VOL. 125 | NO. 48 | Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wharton Declines Forbes Radio Rebuttal
By Tom Wilemon
Mayor A C Wharton Jr., who asked Memphians to write letters to Forbes after the magazine ranked the city No. 3 on its “America’s Most Miserable Cities” index, is declining an invitation to talk with the publication’s editor on a Saturday radio broadcast.
Robert Staub, host of “The Small Biz Show” on KWAM 990 Memphis, extended the invitation early Tuesday morning after scheduling Carl Levin, the managing editor of Forbes, for an interview to be broadcast at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“I’m surprised,” Staub said. “This is an opportunity to Forbes that the mayor was asking for. I guess my question is, who does want to stand up for the city? Who does want to talk to Forbes?”
Kerry J. Hayes, a special assistant to the mayor, said Wharton had too many other commitments.
“You can just say that we are citing other obligations that are keeping us from being able to take part,” Hayes said.
He did not specify what those obligations are.
“I actually don’t have the calendar in front of me,” Hayes said. “I just know that Saturday is already booked. It’s too late notice, and (Wharton is) just not going to be able to make it happen.”
Staub said he’s disappointed with Wharton’s decision and hopes the mayor will reconsider. In the meantime, the radio host is looking to book someone else to represent Memphis.
“(Wharton) did not even suggest a substitute to come and appear on behalf of the city, which he has done on numerous occasions,” Staub said. “What that tells me is there is really no interest.”
Staub contacted Levin when Steve Forbes, the magazine’s editor-in-chief and president of Forbes, appeared on “The Small Biz Show” earlier this year to promote his book, “Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between Great Leaders of the Ancient World and Today.” Forbes is also a former Republican presidential candidate.
After the magazine ranked Memphis on its index, Wharton wrote a letter to Steve Forbes and stated, “Memphis is not a miserable city, not by any definition, not by any metric.” He also urged others to write.