X-Rated No More


March 30, 2003

by A.J. Carter

When you’re in the public relations business, it doesn’t hurt to earn a few brownie points with media outlets that might return the favor when you need it.

Mark Grossman just racked up a bushelful over at WLIE. Thanks to the head of Grossman Strategies in Bohemia, the radio station now has possession of the Internet address www.wlie.com and won’t have to provide any more explanations — and apologies — to listeners who went looking for news about Long Island and instead got an Asian pornography site.

As Grossman tells the story, he found the porn when, out of curiosity, he went to the site after the radio station changed its format (to all-talk) and call letters in September. In addition to the unwanted content, he found a notice offering the address for sale. Grossman offered the Korean businessman who owned the address $200. The demand was $5,000, less than the $15,000 to $20,000 the businessman had been asking from WLIE/540 AM, but still more than the station was willing to pay.

Months went by. Then Grossman got an e-mail a couple of weeks ago dropping the price to $500. Grossman spoke with WLIE president Stuart Henry, got the go-ahead and made a counteroffer of $400, which was accepted. The transfer took place last Monday, and the radio station, which had been using the more cumbersome www.IslandTalk540.com address, had the new address working late last week.

“I truly feel good about doing this,” Grossman said, calling what he did “a piece of public goodwill from a public relations standpoint…. The best thing a PR guy could do is a favor for a radio station.”

And, yes, Henry is truly appreciative and knows he might be called upon some day to return the favor. “Mark’s a friend of the station, he’ s a friend of mine,” Henry said. “Somewhere down the line, I’ll find an opportunity to pay him back.”