Here at FishbowlNY, we’re assiduously cultivating our radio sources for NPR gossipmostly because “NPR scandal” seems conceptually like an oxymoron and we want to see a real live one. The closest we’ve seen so far has been the exit of Tavis Smiley, who says that working at NPR under his former salary and budgetary constraints was akin to working “in chains and shackles”, and that “for black kids and brown kids yet unborn, [he] felt [he] had to say no” to his existing compensation package and marketing budget, the size about which we can only speculate. (Unless, of course, you tell us. FishbowlNY@mediabistro.com. That’s F-I-S-H-B…)
If there’s any question that it wasn’t an amicable divorce, NPR host Kurt Andersen clears up any confusion in a digression on corporate honesty in this week’s NY Mag column about Michaels Eisner and Ovitz:
If corporate executives told the truth always, they would be considered fools. When NBC Universal chairman and CEO Bob Wright was asked about getting trounced by ABC’s new hit series this season, he said, “It’s good to see that shows are really popping good numbers.” No, it isn’t. And when Tavis Smiley recently quit his NPR talk show and criticized NPR for its whiteness, the NPR spokesperson said, “We have only the most positive feelings about Tavis.” No, they don’t.