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February 17, 2019 8:40 pm  #1


Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

With all those sponsored money shows that air every week on a slew of Ontario Corus and Bell Media stations, you had to guess this was going to happen eventually. Several listeners have launched a huge lawsuit against both media giants, alleging they allowed fraud artists appearing under phony names and a phony company to solicit business as part of those weekly “Ask The Expert" shows.
 
The CBC’s Go Public tells the story much better than I can, but the programs in question aired on CFPL London, CHML Hamilton and CKTB St. Catharines over several years. The suit alleges neither radio owner did enough to vet the so-called “financial experts” and thus they played a part in letting listeners get scammed.
 
Among the eye opening quotes from the linked article:
 
“By the time the so-called experts were pulled off the air, Canadian investors were out more than $6 million, according to a class-action lawsuit filed against the fraudsters, their companies and Corus Entertainment...”
  
"The program was paid advertising," said Corus spokesperson Rishma Govani, "and was clearly identified as such."
 
"Each broadcast included clear disclaimers before, after and during the program, advising listeners that it was paid-advertising programming and that the opinions expressed during the program were TAD's alone, and not those of Corus or its affiliates."
 
…Two investors Go Public spoke with say they never heard the disclaimers on any of the programs they heard.”
 
This is a really interesting story, as these kind of financial expert shows proliferate as radio groups look for increased sources of income. Could a successful lawsuit mean we’ll be hearing a lot less of these kinds of things on the weekends? And how much could Corus and Bell be on the hook for if the plaintiffs win? I guess we'll have to ask the experts. 

Investors say 'fake' experts on local radio shows conned them out of millions

 

February 17, 2019 9:32 pm  #2


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

I have heard these shows on CFPL 980 and always found the disclaimers to be pretty clear.

 

February 18, 2019 7:34 am  #3


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

If not for the 11:00 a.m. Money Show, Sundays on 1010 CFRB, my savings would still be under the mattress

 

February 18, 2019 9:05 am  #4


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

Worth pointing out that although Iain Grant's shows on 'RB are also called "Ask The Experts," they are in no way implicated in this lawsuit or accused of doing anything improper.

     Thread Starter
 

February 18, 2019 1:33 pm  #5


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

I would agree with you. I thought this was a big deal when I first saw the story and I still do. Lawyers from both sides will likely pick apart the question of how much responsibility the provider has when it comes to a messenger delivering an allegedly phony pitch using their airwaves.

The stations will say they employed a disclaimer and that it's up to the consumer to know who they're dealing with. 

The plaintiffs will respond that if not for the radio stations allowing a supposedly phony message out, their clients would never have heard of the alleged con artists and they would still be whole.

The article claims one phone call to the proper authorities could have easily given the AM outlets that info. But they apparently never made the effort.

I'm no lawyer so my opinion is meaningless. But I'd have to say if my airwaves carried a phony message - even with a warning that listeners may or may not have heard if they tuned in at a particular time - I'd have to do my homework to be sure they are who they say they are before I let them on, especially when they're soliciting money. 

It will be interesting to see what a judge decides, although class action lawsuits are notoriously tough to prove and Corus and Bell are armed with a lot of high priced lawyers with big budgets - an advantage those suing definitely don't have.

     Thread Starter
 

February 18, 2019 1:33 pm  #6


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

Kudos to the CBC for breaking this story.   Yo won’t hear about it on Corus or Bell radio stations and you won’t see it on CTV or Global or Pat Foran’s Consumer Alert. This is a flagrant misuse of public airwaves. Corus and Bell did not do their due diligence in checking out these hucksters,  Both Corus and Bell should have issued public apologies when this was first discovered.
I called CHML and CKTB and left voice mails voicing my concern about their silence on this matter.  I spoke to
GNR 640’s news line.....James was not aware of it but said that he would look into it.  NT 1010 did not want to
talk about it. I know that most people here hate the weekend shilling shows on talk radio but the fact  remains that a number of listeners have been defrauded of millions of dollars because of a few bad apples. I feel that the members of this forum who care about the media’s integrity should demand some accountability and apologies from both Corus and Bell.  Also, can we trust their other advertisers such as the realtor, men’s clothing guy, weight loss co. and windows company?

 

February 18, 2019 2:24 pm  #7


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

@ RA.... you used the word "phony" a couple of times above... if you substituted "fraudulent" would that clarify the broadcasters' potential liability?
 

 

February 18, 2019 2:57 pm  #8


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

Am I being a bit callous here??  Listeners being asked to send all their cash to some "radio" church and have all their prayers answered is different??  Due diligence.

 

February 18, 2019 3:30 pm  #9


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

pinto wrote:

Am I being a bit callous here??  Listeners being asked to send all their cash to some "radio" church and have all their prayers answered is different??  Due diligence.

"Our station has standards. It's a member of the CBSC. Our station has an intelligent and sophisticated listenership, and despite what Janice says, that's NOT just a positioning statement."
 

 

February 19, 2019 9:21 am  #10


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

LocalNewsGuy wrote:

...I've listened to a lot of religious programming, and nobody does the kind of "send us your money and all your prayers will be answered" type of schtick anymore...

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/wU10/peter-popoff-ministries-miracle-spring-water
 

 

February 19, 2019 10:45 am  #11


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

If so, it didn't work.


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

February 19, 2019 12:10 pm  #12


Re: Corus/Bell Radio Sued For “Expert” Fraudsters’ Sponsored Shows

LocalNewsGuy wrote:

Strange...I didn't see anyone in that spot asking anyone for money. It was clear that it was offered for free.
 

Giving your name, address and other personal information is not buying it for "free". The avalanche of begging for dollars is just around the corner. It will start with the "free miracle water", but it sure won't end there. I hope the mail carrier is in good shape.