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Radio Host Offers Pageant Apology

May 2, 2001

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ A Philadelphia radio talk show host who said the Miss America contest was fixed has agreed to settle a slander suit by apologizing on the air, pageant officials said Wednesday.

The Miss America Organization sued after WIP-AM’s Howard Eskin told listeners Aug. 22 that the competition was ``fixed,″ the judging was ``phony″ and ``they already know who’s going to win before they get into the weekend.″ Eskin later said he was joking and that he didn’t think anyone would take his comments seriously.

The pageant’s lawsuit against Eskin and WIP owner Infinity Broadcasting Corp. said the comments damaged the pageant’s reputation and could hurt its ability to raise scholarship money.

Under the settlement, Eskin will apologize three times on the air, according to pageant chief executive Robert M. Renneisen Jr. WIP attorney Steven Hildebrandt and a WIP executive would not confirm that. But Hildebrant said Wednesday: ``We were glad to be able to settle it.″

A copy of the apology, provided by the pageant, reads in part:

``I regret having made those comments, which are untrue, and I apologize for doing so. I intended those comments to be a joke and I did not have any facts to support them. I do not know of any reason to question the honesty and integrity of the judging of the Miss America Pageant.″

In addition, Infinity Broadcasting has agreed to provide air time on several of its stations around the country to the Miss America Organization, Renneisen said.


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