And you thought the Sandra Tsing Loh episode was fading away.
KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour has apparently had enough of being bashed by Loh over their much-publicized split. Seymour today released a statement titled "Setting the Record Straight in the Matter of Sandra Tsing Loh" and along with it the text of an apologetic letter Loh sent after broadcasting the F-word on the air.
Seymour writes: "The discrepancy between the content and tone of this letter and the subsequent attacks on KCRW has yet to be explained. I guess Sandra figured that attacking KCRW gets far more attention than a 3-minute weekly commentary. Unfortunately this came at the expense of the station that had given her a home on the air for six years."
The text of Loh's letter, new comments from Loh trashing Seymour, a letter from Will Lewis denouncing the L.A. Press Club, and numerous links and updates follow:
First, Loh's letter released by KCRW:
March 1st, 2004
1900 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
I just want to say, once again, how deeply horrified I am about what occurred Sunday morning. While uttering an expletive over the air was the very opposite of my intention, I should not have placed another person in a "gatekeeper" capacity for my work. I genuinely hope KCRW will not suffer lasting negative effects due to my foolish and ill-time mistake.
I also wish to extend my apologies to (the recording engineer)...He is an excellent engineer, who I thoughtlessly--and unfairly--put in a professionally precarious situation. The responsibility for this disaster is mine, not his. While I myself have been fired, I hope that (the recording engineer) will be able to continue in his otherwise wonderfully productive career at KCRW.
On a personal note, I do remain extremely grateful for the long tenure I've had with you, and the valuable opportunities that have come my way because of my affiliation with your great station. I continue to wish you all the very best.
Sandra Tsing Loh
Seymour's statement says that the station did not release the letter earlier "in deference to [Loh's] personal situation." But she says that Loh's hiring of a public relations firm and "misleading statements about her own culpability" prompted today's release.
Earlier Tuesday: KPCC gives air slot to Loh
Seymour's statement gets no play in the story on the L.A. Times website.
1a) In Wednesday's Times story, Loh fires back at Seymour:
"It repeats the station's habit of lying to the media and underscores, on a personal level, how frightening it is for individuals to take Ruth Seymour on for battle."
She added, "This character assassination business — that KCRW is suggesting that I am some publicity-mad opportunist, when in fact Ruth started it by firing me and telling the world, including subscribers via e-mail, that my airing of the expletive was intentional — is unfortunately typical of KCRW, which I think of as a reign of terror."
Also, KPCC chief Bill Davis says that, unlike at KCRW, Loh's scripts will be OK'd by an editor before airing. But he says she will get plenty of air time, morning and afternoons, and unlike some radio industry vets (who have excoriated Loh at LARadio.com) says she acted appropriately by recording the f-word and asking an editor to bleep it.
1b) Loh's most vocal media champion, Cathy Seipp, is scheduled to be on Dennis Miller's CNBC show Wednesday night.
2) KCRW staffer Will Lewis, a member of the L.A. Press Club, sent an open letter to the club denouncing its rallying around Loh. He is listed as a management and marketing consultant on the KCRW website; he was general manager of Pacifica station KPFK during the incident he mentions at the end, and while Seymour was at the station. The letter follows:
Shame on the Los Angeles Press Club for allowing itself to be used by Cathy Seipp, Allan Mayer and Sandra Tsing Loh in the name of freedom of the press.
Here are the facts: On Tues., March 16th, the Club posted an invitation for "A Party For the Loh Life"..."because it is the responsibility of a free press to take an anti-idiotarian stand against fear-of-the FCC hysteria..." The party on the 18th was sponsored by The L.A. Press Club.
Sandra Tsing Loh and free speech? Give me a break. Sandra's program was originally cancelled because of an obscenity she taped and did not have removed before broadcast. The word is covered by a 70-year old provision in the United States Federal Code that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Love it or hate it, it's the law of the land. Sandra was not censored; the commentary was broadcast twice on KCRW. Sandra in a letter to the station took full responsibility for the incident.
By the time of the party, all of the participants knew that she had been offered her program back at KCRW, but that she had refused. The purpose of the party was to promote Sandra and bash KCRW.
The Los Angeles Press Club has a distinguished history of defending freedom of the press. In the 70's it defended reporters like the late Bill Farr who served time for 46 days in a county jail rather than reveal which lawyer violated a gag order during the Charles Manson murder trial. It offered a forum for myself when I refused to turn over original SLA and Weather Underground communiques and tapes to the FBI and the LAPD.
It's sad to see the Press Club demean itself over a word that most of its members cannot say on their radio or TV stations and cannot or will not print in their publications.
LA Press Club Member