BrietbartNews.com reported late yesterday (9/26) that Westwood One syndicated talker Michael Savage was “abruptly pulled off the air on Monday afternoon after launching into a segment on Hillary Clinton’s delicate health.” The report goes on to say that WABC/New York — Savage’s Cumulus Media-owned local affiliate in the Big Apple — pulled The Savage Nation from it’s usual afternoon time slot, with longtime WABC local duo Curtis & Kuby taking over live as the presidential debate action at nearby Hofstra University was kicking into high gear.
The Breitbart story also reported that Savage’s live network feed was “suddenly cut off to many of his other affiliates and a replay of an earlier episode was substituted.” Breitbart reporter Aaron Klein said Savage characterized the alleged pulling of his broadcast as, “Pure sabotage.” We’d call that a pretty serious accusation by a host aimed at his network, so that’s why NTS MediaOnline Today reached out to Bart Tessler, longtime EVP News & Talk Programming for Westwood One, who gave us the not-quite-so-sensational real story behind the whole brouhaha with this simple clarification. “WABC decided to go local during afternoon drive yesterday to cover the presidential debate at Hofstra, a local as well as a national story. Affiliates are permitted to pre-empt programming on certain occasions when there’s a big local story. That’s the whole deal. All other affiliates carried The Savage Nation yesterday as usual.”