Lach’s Back, Here’s Why

The ‘Ville Voice has learned that WHAS Radio sports talk show host Lachlan McLean, who was indefinitely suspended from his job after reading an anti-U of L football poem on the air, is scheduled to be back to his regular duties on Monday. But the circumstance of his suspension and reinstatement should have the Cardinal Nation talking for a while.

mclean.jpgMcLean received a lengthy poem, apparently written by a die-hard University of Kentucky fan, and read it on the air prior to Kentucky’ s big win over the Cardinals in Lexington. The poem made several insensitive references to Cardinal linebacker Willie Williams. U of L athletics director Tom Jurich, who had taken a personal hand in recruiting Williams, was particularly irritated by the poem, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Williams was a talented football player with a troubled past. He had been arrested 11 times before signing at the University of Miami in 2004. After one year, he transferred to West Los Angeles Community College, and through a friend of Jurich’s, ended up on the U of L roster this season. He played in three of the team’s four games, and had not been particularly impressive.

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T.G. It’s Time to Get on the Field

Just thinking about the big game in high school football at the old stadium tonight. . .  I like Manual over Shelby County.

Where’s Lachlan?: We’re working on the story of the disappearance of Lachlan McLean from WHAS Radio. We know the sports talk show host is off the air, indefinitely. We suspect that he’s run afoul of the U of L athletics department, based on the content of his shows following the Cards’ losses to Kentucky and Syracuse. We wonder if the athletics administration at U of L, which has some influence in the content of sports programming on the station and chose to give priority to UK when games conflict this season, has anything to do with McLean’s absence. We wonder.

No WonTons for Me, Thanks: The timing must stink for the folks at Bristol. Right when celebrations of 30 years on Bardstown Road should be going down, the case of a pesky diner with cerebral palsy, who was asked to take his wontons out of sight, reared its ugly head. Talk about bad P.R.  Then management made it worse, egging on demonstrators in a PR blunder of mass proportions. PageOne, the hardest-working show in the blog business, has the full story.

Bad, Meet Worse: I give credit to Tom Jurich for taking on the troubled Willie Williams. He’s going to take some heat, and the i-told-you-so crowd has new ammunition after Williams was caught cruising Broadway with a bag full of pot. But Jurich did the right thing in giving Williams the boot without so much as a meeting after his Wednesday arrest. There was no “Let’s let the courts work it out first,” as is the case with JaJuan Spillman. Williams, who tried to eat the evidence, was already on double-secret probation and knew he was in a one-strike and you’re out situation. Williams was a Jurich project. Spillman, who was charged with DUI and marijuana possession after being involved in an auto accident in January, has managed to get his court business moved to late November. On the surface, it seems, Spillman’s offense is worse, yet he continues to play for the Cards.  But Spillman is  a first-time offender, so maybe he deserves a break. A troubling end (maybe) to one of the worst stretches of football news at U of L.

Hoax on the Hoax Trial — Yesterday morning, the C-J’s Andrew Wolfson reported on the C-J’s Web site that a member of the jury in the Bullitt County/McDonald’s hoax trial had won the $61 million Powerball lottery. It had been known the ticket was sold in Bardstown, and Wolfson reported that the judge in the case, Tom McDonald, announced the news in court. But it turns out the juror was joking, but Wolfson had done with the story based on what he’d heard in court. The whole thing was a joke, probably something others in Bardstown were saying at their workplaces.
While Wolfson was writing a corrected story, which also said the winner had not been announced, at Noon, both WHAS Radio’s Paul Miles and WHAS-TV’s Mark Hebert, working on tips from Bardstown sources, were racing to the local NuKote plant, where the real winners were celebrating. They had the winners on their Noon newscasts. Again, here’s an example of the negative effects of the Internet age, where the race to publish pushes aside the necessity of fact-checking. The egg is on the C-J’s face.

But First, the Weather

Finally, it’s raining.

‘Nole Way — WAVE’s Bob Domine says the rumors that Florida State is recruiting Tom Jurich to become its new athletics director are real, and that the courtship has been going on for four months. Nice work in pulling up video of Jurich interview from July, saying unconvincingly that he wasn’t looking. Before you say no way, remember that in sports, and life, every man has his price. But it is reassuring to U of L fans that Jurich’s twin daughters just committed to play field hockey at U of L. And, despite the whining from the get-a-life crowd, Jurich will NOT leave because a few fans booed the team last week.

Funny how these kinds of stories get started after two losses.

2X Tales — After hearing the story’s tease, I thought Stephan Johnson, on Fox41, was going to tell me how community leader Christopher 2X supports himself. 2X does some valuable community service work, and is a fixture on local TV. He always seems to be there representing crime victims, no matter their race. Johnson got an exclusive interview with 2X, but when he asked 2x how he makes a living, really let him off the hook. The felon-turned-community leader (he’s a reformed drug dealer) said that a group of business leaders came to him and offered financial support in 2005, and that he barely survives. I’ll buy that, but wish Johnson had asked who these people are.

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A Maze of Choices

Everybody knows that Jerry Abramson is far and away the most popular public official in Jefferson County. But quick — who’s number two?

You’d get few arguments against Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, who has a significant political organization around here and a world of appealing choices ahead of him.

Maze got a taste of statewide campaigning during the 2007 primary for Governor as Jonathan Miller’s running mate, and proved he had the pulling power to attract a significant chunk of votes in Jefferson County. He was elected to his third term as Jefferson County Attorney in 2006, so the easy thing for him to do would be to stay put.

But word is that Maze has higher ambitions, and that could land him a 2008 race for the Kentucky Supreme Court seat now occupied by recently appointed justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson. The winner of that special election in the 4th District won’t face re-election again until 2014. Most insiders believe Maze could win that campaign. He might also opt for a seat on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, another winnable race, for the seat vacated by Abramson when she was appointed to the Supreme Court after the death of William McAnulty.

The other spot Maze might covet is some undetermined role in the future administration of Steve Beshear, provided Beshear is elected governor in November — which is becoming a more likely outcome every day. Maze, who helped Beshear win the primary when he and Miller dropped out and endorsed Beshear, could likely command a top Cabinet post with Beshear.

So what will Irv do? We won’t find out until early ’08.

Will Business Support Possibility City?

lou_logo_red.jpgLet’s set aside, for a moment, the arguments in favor of or against the content of the Louisville Branding Campaign, and set a few things straight about the way the whole thing’s being financed. It is, of course, always about the money.

First of all, there’s the approximately $1 million raised thus far that came from Louisville Metro Government, Greater Louisville Inc. and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Much of that money, according to GLI’s Carmen Hickerson, was spent on thousands of hours of research and testing to come up with a theme and ideas for content. She said most of the media buys for TV and radio spots is being done with trade, or money that would have been spent anyway promoting the city. She said about half the campaign’s initial kitty has been spent.

The challenge ahead is to raise the $1.2 million ANNUALLY from the business community to keep the campaign going. Hickerson said corporations are already being asked to contribute. She said the $1.2 million in peanuts compared with what other cities spend promoting themselves, so the amount isn’t unreasonable. The question that will really determine the future to the campaign is this — Are local corporations willing to cough up $1.2 million a year for it?

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Will Smaller C-J Size Matter?

The incredible shrinking Courier-Journal?

Gannett’s VP of Production, Austin Ryan, told Editor & Publisher that the Louisville paper could move to a smaller size in early 2008.

If it happens, the change would be dramatic, according to the story. The new 44-inch size would make each page size 11 inches by 22 inches, meaning the width would be half the length. The national company recently completed a two-year conversion of its 85 newspapers from 52 inch down to 48. The company said it will study individual markets to see which ones make sense for a second size reduction.

Media in the Middle

* Oops, Did it Again. Public officials can’t always avoid cameras, and given the choice between offering up incriminating truth or blatantly lying, they usually opt for the latter. Jefferson County coroner Ron Holmes found himself is just such a position Monday. He may run out of people to fire soon. He let go of one deputy in August, who subsequently sued him. Now he’s fired his chief deputy for speaking to a TV station (WHAS-TV) about his attempts to force employees to contribute to his campaign fund, among other misdeeds.

* Hot Under The Collar – Remember how happy local media members were to see surly Bobby Petrino get out of town? Abrasive is the word most used to describe his relationship with media. The honeymoon with local media seems to have ended for Steve Kragthorpe, who was quite testy when he got a fair question he didn’t like from WAVE’s Bob Domine Monday. Seems Coach K is not into answering questions about his demeanor as compared with the frosty Falcon, who is having some problems of his own these days.

* Honorable Discharge – By resigning from his position as Executive Director of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission immediately after getting a DUI charge Sunday, Christopher Lilly may save himself, and the embattled governor, some embarrassment. It takes the story from an ongoing saga to one that fits in a 24-hour news cycle. You start to wonder where the next bomb is going to drop on Fletcher.