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WABC Radio cancels Rudy Giuliani’s show over election-related misinformation

The former New York mayor repeatedly violated a written policy concerning election-related comments.

The former New York mayor repeatedly violated a written policy concerning election-related comments.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appears at a political event in 2019. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appears at a political event in 2019. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has lost his daily radio talk show after being suspended by the broadcaster over policy violations.

The suspension came after Giuliani received repeated warnings to not offer unsubstantiated views about the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election. Giuliani is one of several figures who painted the outcome of the election as fraudulent, and has been criminally charged in two states for allegedly helping then-incumbent Donald Trump overturn certain election results. Trump lost the election to then-Senator Joe Biden.

Giuliani’s show was one of several hosted by right-of-center personalities as part of a strategy to develop WABC Radio into a conservative powerhouse under the guidance of the station’s current owner, Red Apple Media founder John Catsimatidis.

But WABC is not an outlet where anything goes, Catsimatidis said in a phone interview with the New York Times on Friday, and Giuliani received repeated warnings not to flout election-related conspiracy theories on the station’s airwaves.

He did so, anyway. On Thursday, he opened his show with a rant about having his New York state law license cancelled. When he began speaking about the outcome of the 2020 election, engineers at WABC cut off his microphone and replaced his show with a news bulletin before airing alternative programming.

“We’re not going to talk about fallacies of the November 2020 election,” Catsimatidis told the Times. “We warned him once, we warned him twice..I get a text from him this morning that he refuses not to talk about it — so, he left me no option. I suspended him.”

The policy Guilani is said to have violated was not informal: Red Apple Media circulated a written memo to all employees earlier this year urging broadcasters not to air election-related falsehoods.

“Red Apple Media is committed to uniting the nation during this unprecedented and tumultuous time,” the memo said. “To that end, Red Apple Media is directing all of its on-air talent to not state, suggest or imply that the election results are not valid or that the election is not over.

WABC is one of Giuliani’s primary sources of income. He does not earn a salary from his work at the station, but instead shares in the revenue from advertisements aired in the time slot of his show. It was not clear if that arrangement still holds true now that Giuliani’s show has been cancelled.

The station has not done away with him entirely, leaving open the possibility that he could continue as an on-air contributor or online blogger, or serve in some other capacity.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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