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Insiders Sept. 23, 2004


Radio days Where's Tommy Smith? The long-time morning show "Outlaw" for Magic 105 FM hasn't made a public peep since his firing July 22 by Clear Channel Communications, the media giant that owns the classic rock station. Now he's peeped. But he'll say only that he's "settled" matters with Clear Channel. End of peeping. Our experts in the broadcast industry speculate what this all might mean. Smith had a long-term contract with many months to run. If he was fired, that might have negated the contract's standard non-compete clause. But Smith has not gone on the air elsewhere since July. If he's not competing, either the clause was enforceable or Smith got paid some amount by Clear Channel to stay off the air for a while to give his replacements time to get established. Smith has long wanted to switch from the naughty talk that served him well to sports talk. We stand by the earlier prediction in these pages that Smith will soon emerge on another local station in a format to his liking. Buy-in planned? It is probably only wishful thinking among detractors that prompts the rampant rumors about Gov. Mike Huckabee's future. Last week, we mentioned the speculation that he'd step down next year, two years early, for a possible Washington job, something like being the Richard Simmons of a second Bush administration. He'd tout fitness, though not anything so radical as a ban on cigarettes in restaurants or soda machines in schools. Lobbies wouldn't like that. Now there's a new variation of the rumor. In it, Huckabee would step down to head a "think tank" based at Ouachita Baptist University, his alma mater. From there, he could make speeches and position himself for a national race in 2008. And who would fund that think tank? Why Win Rockefeller, of course. You know. The lieutenant governor. The guy who'd be governor if a vacancy somehow developed in the top job. Hey, it's just idle talk. You got a better theory? Anything but two more years. On the record Invitations are in the mail for the UALR Law School's Arnold Lecture, which will feature Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The Oct. 1 event in the school's Friday courtroom is a tribute to U.S. circuit judges and brothers, Richard and Morris Arnold. Our questions, not fully answered at press time, concern the policy on recordings of Scalia's remarks. Scalia once demanded a ban on all taping of his speeches, but began allowing audio taping by newspaper reporters after a public embarrassment over the seizure and erasure of journalists' tapes at a Scalia speech in a Mississippi private school. UALR says Scalia has "agreed" to video taping, but only so law students may see the tapes. The "law" school apparently agreed to turn a blind eye to the state Freedom of Information Act by agreeing to limit access to the tape by anyone but students. Questions about taping by others, indeed questions about whether media will even be admitted to the speech, were unresolved at press time, a UALR spokesman said. We couldn't help but wonder what will happen if someone rolls tape under the quaint notion that even a Supreme Court justice may not impose prior restraint on information-gathering in a public facility? Will jackbooted U.S. marshals descend upon this misguided survivor of the era before Bush, Ashcroft and Scalia?

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