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Slander suit filed against local radio personality

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A lawsuit against a popular Greensboro morning radio personality alleges a woman was slandered in the broadcast when the host told a listener she had a criminal record and should be considered dangerous.

Verla Englert, a resident of Forsyth County, alleges in a lawsuit filed April 13 in Forsyth County Superior Court that Jack Murphy, host of ‘“The Murphy in the Morning Show,’” slandered her in an April 2005 broadcast when he said she ‘“had been convicted eight times for assault with a deadly weapon and that a caller should be concerned about Verla Englert because she is obviously dangerous,’” according to the lawsuit.

‘“The Murphy in the Morning Show’” airs on weekday mornings on WKZL 107.5 FM, a local station owned by Greensboro-based Dick Broadcasting. The broadcasting company is named as a co-defendant in the case. Murphy and a representative of the station said they would have no comment on the case when reached by e-mail and telephone on April 28.

The lawsuit filed by Englert, who is represented by the Kennedy & Kennedy law firm in Winston-Salem, claims that Murphy’s statements amounted to ‘“intentional infliction of emotional distress,’” and that the broadcast ‘“impeached’” her ‘“in her business and profession.’”

It’s not that Englert feels entirely singled out, the lawsuit suggests.

The lawsuit describes Murphy as a ‘“shock jock’” and alleges ‘“that the broadcast of false, defamatory and deleterious words and the reckless conduct by the defendants concerning the plaintiff were part of a pattern, plan and scheme to injure, harm, humiliate and degrade individuals on the radio.’”

‘“The Murphy in the Morning Show’” competes in the Piedmont Triad for listeners during the prized morning drive-time segment against news oriented programming such as National Public Radio’s ‘“Morning Edition’” on affiliate stations from Winston-Salem and Durham, and ‘“Brad & Britt in the Morning,’” which broadcasts from Burlington on WZTK 101.1 FM, a talk-oriented station owned by Raleigh-based Curtis Media Group.

Other morning programs on the FM band that provide listeners in the Triad with more humorous fare include ‘“Two Guys Named Chris,’” aired on another Dick Broadcasting station, WKRR 92 FM; the ‘“Tom Joyner Morning Show,’” aired on Entercom Communications Corp.’s WQMG 97.1. FM and ‘“The John Boy and Billy Big Show,’” aired on Clear Channel Broadcasting’s WVBZ 100.3 FM.

Englert’s lawsuit states that she mailed a letter to Murphy and Dick Broadcasting outlining her complaint and asking for a retraction after the broadcast, but that none was forthcoming.

An offender search at on the NC Department of Corrections indicates that Englert has not been sentenced to any state prison time or sentenced to probation by the state correction system.

Englert’s lawyers will depose Murphy in Greensboro on June 1, a court document states.

– Jordan Green

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