CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Check out 700, WLW-AM's 'Babe Page,' which is either a temporary stunt to drive traffic to the Clear Channel unit's Website -- or a desperation move to use sex as a vehicle to produce clicks from Internet visitors for advertisers. Another possibility: Somebody with the instincts of Larry Flynt has become a top executive.
[UPDATE: 9:33 PM edt -- An extremely observant and regular Bellwether commenter LargeBill -- of the suburban Cincinnati blog LargeBill Pontificates-- is reporting here tonight that 1100, WTAM-AM in Cleveland also has a babe page with the same photos. This seems to be a clue that the sexy stuff is not WLW's creation, but a corporate undertaking. Good eye, LargeBill.]
This is all taking place in the backyard of Citizens for Community Values, the organization led by Phil Burress with the stated goal of keeping smut purveyors and flesh peddlers at bay. Apparently, the campaign has slipped into low gear while Mr. Burress' troops have been occupied dueling with Sandy Theis and the petition drive to ease restrictions imposed on the strip clubs of Ohio. But why bother with visiting a strip club? There are virtual goodies supplied by a radio station whose parent company employs a bevy of rightwing talkers from Rush Limbaugh on down the line. Some might be tempted to muse the boobs aren't actually behind the microphones. They would be insightful in their musing.
The mercenary question is: Do advertisers have any idea their wares are peddled alongside photos of nearly naked young women displaying everything short of an obscenity charge? Pitches by Ford and Cadillac dealers have been parked among the girls, but the autos seem a bit stodgy among the other items exhibited in WLW's online flesh market. There are ads for car and life insurance. Indeed, who notices a car when a radio station offers an opportunity to see what it calls "wet on the net?"
WLW is a 50,000-watter that carries a line-up of righty talkers. It also is the home of the Reds, a baseball franchise that has long marketed itself as a family-oriented enterprise. Maybe the whole family values thing was just a promotion, a clever phrase dreamed up by some marketing geniuses. The station is tops in the Cincinnati market and can be heard in more than 20 states. It has a history of dreaming up stunts that attract attention. Some suspect they are hoaxes.
Right now, righty talker Bill Cunningham is supposed to be staying out of the studio because he had an on-air altercation with his producer, Bill Dennison. There are many skeptics. In other words, WLW has a history of making up stuff to attract the gullible.
Now it seems to be selling soft-core. Didn't George Harrison write a song about the "Devil's Radio?"