Hearne: Why the Jury Bagged ‘The Buzz’ for Big Bucks

Afentra

Afentra

And now the rest of the story…

If all you knew about the lawsuit former KU law school grad Ashley Patton filed against Entercom Kansas City two years ago after morning show personalities on 96.5 The Buzz misidentified her as a porn star and a jury granted her a million dollar award, you’d be missing key parts of the story.

That’s because the “reporting” has been so minimal that most locals are scratching their heads, wondering how a simple case of mistaken identity could result in six-figure legal fees and a $1 million damage verdict against Entercom.

What’s more, nobody even got fired!

The guilty parties in this on-air misadventure are Buzz morning show host Afentra Bandokoudis, aka “Afentra,” and sidekick Daniel Terreros, aka “Danny Boi.”

Now let’s cut to the chase…

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Ashley Patton

While most of the blame has been centered on Danny Boi for blowing a simple Google name search, make no mistake, to Patton, her attorney and the jury’s way of thinking Afentra was just as guilty for her role in the lowbrow, trash talking that lead up to Patton being called out as a porn star.

“The court made us prove reckless behavior by the corporation,” says Patton’s attorney Arthur Benson. (Entercom’s) entire defense was that it was a simple human mistake, not reckless behavior. The jury did not buy that. Danny Boi Googled Ms. Patton’s name and got ‘no results.’ Google suggested instead: ‘Did you mean Ashley Payton’ and Danny kept clicking right through that Stop sign.

“He got a list of (Payton’s) links. Then he clicked again on one of those links and saw a man having sex with a woman with his hands on her neck. Danny, whose listeners knew he had been doing Google ‘fact checks’ all morning, then said on air, ‘Don’t choke her, Jesus,’ further confirming for the listeners that he was looking at Ms. Patton, whom Afentra had also confirmed by referring to her as ‘this Olathe girl’ while Danny Googled. The jury unanimously found that to be reckless behavior, especially since Afentra and Danny Boi had been told about false light invasion of privacy but the corporation had not trained them or their supervisor on how to avoid false light invasion of privacy.”

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Arthur Benson

There’s more.

For the uninitiated, Reporter’s Committee, a nonprofit association that provides legal advice to journalists, describes false light invasion of privacy as occurring “when information is published about a person that is false or places the person in a false light, is highly offensive to a reasonable person, and is published (broadcast) with knowledge or in reckless disregard of whether the information was false or would place the person in a false light.”

The second tenet of Patton’s lawsuit alleged that Entercom was guilty of “negligent supervision” of The Buzz hosts, leaving them free to level raunchy, untrue and uncorroborated assertions and insinuations.

Therein lies a key to understanding the reasoning behind the $750,000 in punitive damages awarded to Patton by the jury.

Because rather than viewing Patton’s unfortunate free fall into the Buzz morning show’s crosshairs as an isolated slip, the porn star banter appeared to be a typical example of the crude, obscene behavior practiced by the station’s air staff.

Or so it seemed.

“Being raunchy was the station’s business model, to build a target audience of 18-34 year olds to whom to sell advertising,” Benson says. “Broadcasting in this segment about butt holes, sex with employers, and referring to 13 year girls masturbating was the essence of that business model to drive revenues,” Benson says. “But there was no training to avoid violating the law. The jury imposed the costs of that business model back on the station in order to hold it accountable for its reckless behavior.”

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Lazlo Geiger

Not only did Afentra’s husband and Buzz program director Lazlo cop to receiving no training on delicate matters pertaining to libel, slander and false light invasion of privacy, he didn’t even exhibit the slightest modicum of common sense when confronted by Patton with the station’s mistake.

Quite the opposite.

In District Judge Danielle D. Crabtree‘s “Memorandum And Order” in June, he noted, “Sometime after noon that same day, plaintiff called the radio station and reached Program Director Scott Geiger (Lazlo). Until the phone call from plaintiff, Geiger did not know there had been a segment about local porn stars on ‘Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz’ that morning. Plaintiff told him that the morning show had called her a porn star and that she was angry. In response, Geiger asked plaintiff, ‘Well, are you?’ Plaintiff replied that she was not and Geiger replied, ‘How do you know that you’re not a porn star?’ ”

In other words, instead of dealing with Patton’s request with a measure of dignity and respect, Lazlo poured gasoline on what was to become a million dollar fire.

“(Lazlo) was making her even more upset, and she was not satisfied with Geiger’s response,” Crabtree’s document continues.. “His continuing to ask if she was, in fact, a porn star made her feel as though he was saying she was lying and that she did not want anyone to know because she was, in fact, a porn star.”

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Ashley Payton The actual porn star in question

Get the pic?

It took days before Entercom retired the raunchy podcast.

Going forward, my sources say these past two years, The Buzz’s on-air indiscretions have been dialed way back. That’s probably a good thing, although after looking at some of the comments on the previous story, one has to wonder.

In any event, it’s clear that there was far more to this story than an innocent Googling error.

A whole lot more.

 

 

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52 Responses to Hearne: Why the Jury Bagged ‘The Buzz’ for Big Bucks

  1. harley says:

    great article hearne…this explains what happened.
    the lawsuit was more than just some stupid jocks making some rude comment
    about an innocent woman.
    Benson is good. entercom wanted the deal to end quickly and move on.
    this is what your column should be writing…facts…info…real life stuff.
    throw wislun off the boat with his cobbler stories…made up biz info…
    his sprint prediction which was a fairy tale…and lets get some real
    journalists on this site. Then get glaze to stop his sports stories which
    continue to bore and make him look like a fool.
    Great job. Now it’s time to clean out the cupbopard with these amatuers
    and become a big time blog. You can do it.
    again congrats on this article.

    • radio dude says:

      I cant believe that Harley and I agree…but we do on this article. No one else told us the story…Nice job Hearne

  2. jimmy says:

    “Broadcasting in this segment about butt holes, sex with employers, and referring to 13 year girls masturbating was the essence of that business model to drive revenues…”

    That’s a hell of a business model.

    • admin says:

      I have it on authority Jimmy that Entercom corporate management was supportive of The Buzz raunchy approach even though some locally felt it was way too much

  3. Jack Springer says:

    Strange names — where did these people come from? eastern Europe.

    Actually the porn star and the ku law graduate look a lot alike.

    Which is worse a porn star or a lawyer?

  4. Barrister Bill says:

    Both bill by the hour, Jack.

  5. Don't says:

    Rich people giving rich people for no reason

  6. harley says:

    this decision goes against the one against fox news for giving out false news…
    this could be appealed but entercom and their insurance company probably
    got worn down.
    if this was a fed case the cost to fight and appeal would run 500K.
    was this in Kansas or Missouri. that makes a huge difference.

    • admin says:

      I asked one radio exec to guess on Entercom’s legal fees and got $250,000. Which I don’t think is covered by insurance. Hence not wanting to appeal it.

      Think about it; this thing played out for two and a half years with a week long trial at the end.

      Serious business

      • harley says:

        entercom didn’t pay it..they’e got to have insurance or they
        couldn’t operate….e and o….insurance company
        has attorneys and can’t rememdber their name but they’re
        in new York.

    • Jack Springer says:

      It’s amazing the fox news story still exists within the small minds of liberals who always say they only accept the facts.

    • admin says:

      I’ve been hearing $250,000, H, but who knows for sure.

      Don’t think the insurance covers the legal fees.

      And it tells you something when Entercom doesn’t even contemplate an appeal.

      I think they knew their goose was cooked

  7. Orphan of the Road says:

    In appeals court the judgement will be reduced.

    Juries like to give away money by the truck full.

  8. randyraley says:

    I know that in the day, I would have had my head served on a platter and then they would have served me to whoever wanted to pick my bones. I always tried to be creative and run a halfway intelligent show. Now, it seems to be a race to the bottom.
    I could never compete with any of the so called “personalities” today. I gave up trying. The PD didn’t know what the morning show was doing? What?
    SMH.

    • BrotherSunday says:

      Lazlo also is the director of the secret service so he is effn busy.

    • admin says:

      Johnny Dare has cleaned up his act quite a bit, Randy.

      And my sources say that Afrentra and Lazlo got reigned in two years ago after the lawsuit was filed.

      Here’s another insider perspective: At the very least Entercom should have fired Danny who made the careless, ridiculous error, right away.

      That would have sent a message to the jury.

      Instead, they kept them both him and Afentra on (how does Lazlo fire his wife? he doesn’t. An independent program director we’ll might have) and paid the price.

      Entercom didn’t take a seven figure hit because some gofer dude made an honest mistake, they paid the price for astounding the jurors with the their grotesque excesses.

      And these guys want to be considered hip, cool people by modern rock and alt bands and their fans?

      Please

  9. Really randy says:

    Randy Raley is a name I somewhat remember. As it serves me you couldn’t compete with anyone. Boring person. Half ass ratings.

    • randyraley says:

      Indeed. Thanks so much. I was number one afternoon drive in my demo for most of the time from 82-85 at KY in KC. Competed head to head with Phil Young for number one twelve plus in those years. Left for St. Louis and was the number one afternoon drive guy in my demo for 13 years. But, whatever. Boring person, yeah probably.

      • Randy really says:

        You fail to mention you came back on The Fox to do mornings and got your ass kicked in the ratings. Lame bits like the elevator from hell and musicology knowledge were your benchmarks.

        • randyraley says:

          Got my ass kicked?
          Really? Hmmm. I believe the show as in 13th place 25-54 when I got there and when I left it was 4th.
          And your ratings were?
          Don’t like what I did? Cool.
          No matter, you’ve got some trolling to do.
          Completely happy about the career. Had an awesome 32 year run. Had a blast.
          So, should I leave some tickets for you at the 40th KY reunion coming up on Friday night at knuckleheads?
          I’ll even buy you a beer.

        • chuck says:

          I worked with Randy on many remotes. He was professional, on time, knew his product, knew our products and drew a crowd.

          Talk is cheap, he made us money.

      • balbonis moleskine says:

        People are negative here. I remember your radio days here in KC fondly. KY is long gone but 101 soldiers on with neutered formatics.

    • admin says:

      Sounds like somebody at The Buzz trying to change the subject by dissing Randy.

      Nice try.

  10. Mysterious J says:

    I do tip my hat to the actual reporting done here…I just have a hard time when the guy who reported on the late Tommy Morrison’s genital size is chiding others for bad taste.

    • admin says:

      Easy Mysterious,

      That reported wasn’t arbitrary. Like I was looking at the window and trying to think of something obscene to write.

      If you recall – and I suspect you do – there was a world of weird shit going down between Tommy’s girlfriends, wives, handlers and family.

      That was a national story and weird as it was, my reporting was a news scoop.

      Not mindless fantasies like, “Gee, I wonder if any porn starts live here.”

      Or joking about 13 year-old girls sex appetites.

      Get real, dude. You obviously know better, know the difference.

  11. mark smith says:

    Two things:
    1. What are the chances these 2 clowns are still on air in 6 months. I say slim.

    2. I bet Brother Sunday has a deep hole dug in the dirt floor of his basement. #ItPutsTheLotionOnItsSkin #DudesKindaCreepy

    • BrotherSunday says:

      Wiffle Ball is creepy? I thought it was fun. Hmm… my bad.

    • admin says:

      Great comment, Mark Smith but I seriously doubt that Entercom is going to gut that station when they’re doing pretty well in the ratings.

      That’s the problem with having both the morning and afternoon drive shows and the program director slots tied up with a single married couple.

  12. harley says:

    Anyone know where I can get my Elf Shoes and assless chaps repaired? EXELLENT story hearne. I wood no/ im a MU Jurnilist grade.

  13. Hot Carl says:

    Afentra is a big, fat, vile cow.

  14. Randysucked says:

    Ohh bullshit, randy. Classic rock got you those oh hum ratings. You were no more a personality than any journeymen weekend jock. You sucked. Record introducer.

    Hearne you are famous for your shocking type journalism.

    • admin says:

      Randy:

      Get real?

      Shocking? At the Kansas City Star?

      Controversial at times, yes. But like this story I had to jump thru a lot of hoops to get those stories in print or online.

      Because I got news for you, everything I wrote got edited and looked over hard.

      And there were NO references to but holes, 13 year-old girls masturbating, etc.

  15. Jack Springer says:

    Imagine 1980’2 Randy Miller in 2014 radio. He would have been sued and fired the first day.

    • admin says:

      Again Jack, Entercom’s hands are almost tied,

      Aftentra has the morning drive, her husband Lazlo has the afternoon drive and is the program director of the station.

      Talk about painting yourself into a corner.

      Or what’s that other expression, all your eggs in one basket.

  16. newbaum turk says:

    Randy Raley, what is happening Friday at Knuckleheads? I haven’t heard a thing about it. Thanks

    • mike t. says:

      let me google that for you…
      http://www.knuckleheadshonkytonk.com/

      actually wish I could be there. would be fun meeting max and tanna again. dick and jay showing up? fredrocks? moffitt? hart? raley, of course. good times folks… KY102 forever!

      • jack p. says:

        Of course not everyone can come back to K.C. to celebrate. But you’ll be surprised how many folks WILL show…including a number of ‘behind-the-sceners.’
        Big thank you to Randy Raley for his hard work in making this event happen!
        and yes I’ll be Knuckleheading it too……..:)

    • admin says:

      See Paul Wilson’s story today

  17. You says:

    You didn’t jump through hoops to get this story on line. You didn’t even get the story right. The audio was removed that day. You know how I know? I read the court documents. Your reporting is as suspect as that station. You’re an old man looking to stay relevant by any means neccassary. It doesn’t look good on you.

  18. You says:

    I don’t work at entercom. I’m just a fan of radio.

    • admin says:

      You’re also a blabbermouth who thinks you know what’s going on when obviously you don’t.

      Did you talk to station management at Entercom? No.

      Did you talk to the attorney for Patton? No.

      Did you speak with other radio executives with direct experience in these sorts of matters? Doubt it.

      So feel free to run your mouth, but my advice to readers is to take it with a boulder of salt.

      Old man, huh? Get real.

      And even if I was, what would it have to do with the reporting and the facts in this case? Nothing.

      Next?

  19. BrotherSunday says:

    Hate complain & troll
    That is how you crabby people roll.
    Negative crap.
    I am going to get my wiffle ball bat.
    And with that, a whack to your nutsacks.

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