Broker loses radio show after plugging new board

Broker says local association complained to station

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A Jackson, Miss., real estate broker has been fired from a local radio station after advertising an independent real estate board and multiple listing service on his talk radio program.

The broker, Kim Wade, interviewed Larry Mayall, on his show at WJNT NEWSTALK 1180 AM in Jackson on Oct. 12. Mayall founded the independent Mid-South Real Estate Board (MSREB) and MLS in August after a nearly yearlong dispute with a local Realtor association, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

Wade is a member of the independent board, which covers Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. Mayall is a broker at Memphis-based brokerage First National Realty, and this week Wade joined First National’s new Jackson office as its designated broker.

Wade alleges that, as a result of his interview advertising a competing real estate board and MLS, radio station execs informed him that the Jackson Association of Realtors (JAR) threatened an advertising boycott.

Wade said that the morning after the interview with Mayall aired, the station’s executives told him of the association’s objections and asked him not interview Mayall again.

"I was told not to do any more (interviews with Mayall) because the association of Realtors didn’t like it. I told them I had already contracted to do a 60-second commercial (for MSREB)," Wade said.

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Wade said he agreed not to do anymore interviews with Mayall, but that he was not told to cancel the commercial. The live commercial aired that evening and the next morning the station’s operations manager, Stan Carter, left him a voicemail telling him his show had been canceled because the commercial was "over the top," Wade said.

Carter declined to comment on the show’s cancellation. "It was a business decision that we cannot discuss," Carter said. And officials at the Jackson Association of Realtors also declined to comment for this story.

Wade had hosted The Kim Wade Show, a conservative talk radio show, for the last nine years. The show aired on weekdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Mayall and Wade shared the $250 cost of the hourlong paid interview with Mayall. According to Wade, he announced his upcoming interview with Mayall on the show three times before it aired, including that it would be paid.

Wade said he never mentioned JAR or Realtors during the interview. In the first half, they promoted the new independent board and in the second half, they talked about recruiting agents to the new First National office, Wade said.

Mayall agreed that, though he made sure to mention that he himself was a Realtor, he and Wade did not discuss the practices of Realtor associations either in general or in particular during the broadcast.

"It seems that any approach to competitive markets is verboten when it comes to Realtor organizations," Mayall said. "I am not a crusader, but I find attempts to exercise control regarding free markets by any interest a little concerning. Competition I fully understand. Influence to control I do not understand."

Carter declined to provide Inman News with a transcript or audio recording of the show.

Wade said he did not mention JAR in his broadcast, though the station’s executives objected to his use of his show to wage what they perceived as a "personal vendetta" against the association.

Wade has been in a months-long dispute with JAR over a separate matter. On June 15, 2009, Wade left his former brokerage, Prudential Ann Prewitt Realty, to found his own brokerage, Kim Wade Real Estate.

According to papers filed with the Mississippi Real Estate Commission, Wade had a 30-day grace period to report his status change to JAR and during that time still had all the "privileges and obligations" of membership.

In March 2010, the commission took up a complaint against Wade from a former client who said Wade had misrepresented himself as a member of the JAR multiple listing service on a listing agreement on July 9, 2009.

In his original complaint, the client said Wade "passed himself off as a Realtor and member of Jackson Realty Association when he was not." In testimony during a commission hearing, JAR CEO Jo Usry stated that she told the client that Wade was neither a member of JAR nor a member of the MLS.

At the hearing, Usry clarified that she meant Wade was a member of neither in November, when she spoke to the client. Wade was a Realtor at the time he signed a listing agreement with the complainant in July, she said, but he had not submitted a separate application for membership in the JAR MLS and was therefore not a member of the MLS.

The commission suspended Wade’s real estate license for 90 days on July 23, 2010, though the suspension was held in abeyance after the 45th day. Wade said he is appealing the decision with the Circuit Court of Hinds County, Miss., based on his belief that the hearing’s transcript had been partially redacted.

In addition, Wade said he plans to sue the association, alleging that his reputation has been damaged.

The association has "some explaining to do," he said. Wade added that he does not plan to sue the radio station, though he may call on executives there to testify in his lawsuit against the association, he said.

In a press release announcing the show’s cancellation, Wade said objections from the association had "grown more pronounced after recent radio broadcasts highlighted what he believed were inefficiencies in the delivery of real estate services."

Before his show’s cancellation, Wade said he had been in talks with another local radio station, WYAB 103.9 FM in nearby Madison, Miss., to take over a time slot currently held by the Dr. Laura program, which will be discontinued at the end of the year. He said he will start there in January, and his show will air every weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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