Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tom's Bad Day

Those following the news in Northeast Ohio on Tuesday learned that over 100 animals were removed from a private Akron animal rescue shelter.

The shelter known as "Heaven Can Wait" is run by a woman named Heather Nagel, who is listed in various media reports as a candidate for an Akron City Council at-large seat.

It's not difficult to find coverage of Tuesday's events at the home on Vesper Street, in Akron's North Hill neighborhood.

Just as a sampling, here are links to articles by NBC affiliate WKYC/3 on its, the Akron Beacon Journal on its, and Rubber City Radio Group's WAKR/1590 through its AkronNewsNow site.

Though we really have no intention of "covering the story" when it comes to Tuesday's actions - it's out of our league, of course, and we know nothing about the topic or any interest in covering it - this part of the last linked story brings us here:

Editor's note: the director of Heaven Can Wait is Heather Nagel; she is the daughter of WNIR-FM talk show host Tom Erickson. Nagel is also an announced candidate for Akron City Council.

That's no secret to anyone, either in the media locally or outside of it.

Nagel put herself in the public eye, in part, by appearing a number of times on her father's show to talk about her concerns with the Summit County animal control department...among them, the county hiring an inexperienced young woman to run the department - solely for apparent political reasons. We also recall seeing her quoted in several Beacon Journal articles about that same story.

As far as we know, the father-daughter combo never made their relationship secret, as we've heard her on the show while Erickson gushed with pride of his daughter's activism on behalf of animals.

But apparently, the mention of his relationship with Nagel in the AkronNewsNow article rubbed the WNIR evening talk host the wrong way.

"Editor" in ANN parlance is Rubber City VP/Information Media and OMW reader Ed Esposito, who offered this up on his Facebook a status update we found earlier this evening:

Got a VERY angry call today from a local celeb, not happy his name is linked to story involving his daughter -- who had been featured on his call-in program and he's talked about as a political candidate. Fair or foul to mention the familial relationship?

Well, it would appear to us that if the AkronNewsNow story that had mentioned their relationship was about a win in Nagel's city council race...that "angry call" would probably have not been made by the talk show host, unless he was upset that the time slot for his show wasn't mentioned.

Esposito's note on the linked story also says that her father's show isn't the only involvement Nagel's shelter has with local media:

Rubber City Radio Group, the parent company of AkronNewsNow, WAKR-AM, WONE-FM and WQMX-FM also works with the Heaven Can Wait group to help find new homes for displaced or abandoned animals in the care of the group both on-air and online through the website.

At this early Wednesday morning writing, the PetPalsNow site continues to list "Heaven Can Wait" on a long list of local and regional pet shelters, and still features adoptable pets from the shelter. A dog named "Earle" is featured on the list, presumably under the temporary care of the Summit County Humane Society after what happened Tuesday.

Some of the commenters on Ed Esposito's Facebook update noted that a lot more people would be tuned into Erickson's evening WNIR show later that night, and that he'd come out swinging.

He didn't.

The Erickson show on Tuesday started with a typical mix of his usual topics - from local politics to space news, with a poll question about how people used post offices in the wake of the potential closure of four locations in Akron, but nothing about the commotion involving Ms. Nagel's animal shelter.

(For the record, we heard WNIR news anchor Phil Ferguson report the story more than once earlier that afternoon...though without mention of Ms. Nagel's connection to the station. We also don't know if Rubber City's WAKR mentioned the connection on-air, or just online...we didn't hear it mentioned in a couple of the station's radio reports we heard.)

It wasn't until a few minutes into the show when the topic came up, in a very roundabout way, thanks to a caller. And since we were running WNIR's web streaming audio, and can record audio easily on the Official OMW Laptop, we have a transcript:

FEMALE CALLER: When I got home, from work, I turned on the news, the 6 o'clock news.

ERICKSON: Can't talk about it. I want to, believe me I want to, but I can't.

FEMALE CALLER: OK, that's, that's fine.

ERICKSON: I, I can't. Uh, I, I will, uh, I have a few things to say, but I'm not gonna say 'em. Ummm...I just can't do it.

FEMALE CALLER: OK, that's fine. I just didn't know whether I heard or whether I didn't. You know how, when you come in, you're doing this that or the other, and you're sort of listening, but you're not listening.

ERICKSON: Yeah. It hasn't been a very good day...and uh, you know.

FEMALE CALLER: Well, we'll just leave it there. You wanna know about...

ERICKSON (talking over): Thank you...thank you.

No doubt, the WNIR evening host wanted to talk about it...but his daughter's legal representation likely advised both Erickson and Nagel to keep a lid on the public comments for now. We can't imagine any other reason that Erickson would not talk about it, and say those things he says he wants to say.

And we'd love to have heard them. As near as we can tell, Erickson has no even indirect involvement with his daughter's shelter...aside from providing publicity and help to get animals to loving homes.

He does feature adoptable pets on the "Heaven Can Wait" site, which also features video with Ms. Nagel on Time Warner Cable's "Helping Hands" show, seen on the cable outlet's "NEON" local programming channel...


74WIXYgrad said...

The RCRG involvment with the Heaven Can Wait shelter was mentioned by Chris Keppler during the 6:30am newscast on WQMX this morning.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think that Ms. Nagle's attorney put the gag in Ericsson's mouth. There is no criminal charges filed in this case.

Since this story first broke, the conspiracy theorists have run amock saying that this is retaliation from a certain politician who survived a recall by a significant margin.

It is no secret that Ericcson has been rallying against said politician. I am sure that he wants to join the conspiracy bandwagon.

I think that the gag that is in Ericsson's mouth was placed there by the powers to be at Broadcast Park. They know that this is a hot issue, and they don't want one of their stars getting in the middle of the fight, especially if it has such a personal connection to said star.

One final note. It seems ironic when Ericsson called out Ed Esposito for mentioning the connection when just a couple of weeks ago, Ericsson called out Eric Mansfield on the air for a $20 contribution to the anti-recall effort (the contribution was actually made by the other side of the joint checking account, Mansfield's wife Lisa, who is a candidate for the Akron School Board). Ericsson never bothered to call Mansfield to discuss the story, he just ran with it.

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