HITS Daily Double
"I was a client for these [label] guys. Me hanging out at games or in Miami is no different than what every single politician does on a daily basis."
——Former WKSE-FM PD Dave Universal


In an E-mail Interview with NY Newspaper, Former PD Dave Universal Claims It was all Business As Usual
A key figure in the Eliot Spitzer payola scandal is calling the report "garbage" and himself a "scapegoat." Dave Universal, former Program Director at WKSE-FM 98.5 (Buffalo, NY), was fired in January for what owner Entercom Communications called a conflict of interest. Spitzer released an e-mail from a Sony BMG promo exec stating its dealing with Universal and what it cost (almost $5,000) to get Franz Ferdinand and Good Charlotte on the air:

"Two weeks ago it cost us over $4,000 to get Franz (Ferdinand) on WKSE. That is what the four trips to Miami and hotel cost...At the end of the day (David) Universal added GC (Good Charlotte) and Gretchen Wilson and hit Alex up for another grand and they settled for $750. So almost $5,000 in two weeks for overnight airplay."

But in an e-mail this week to Buffalo News reporter Anthony Violanti and published today in the newspaper, Universal denied that record company gifts influenced what he played and said trips and other items are all part of doing business:

"All I'm going to say is what came out in the Sony report is a bunch of garbage. All three specific things they described are completely inaccurate. I never said, 'Give me this and I'll add that.' We didn't break every ratings record in Kiss 98.5 history by me adding stiff records for gifts. Pending our future lawsuit, I can't get too specific, but apparently I'm so smart that I spent the last 14 years scamming all the billion dollar record labels and my old company was clueless. I went on business trips that led to them (Entercom) making tons of money."

In a phone interview with the paper, Universal complained that his name will appear in upcoming future releases for the investigation.

"The last thing I want . . . is for (people) to see my picture on the front page of the paper and think I did something wrong," Universal added in the e-mail. "I worked my butt off day and night to make Kiss 98.5 special for 17 years because I loved that station and the people I worked with. I was a client for these [label] guys. Me hanging out at games or in Miami is no different than what every single politician does on a daily basis. It was never tit for tat."

Universal also claims that the $10 million Sony settlement won't change the way the major label do business.

"$10 million, tax deductable, to these guys is like 100 dollars to you and me. Making me a scapegoat is the real issue - how they 'write off' their expenses is very easy for them to do. I am shocked that Mr. Spitzer's report was released as if what Sony claims is true."