Las Vegas Review Journal/Friday, April 22, 1993

Radio host ordered to halt on-air criticism of Wynn

By Ken White


Steve Wynn flexed his legal muscle on another front this week.

The target: talk show host and former City Councilman Steve Miller.

Miller, who has called Wynn a hoodlum on his show broadcast weekdays over KLAV-AM can no longer mention Wynn's name on the air. And neither can any one else on the station because of an order by station owner Dave Wagenvoord. The gag is in response to a letter received Tuesday from Wynn's attorneys.

Wagenvoord said the letter, dated April 13 and signed by attorney L.T. Jones, stated that Wynn "was displeased with what they said were personal attacks by Steve Miller, and threatened to challenge the station's license renewal, which comes up in five years.

Miller says he isn't backing down.

"If this continues, I'm going to file a civil rights action (against Wynn)," Miller said. "He's violating my First Amendment rights. I consider him a coward and a hoodlum, and that's what I've been calling him. I'm very concerned about why Mr. Wynn would be concerned about my program."

Miller who buys the air time for his show, has criticized Wynn for his attempts at getting legalized gambling in Hartford, Conn.

"I want Wynn to invest money here, not take it out of state," Miller said. "That's the thrust of what I'm trying to do."

On Tuesday, Wagenvoord responded to Wynn's attorneys' letter with one of his own.

"I feel the program has a right to address issues involving Mr. Wynn, who in my opinion is a public figure" Wagenvoord wrote. Wynn asked for a chance to respond to Miller's charges, and Miller has offered equal time to Wynn, the letter said.

Wagenvoord also offered air time to Wynn. "Please let me know how much time you consider fair and equitable... In my opinion, Mr. Wynn's political and financial clout can literally put us out of business, so we are agreeing to censor from the hosts' standpoint so Mr. Wynn perhaps will agree to let us stay in business.

"By the way, would your client be interested in buying KLAV radio? As owner and licensee he would have total control over both the host and the callers."

Jones could not be reached for comment on the letter.

Alan Feldman, spokesman for the Mirage, said the station, is "being very smug about the whole thing." He called the letter "meaningless" if Miller continues to attack Wynn.

Wagenvoord said his station "has no ax to grind with Mr. Wynn. I'm not afraid of him, but I'm a realist."

According to Wagenvood who also owns stations in Monterey, Calif., and Hawaii, over the past month his station has received "an awful lot of phone calls from government agencies" about various business matters. He said a man from the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Government regulatory agency overseeing radio and television, made a surprise inspection of the station Friday.

Feldman confirmed that the Mirage has hired an attorney for advice on the FCC, but that the inspection was not instigated by Wynn. The FCC has not been contacted by Wynn's attorney about KLAV, Feldman said.