The Media Court

Time once again to go through the legal media files. We’ll start with the most recent news…

ROVER AND HOWARD: Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 syndicated morning doggie Rover is mounting his defense over charges related to an arrest by an off-duty Cleveland police officer, after French was launching fireworks late last Independence Day night at a local yacht club.

And Shane French has called another big name in radio to the stand in his upcoming trail. One of the very biggest, in fact.

“Rover’s Morning Glory” moved its home base to Chicago when CBS Radio tapped him as one of the replacements for outgoing host Howard Stern, who moved his act to Sirius Satellite Radio (today’s SiriusXM).

In court filings on Friday, French’s witness list includes Stern.


Generally speaking, Stern has treated the band of “hot talk” morning hosts who followed his success as carriers of a communicable disease.

He has not a single thing nice to say about, say, fellow SiriusXM hosts and former CBS afternoon drivers “Opie and Anthony”, even though they were, and are, on the same corporate roster. He’s generally been quite dismissive about “O&A” over the years.

And though we haven’t heard Howard in some time, we presume that he’s not spending any time talking about Rover…who is probably a gnat buzzing around his head in Howard’s eyes.

That’s why this excellent Cleveland Scene article surprises us. It’s what apparently prompted putting Stern on the witness list.

Warning: some parts of the article are very much Not Safe For Work…and no, not the parts about Rover:

All (Cleveland police officer Steve) Kinas can do is wait but there was a time when he could have made a lot of money off the incident. “Day after the fireworks, I got a call from Howard Stern’s people. They offered my $50,000 if I’d come on the show, talk about what happened with Rover. I couldn’t. They would have suspended me, just like they’ll suspend me for talking to you.”

We don’t know the business practices of Howard Stern’s radio empire in detail.

But we can’t recall any earlier reports that Stern pays people to be on his show. And for that matter, see the gnat comment above about Rover.

We just don’t think Stern spends a lot of time thinking about Rover, or any of the current crop of terrestrial radio “competitors” to his satellite radio show. This is not the era of the infamous Cleveland “funeral”, where an engineer from a competing station (WMMS) cut Stern’s remote broadcast lines way back in 1994.

And we can’t see him reaching into his overstuffed wallet to spend even $50,000 for that topic material, even if $50,000 would be a rounding error in the show’s budget.

We could very much be wrong.

As noted, we haven’t listened to Stern in years. The OMW World Headquarters(tm) had at least one satellite radio in the past, but that was a long time ago.

The Scene article goes in depth with Steve Kinas, the officer who tangled with Rover at a yacht club on Cleveland’s Whiskey Island.

It’s a fascinating read, and Kinas gives his account of the events of early July 5th last year.

He opens up to former Scene staff writer Jim Renner, and the pre-trial picture of Kinas is not exactly a good one. It talks about his past, including a “contentious divorce” that ended up with Kinas’ small yacht being renamed “Anger Managed”.

For his part, Kinas tells Renner that he doesn’t have an anger management problem, just “bad luck”.

Renner reached out to Shane French himself, and Rover provided a statement to the weekly alt-paper, which says in part:

“The allegations of what I said and did that night are preposterous. Almost every aspect of Kinas’ ever-changing account is a lie, and the evidence and eyewitness testimony will prove that. Even worse, we’ll show it’s a pattern that’s been going on for years.

“Let me be clear: I was the victim of a vicious, unprovoked assault that night. I was knocked unconscious by Kinas. I said I was going to file a complaint. The situation I find myself in now is retribution for that, plain and simple.”

This trial is going to garner national attention, particularly if Stern does indeed take the stand in Cleveland. Are the folks at TMZ already checking out flights from Los Angeles to Hopkins on May 20th?

The court filing with French’s witness list, which includes Renner and Scene, can be seen at

RIZZO? NO MORE JAIL TIME: It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict this, of course, but local sports media personality Tony Rizzo will not spend additional time in jail in his domestic violence case.

A plea deal last month reduced charges against the Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” “The Really Big Show” midday star to “persistent disorderly conduct”.

Tribune Fox affiliate WJW/8’s “Fox 8 News” brings us the sentencing outcome, reporting that Medina Municipal Court Judge Dale Chase sentenced Rizzo this week to 30 days in jail. But…:

The judge suspended 27 of the days and gave Rizzo credit for the three days he served after he was arrested in December.

The judge placed Rizzo on probation for two years and ordered him to pay a $250 fine and court costs.

“Fox 8 News”, where Rizzo was the former lead sports anchor and still airs a weekly show these days, reports that their colleague pleaded no contest to the reduced charges.

The charges of domestic violence were reduced after prosecutors say Rizzo’s wife “changed her story” and asked for the charges to be dropped.

And yes, “Fox 8 News” notes that in addition to his radio duties at the Galleria, Rizzo “hosts The Rizzo Show, which airs each Sunday on Fox 8.”

At this point, we assume that’ll be the last time Rizzo’s mugshot will appear on the “Fox 8 News” website…


  1. I saw Mark Nolan on 19ActionNews doing The Buzz and about threw up. What is going on?

  2. We heard about that. Wouldn’t read too much into that…though we are surprised to see him at Reserve Square,

  3. Relating to Stern, Howard mentioned early on in his Sirus/XM phase that he reached out to a number of people regarding slots on the various channels that are and continue to be on that lineup…it resulted in Bubba the Love Sponge being recruited,
    after his various issues with Clear Channel in Florida..

    If you remember, O&A actually occupied Stern’s old studio a few years ago, when they would do one version of their show on ”regular radio” and do ”The Walk”, when they went a few blocks to head to their XM/Sirus gig…

    And if anyone is interested, O&A does a best of podcast on a weekly basis that can be had on iTunes.

  4. Jim Nuznoff says

    Regarding the Rizzo story…..God bless his lawyer for getting the charge ‘reduced’ to misconduct. Big secret is…if you assault someone, you can have the charge expunged after a period. But if you assault a relative (e.g. spouse),YOU LOSE YOUR FEDERAL RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS FOR LIFE. An affront to the 14th amendment, but unfortunately upheld by the Supreme Court.

  5. I was half listening when I heard the Action 19 “News” reader say Nolan was filling in on The Buzz segment for that Chris Van Velvet or Breep or whatever his name is because he was “On assignment”. However I noticed the next day he was anchoring the news……I guess his assignment was getting a good night’s rest.

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