Former host Amy Kiley filed an EEOC complaint against her former employer WABE-FM.
Photo: WABE
Photo: WABE

Radio briefs: Max Blau’s Amy Kiley story, award for Jamie Dupree 2.0, Frank Ski honored

Originally posted Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Amy Kiley’s departure from 90.1/WABE in June of 2018 as local afternoon host during “All Things Considered,” was more complicated than appeared at the time it happened, according to a Columbia Journalism Review story written by Max Blau

When I asked Public Broadcasting Atlanta president Wonya Lucas about Kiley’s departure after a board meeting on August 5, 2018, Lucas told me they were simply seeking someone with more experience and producing capabilities for the afternoon hosting role. (Jim Burruss took over a few months later.)

But according to Blau’s story, Kiley filed a gender and age discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which Blau procured. 

In her complaint, Kiley said management forced her to “lower the pitch of her voice on air” because it didn’t align with the “public radio expectation that hosts talk naturally and not artificially change their voices.” The story reviews many of her then boss John Haas’ complaints about her. In an employee evaluation, he wrote her voice “lacks authority,” according to a listener survey. He also didn’t like her work ethic or how she responded to critiques.

She complained to human resources, saying his issues were based on age and gender. She was let go in June, 2018 and her stories were scrubbed off the WABE website. (Archive.org saved her bio and some of her stories.)

WABE told the EEOC the complaints lacked merit and that he merely wanted her to “vary her vocal range,” Blau wrote. 

A week after I had spoken with Lucas in August 2018, Kiley’s former boss Haas was moved from news director to a new job as director of cross platform/multimedia content strategy at almost the same salary, according to Blau’s story. He received that bit of info via a Freedom of Information Act request. (The news director position remains open 10 months later.)

Kiley is now a senior producer for rival Georgia Public Broadcasting’s 9 a.m. show “On Second Thought” but is no longer on air

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The Radio Television Digital News Association has given WSB's "Jamie Dupree 2.0" the 2019 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation. 

The RTDNA award is “designed to award legacy radio or television news organizations that innovate their product to enhance the quality of journalism and the audience's understanding of news.” 

Dupree’s vocal computer program, which allows the Washington D.C. correspondent to be heard on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB, is now a year old. 

His normal speaking voice, rendered largely silent by a rare disorder in 2016, remains an enigma, but he has been able to tweak the computer voice over time to make it sound more natural.

Scotland-based tech company CereProc, which develops text-to-speech technology, was able to take a database of his past recordings and make it so he can “vocalize” his scripts. 

This is WSB's first national Murrow award in 12 years, and the third major award this year for this program, including one from the Atlanta Press Club, also for innovation. 

<<RELATED: Jamie Dupree discusses “2.0” at its one-year mark

WSB and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group.

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V-103 host Frank Ski at The Palm, one of his favorite restaurants in Atlanta.
Photo: Ligaya Figueras

V-103’s Morning Culture host Frank Ski has won a Living Legends Award.

Steve Hegwood, entrepreneur and radio executive who owns Streetz 94.5, has also taken home a Living Legends Award. 

They will both be honored October 4 at a reception in Los Angeles

The Living Legends Foundation, founded in 1991, honors minority radio trailblazers. 

“The board of directors is proud to continue its tradition of recognizing the greatest in the music and record industries,” said Living Legends Foundation chairman David C. Linton in announcing the event. “We continue to raise the bar and celebrate the unsung heroes of our industry who have helped to lay the foundation for black music, black artists and black executives of the 20th and 21st century. We remain steadfast in our efforts to raise much-needed funds to assist the less fortunate among us.”

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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