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Rollye James 2008
|Show||The Rollye James Show|
|Station(s)||online at rollye.net|
|Time slot||7–9 p.m. Pacific|
Rochelle "Rollye" James is an American radio talk show host. She hosted The Rollye James Show nationally and on international shortwave on WWCR from 2000 to 2011. Rollye revived her show, broadcasting weeknights 10pm – midnight, via live stream and podcast on June 19, 2013. She is also the author of "What Am I Doing Here? (when everything I want is somewhere else)", a motivational book punctuated with numerous historical radio anecdotes published by Nickajack Press. Rollye James was also a guest host on Coast to Coast AM on Friday and Monday nights for several months in 2000, which helped increase the audience for her own show.
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Among her greatest pet peeves is the government continually capitalizing on the emotion of a situation in order to entice Americans to willingly give up civil liberties. Examples include her repeated reminder that the Patriot Act was not written on September 12 (suspending talk of whether government participated in the September 11, 2001 attacks, she claims it is indisputable that they capitalized on it with the legislation written long before it), the battle cry of "It's For The Children" (as a weapon to instigate everything from smoking bans to internet censorship), and what she refers to as the "stop me from being stupid laws" which range from mandating seat belt use to prohibiting prostitution and drug use. Similarly, she refers to proposed legislation for term limits on politicians, as the "stop me before I vote again laws".
James often focuses on unfairness and injustice. She is heated about her belief that rules and laws must be upheld and applied uniformly, if they are to exist at all. She often uses the war on drugs to explain selective enforcement. Among several recurring themes are James' opinion of the blatant unfairness of Family Court (She regularly details outrageous abuses of non-custodial parents by a system which according to her is anything but "for the children"), the overreaching attitude of Child Protective Services ("The guideline should be, leave the kids with the parent unless you have reason to suspect they'll be dead by morning"), the meaning of the 2nd Amendment ("without it we won't have the other ten, or anything else resembling liberty, something our forefathers knew well"), and her frustration over the apathy of Americans which has enabled the government to circumvent the constitution. She regularly urges listeners to contact their representatives over various issues. She was instrumental in defeating the 2007 amnesty bill but warns her audience that it was a battle won with a war to go, as she implores them to stay involved.
Many listeners find the most interesting facet of the show being James willingness to tackle most any issue a caller might raise. It's likely that instead of politics, a given listen to the program will produce a discussion about the history of Top 40 radio, or James' passion for obscure soul music, which are two categories where she is a recognized expert.
Income from the program is derived primarily from live endorsement commercials. James says she will not promote any product in which she does not fully believe "which explains why I'm not rich" she quips. In addition to James' approval, sponsors are chosen who can measure results. James' ability to deliver live copy is widely touted. The show routinely outperforms much larger venues, delivering what James terms "cash register ratings", a euphemism for actual sales totals, which attract sponsors such as Vermont Teddy Bear who generally buy larger venues.
James worked at 590 KLBJ (AM) in Austin, Texas from January to October 1996. At the time, KLBJ was owned by the LBJ Holding Company, chaired by Luci Baines Johnson, whose father Lyndon B. Johnson had become U.S. president from the assassination of John F. Kennedy. On October 15, 1996, a caller to James' afternoon radio show mentioned a bumper sticker that read "Lee Harvey Oswald, where are you when we need you?" James' response was, "You know, unless that bullet passes through Al Gore first, I think we're in deeper trouble." Within an hour, in response to the first exchange, another person called into the show, saying "That's the same thing we were hearing right before the Kennedy assassination." and "With the kooks around nowadays, anything could happen." James replied with "I really don't think that I'm going to be able to cause anybody to take out Bill Clinton. But if I can, I hope their aim is good and I hope that bullet passes through Al Gore first. And if you want a trifecta, take Hillary, too." She also suggested that a caller should be a target as well.
The United States Secret Service investigated the incident. The station at first told the Secret Service that there were no tapes of the show, but later provided the tapes. Afterwards, Secret Service agent Shawn Campbell said that "criminal prosecution would not be appropriate" but that "It was improper and it was inappropriate and I think it went over the line of what we should do as a broadcaster, even if it wasn't against the law."
The comments upset Luci Baines Johnson and her mother, former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. At the request of the Johnsons, the station's general manager suspended James and ordered her to apologize; after she made an on-air apology, but refused to guarantee to management and the Johnsons that she wouldn't make similar statements in the future, the station terminated James' employment on October 25. The general manager told the media, "We've had some disagreement in the show direction and that is primarily the reason." and "This was one in a series of events, but it's not the sole reason we ended the show." He also told Radio World, for a December 11, 1996 article, that James was terminated because the station thought her show "was going to be a little more down the middle and not necessarily mean or vitriolic". On November 1, the station sent a lunch invitation to its advertisers with "Ding Dong! The ... is gone!" with a picture of James on a broomstick in the middle of the sentence, followed by "Miss Rollye has taken her leave" and "The Woman and Week from Hell is behind us". When James requested payment for the remainder of her contract, the station refused, saying that she was the one who had breached the contract terms.
James and her company, Mediatrix, sued for breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel, and negligence in Travis County district court. She was represented by Steve Gibbins and Republican state representative Terry Keel. At the 1998 trial, Lady Bird Johnson and Luci Baines Johnson sat in the audience. The main points of James' case was that the management not knew about, hired her for, and encouraged the type of commentary that she had used on the air, but then fired her, denied payment under the remainder of her contract, and made disparaging statements about her in order to justify the firing. James claimed that, to get the job at KLBJ, she had submitted an audition tape in which she said she regretted that Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti hadn't been assassinated; that she had discussed, with the same station manager that fired her, the differences between her politics and that of the Johnson family; and that she was hired anyway, since the station management and the Johnsons "knew precisely what they were going to get" according to James, and the general manager said to her at hiring that, in reference to her and Rush Limbaugh, "Luci doesn't care how you make us money, as long as you don't care who she contributes it to". James' side also brought up KLBJ's own ad campaigns for her show; the ads highlighted, among other things, a suggestion that welfare recipients be shot. James also testified that she was told, by the program director and general manager, to erase the tapes of the October 15 episode in question, but that she responded that erasing the tapes might be obstruction of justice.
The jury in the case ruled in favor of James, awarding $170,000 from lost pay from her contract cancellation, and $535,000 for libel. A judge set aside the $535,000 libel award in July 1998, but left the breach of contact claim intact. An appeal was filed in Third Circuit state court of appeals, but the parties settled in October 2008: James and her company received $250,000 and agreed not to pursue the case further.
The Rollie James show was on 850 KOA weeknights 9:00 til midnight from 1987 to 1991.
- Kelley, Thomas B. (1999). "J. Case Name: Rochelle James and Mediatrix, Inc. v. The LBJ Holding Company, f/k/a The LBJ Co.". Survey of Recent Libel/Privacy Jury Trials and Identification of Common Factors (PDF). LDRC/ANPA/NAB Libel Defense Symposium. pp. 52–59. Retrieved 2013-12-12. Case was Rochelle James and Mediatrix, Inc. v. The LBJ Holding Company, f/k/a The LBJ Co., District Court of Travis County, 98th Judicial Circuit, case no. 97-08099, filed May 26, 1998. Dismissed from Texas Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, in October 1998.
- "Nobody Stumps Rollye James" Ken Hoffman, The Houston Chronicle, Saturday December 2, 1989
- "Music Moves Her & Moves Her & Moves Her..." Richard Acello, San Diego Daily Transcript, Tuesday February 14, 1995
- Wired 2006 "The Wired winner for the best bumper music was The Rollye James Show. James a radio host... is a prodigy at R&B and top 40 oldies."
- "Editors Choice Awards 2005" Philadelphia City Paper, "Best non-native keeper of Philadelphia music history: Rollye James"
- "The Dual-use Concept" Doug Hatch, Catalogsuccess.com November 1, 2003[unreliable source?][verification needed]
- Barrett, Don. "Where Are They Now?". Los Angeles Radio People. Thousand Oaks, California. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- Smith, Evan (July 1998). "Radio Daze". Texas Monthly. Austin, Texas.
- Taylor, Rachel (September 1998). Brill's Content. Missing or empty
|title=(help) Quoted in Barrett, Don (September 3, 1998). "Archives, September 1998". Los Angeles Radio People. Thousand Oaks, California.
- King, Michael; Lewis, Frank (June 18–25, 1998). "Past Imperfect". Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "Radio Show Canceled After Host Jokes About Clinton Assassination". Associated Press. Oct 25, 1996. A version also published as "Jokes kill radio show". Lodi News-Sentinel (17887). Lodi, California. October 23, 1996. p. 16. A version also published as "Host's assassination jokes get radio program cancelled". The Register-Guard. 130 (3). Eugene, Oregon: Guard Publishing Company. October 26, 1996. p. 9A.
- Nichols, Lee (June 12, 1998). "A Niche of One's Own". The Austin Chronicle. Austin, Texas. Retrieved 2013-12-11.