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Limbaugh/Hannity Parent Company Admits Hiring Actors to Call Radio Shows

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Radio Trickery Reported by GW

*Updated Below* - An online leak has emerged, revealing a questionable practice used by the employer of the biggest names in radio.

America's #1 and #2 radio broadcast hosts today and for decades have been Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, whose ratings and profits have dominated once thriving local markets. After industry deregulation paved the way, their boss, Premiere Radio Networks and parent company Clear Channel Communications have used a Wal-Mart model of steamrolling or acquiring small, independent original radio businesses, syndicating everything from robotized genre music stations to talk show hosts selling political snake oil.

But according to an online account, Premiere is hiring actors to fake on-air calls to radio shows who do not divulge the scam. Before being abruptly removed, their website read: 

"Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service... We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we'll get your the right person fast. Unless you request it, you won't hear that same voice again for at least two months, ensuring the authenticity of your programming for avid listeners". 

As reported, once the actor "passed the audition, he would be invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio." In addition, the source was specifically told there would be no on-air disclosure of the fabricated nature of the call. He subsequently landed the job, at $40 per hour and a minimum one hour of work per day. 

This suggests an array of radio clients is broadcasting bogus calls by actors, categorized by their accents or vocal qualities. Next time you hear a "gruff", "clean", "crisp", "deep", or "textured" voice, you might just be hearing a Premiere On Call actor secretively playing a real person. 

But they can never go public because they are gagged from talking about it. Note their iron-clad confidentiality clause, also removed from the site, but cached here as reported:

"Confidentially agreement: By requesting an audition you are also agreeing to keep the details of the audition and the type of work that you may perform confidential. This applies to information acquired while working for Premiere or any of its affiliates. Disclosure to any third party, sharing project information or publicizing what you do (including via social media) may be considered grounds for dismissal or further action."

"I was surprised that it seemed so open. There was really no pretense of covering it up", the actor told the TabletMag.com interviewer. 

Why is this leaker not in trouble? According to the account, Premiere had this prospective employee audition for work by actually calling in live to a show and reading one of their scripts for free. This is worse by a magnitude - offering people a financial incentive to deceive promotes a disturbing moral message to people in need of work, a practice that monetizes and rewards unethical behavior.

Ironically, another clause in the fine print of the one-sided contract for use of their web service makes users sign away their "moral rights" and hypocritically claims to frown upon just this type of fraud and deception, banning activities which:

"[i]mpersonate another person or entity or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity, or adopt a false identity if the purpose of doing so is to mislead, deceive, or defraud another."

Industry watchers claim they would not be surprised to find any number of goofy DJ shows using plants for their various pranks and exploits, but it would be a different story if used for political shows and "astroturfing". A Premiere Radio Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson did not deny the service was being abused, saying instead that it is the stations that are responsible for how the calls are "integrated into programs". 

In 2008, we reported on an industry insider who worked at Milwaukee's WTMJ when they denied air time to sitting U.S. Senator Russ Feingold who was trying to refute slanted claims made to the Wisconsin public. Since no one filed any FCC complaints, the stations routinely turned away callers with opposing views, a former program director at the station revealed

Salon also reported at the height of the 2008 election that the McCain campaign was paying ghost-writers to falsify letters-to-the-editor across the US, claiming that Sarah Palin was a nifty, qualified candidate. 

Such dirty tricks stem from tactics exposed last year in primary documents made public at the Reagan library, calling for manipulation of book distribution and use of taxpayer money to seed foreign and domestic pro-war propaganda. Oliver North and "working groups" like the Heritage Foundation link these 1980s covert astroturfing ops with Hannity and the current Fox mileu.

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(OpEdNews Contributing Editor since October 2006) Inner city schoolteacher from New York, mostly covering media manipulation. I put election/finance reform ahead of all issues but also advocate for fiscal conservatism, ethics in journalism and (more...)
 

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I don't doubt it at all. I used to listen to Mike ... by Davey Jones on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 2:19:02 AM
...then what is to stop a news organization? Reme... by Taylor on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 10:21:34 AM
Taylor and Davey are slightly surprised it would s... by Cliff Carson on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 5:22:46 PM
It is sad, though. But I guess it's kind of refres... by J. Edward Tremlett on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 8:12:50 PM
It's had over 44,000 views-- a real lot for t his ... by Rob Kall on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 10:24:53 PM
click here... by Saman Mohammadi on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 11:04:07 PM
What an honour it is for me to have been mentioned... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 9:39:45 AM
I listen to this conservative talk back radio in N... by Rakesh Krishnan Simha on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:31:35 AM
On NPR, it is obvious that some programs use actor... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 6:34:31 AM
Peter, it's interesting to me you feel pro-Hannity... by Gustav Wynn on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 3:09:11 PM
I better be clear on exactly what I had suspected ... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:56:51 PM
Some might say that it's not really very good prac... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 2:49:58 PM
You're right about Hannity's "inception" tactics b... by Gustav Wynn on Thursday, Mar 10, 2011 at 1:22:02 PM
Good point, Gustav, where you state that you have ... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 10:08:20 AM
is the ratings these lunatics continue to get.... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 7:07:45 AM
before a Limbaugh or Hannity becomes reformed by t... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 8:43:57 AM
and it's all about "arousal." The purpose is to g... by mrk * on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 9:13:58 AM
The best free-speech money can buy... ... by Amanda Lang on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 12:40:21 PM
"And these guys regularly call Beck a conspiracy t... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 2:54:56 PM
I think there's a difference between being urged t... by J. Edward Tremlett on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 3:28:37 PM
Except for the fact that the political talk shows ... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:47:26 PM
They CLAIM they haven't used the actors. I'm sure ... by J. Edward Tremlett on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 5:02:37 PM
There's no evidence whatsoever that this kind of t... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 9:24:04 PM
" But people were given instructions, rotating pho... by J. Edward Tremlett on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 8:03:55 AM
Sorry but I disagree .... I find it pretty distast... by Natalie Oberman on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 11:24:02 PM
"When you're the President, you're supposed to be ... by J. Edward Tremlett on Thursday, Mar 10, 2011 at 7:52:27 AM
I'm not talking about advocating for an agenda, I'... by Natalie Oberman on Thursday, Mar 10, 2011 at 10:48:16 AM
Natalie, which is worse - Obama asking the 55 mill... by Gustav Wynn on Thursday, Mar 10, 2011 at 12:27:53 PM
Natalie, you say that "There's no evidence whatsoe... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Saturday, Mar 12, 2011 at 12:55:09 AM
Oh please. This is yet another tactic of the righ... by Carol Lemieux on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 10:28:39 AM
No, sorry Carol, I'm afraid the "BS" here is the f... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 2:30:13 PM
You are a right-winger--that much of what you say ... by Carol Lemieux on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:37:25 PM
Translation: I'm loath to admit it, but you're ri... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 6:25:26 PM
Natalie, since you are spinning the OFA seminar ca... by Gustav Wynn on Saturday, Mar 12, 2011 at 2:48:53 AM
Yeah, I know. You're just asking questions. Fine... by Natalie Oberman on Saturday, Mar 12, 2011 at 2:52:24 PM
Where was Beck's denial? Premiere said he did not ... by Gustav Wynn on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 1:17:29 PM
Obviously I'm a little protective of conservative ... by Natalie Oberman on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 4:54:32 PM
I think you misunderstand Smith-Mundt, which is de... by Gustav Wynn on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 10:02:59 PM
I feel very safe in assuming that anything posted ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:22:13 PM
You miss my point(s). There has been no use of th... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:39:43 PM
Natalie PleaseDon't defend Brietbart, he faked a s... by Cliff Carson on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 9:11:29 PM
You're welcome to your opinions. However, my poin... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 9:59:08 PM
There was only Premiere On Call's solicitation of ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 8:01:05 AM
No one misses your "points" Natalie. People don't... by Carol Lemieux on Thursday, Mar 10, 2011 at 12:17:02 PM
I'm afraid Mr. Sanchez's point is moot as well, re... by Natalie Oberman on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 8:12:07 PM
Wow! While I've long suspected that many right wi... by Carol Lemieux on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 6:03:27 PM
Rush limbaugh spent four minutes denying using act... by Rob Kall on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 9:23:17 PM
...the gentlemen (sic) protest too much. Mike Mal... by Sheila Samples on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 11:54:39 PM
Sheila, while I am almost certain that Hannity kno... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 10:38:11 AM
at: GordonWatts.com / HealthCareQuestionTooHard.ht... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 10:30:56 AM
Media and truth are permanently divorced. Indy med... by Jay Farrington on Monday, Mar 7, 2011 at 10:10:19 PM
Limbaugh, Hannity, et al are entertainers. Th... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 12:57:23 AM
has taken on the mantle of Joseph McCarthy in init... by John Sanchez Jr. on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 7:46:51 AM
Look at it this way: It at least insures that some... by Perry Logan on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 6:07:55 AM
The funny thing is, this story is coming from all ... by James Hadstate on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 6:52:07 AM
Even with additional fraudulence, how can we reach... by Stephen Pitt on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 1:12:23 PM
I hope to see more. I applaud the choice of the pa... by John Sanchez Jr. on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:06:57 PM
Both radio and TV, the program seems to get the sa... by shirley reese on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 4:53:58 PM
Thank you for citing my news article, Gustav, as o... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 9:30:57 AM
"You can be assured that if the hypocrites who mas... by E. J. N. on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 7:49:01 PM
"Natalie, you say that "There's no evidence whatso... by Natalie Oberman on Saturday, Mar 12, 2011 at 2:17:10 PM
Thx 4 not chewing me apart - I'm glad that conserv... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 7:58:51 AM
I just saw the nuances 2 yr questions...Now, I did... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 8:08:41 AM
Thanks Gordon. I understand how you would have so... by Natalie Oberman on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 5:24:31 PM
Yr welcome -and I trust you read thru my typos abo... by Gordon Wayne Watts on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 6:37:49 AM