  But it was while I was listening to Drake and Zeke this morning on the radio that I heard Andy voicing his own promo for his upcoming expose’ on tires.  I figured, “Okay, the gloves have come off”.  Now I don’t know the specifics of what transpired between WMC and WREG to negate the non-compete issues.  The way the wording on the non-competes usually works is that if someone violates a non-compete clause then the former station can seek monetary compensation set at a pre-determined rate (usually based on salary and the amount of time left on the non-compete).  Or the new station can just say “to hell with you” to the old station and do what they want.  But then the next time that someone breaks a non-compete, then  a precedent has been set and such a move would actually remove a couple of teeth from the whole non-compete issue. That’s something that most station managers don’t WANT to see and most TV and radio people under non-competes would LOVE to see.   Again, at this point, I don’t know which way the situation went but Andy Wise will be back on somebody’s side soon. 

I had posted earlier that while watching Saturday Night Live on my Direct TV (Standard Definition) that the picture was way too big.  It ran off the sides which meant that graphics and whatever was far left and far right were clipped.  I changed the viewing screen on the TV from 4:3 to 16:9 and it still clipped the edge of the screen.  I asked if anyone knew what was going on and for several days I had only one response.  Then I got an email from a person who works on Union and has the technical expertise to know what’s going on.  In a nutshell, it’s an issue with the combination of 16:9 and 4:3 video that everyone is dealing with right now, NBC, and Direct TV.  (I think I’ve got this right).  Anyway, we had a lengthy conversation and I was told it would not be an issue if I went to HD.  However, having said that, a good friend of mine who HAS HD says he still has issues with the signal running off the edge of the screen.  Stay tuned for more on the story.

Memphis has lost another long-time radio guy.  Craig Robbins died while driving last Friday.  There was a nice article on Mr. Robbins in Saturday’s Commercial Appeal.  Here are a couple lines.

The voice of Memphis Morning News has gone silent. Craig Robbins, host of the area news talk show on WREC-AM NewsRadio 600, died Friday of a heart attack. He was stricken while driving and concerned motorists performed CPR, but Mr. Robbins died on the way to the hospital, said station operations manager Tim Spencer.

I didn’t know Mr. Robbins but he had been quite involved in Memphis radio over the years. And he was only 59.  There was a time when I really didn’t think too much about meeting my maker but considering that CR was only seven years older than me and that starts hitting close to home.  Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

And finally, there’s nothing like getting back to nature and this past weekend, my good friend and former co-worker Doug Johnson broke out the hiking boots, climbed into an airplane with me and I flew the two of us to deer camp in Western Kentucky at my family’s farm.  Understand, for Doug and me, this trip was not about hunting deer but it was about visiting the great outdoors and being around some folks who do hunt.  WE were actually there for lunch and for some four-wheeling.  It was only a day trip and other than the fact that Doug hurt his shoulder climbing out of a deer stand (he just climbed up for the view) I think I can safely say a good time was had by all.  I’m sharing a few pictures and I’m calling the adventure, “Boyz in the Woodz”.  (Forgive the quality of the photos as they were taken with my camera phone.)

Boyz in the Woodz
Boyz in the Woodz
Back to Nature
Back to Nature
Flying Home After a Hard Day of Having Fun
Flying Home After a Hard Day of Having Fun
The Vide from 4,500 ft.  (One of the reasons I fly)
The View from 4,500 ft. (One of the reasons I fly)

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7 Comments on “Has a Tooth Been Pulled In The Non-Compete Clause Issue In Memphis Media, I Get a Solid Explanation as to Why My Picture from WMC Runs Off the Sides of My TV Screen and Memphis Loses Another Radio Personality”

  1. Maggiesmaster Says:


    If it was open gun deer season, where was Doug’s orange vest? Even though it was on your farm, that doesn’t stop some trespasser from sneaking in and ‘sound shooting’.

  2. joelarkins Says:

    According to KY law, only those hunting and those accompanying those who hunt are required to wear orange. So technically, since Doug and I were not hunting and since we were not with someone who was actively hunting, we did not have to wear blaze orange. I asked about this as we were about to go four-wheeling. Doug was wearing red (it was much brighter than the photos show) and the fact that I really don’t have much faith in people with firearms, I wore an orange vest. Should we have both been wearing orange and a lot of it? Probably. But we didn’t.

  3. Doug Johnson Says:

    It warms my heart that someone was actually worried about my safety. I hope that’s what it was and not just an effort to get me in Dutch with the Wildlife heat in Kentucky…

    And while my doctor thinks I might have a rotator cuff tear, we think it’ll be fine as long as I keep up the range-of-motion exercises…

  4. JD Says:

    HI Joe! Good to see Doug Johnson thriving! Speedy recovery to you Doug!

    Joe, I am glad you mentioned Craig Robbins. He really did believe in what he was doing and I can’t think of anyone other than Bill Dries who would have had such deep faith in the power of radio broadcasting. Both of them have the knack of putting color into their reports where you get the drift of the action without difficulty. Indeed, Craig will be missed.

  5. random viewer Says:

    Two things I can be helpful about: (1) The SNL issue is specific to that show, not the network or your TV. The SNL producers have clearly decided that, unlike the rest of us broadcasters who have gone to 16:9 cameras and graphics, they are not going to create their graphics to stay within the current SD 4:3 aspect ratio. They are, in effect, thumbing their noses at those of us viewers who still choose to watch 4:3. There is nothing you can do to your TV, other than watching the HD source on an HDTV. Sorry, I don’t think your friend either understands the situation or truly has access to SNL in HD. The engineer you spoke to was correct.
    (2) Andy Wise is not allowed to appear on camera for WMC until January – that is, viewers cannot see his face. There is no restriction on his voice “appearing”, however. Since he will appear on TV in January, it seems they’ve decided to ramp up to that debut by using his voice during November.

  6. JD Says:

    Hey Joe!
    Just a note to say here’s a wish for a very Happy Thanksgiving, and many happy returns of the day!

  7. Lew Says:

    Non-competes aren’t always enforced. Seems like WHBQ declined to enforce Jerry Tate’s when he returned to WREG. In Kentucky they’re still legal, but in Missouri and Illionois they’re now illegal for broadcasting. That leads to an interesting situation in markets which cross state lines, although at least one station I know of threatens to sue those who break them, in federal court if they leave to go to a station where non-competes are illegal. When I worked at WBBJ, a station in Indiana sued an anchor in Federal Court, after he left to take the News Director job in Jackson. He won and the Indiana station lost. Not a clear cut non-compete situation, but interesting.

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