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April 6, 2005


Ketchum CEO Ray Kotcher, commenting on the contract the firm had with broadcaster Armstrong Williams to promote the "No Child Left Behind" Act, said that Williams discussed NCLB "with other media outlets on his own initiative."

The contract, however, specifically says:

Ketchum's contract

"Mr. Williams shall utilize his long term working relationship with America's Black Forum, where he appears as a guest commentator, to encourage the producers to periodically address the NCLB Act (67 million viewers; reach 87% of urban market)."

America's Black Forum banned Williams from future appearances on the show after the contract was revealed by USA Today in January.

Ketchum's deal with Williams, in which he promised to "regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," sparked heavy media coverage and has resulted in at least five government agencies investigating Ketchum.

Kotcher has only answered written questions for publication from PRW.

It was mentioned prominently in a New York Times feature on PR Feb. 13 headlined "Spin Frenzy" and was also discussed at an "Ethics Summit" hosted by PRSA March 22.

Kotcher's remarks were made in written form to the April 4 PR Week in response to questions from PRW.

Attempts to reach Kotcher today by this website were unsuccessful.

Kotcher told PRW that "There is no indication that it was ever the intent of Ketchum or any of our people to mislead anyone. It is also our understanding that in addition to speaking on his own show, Williams discussed NCLB on the record with other media outlets on his own initiative before and during the contract. Ketchum did not arrange any or these interviews of appearances."

Ketchum's PRSA Members from 82 to 28

Kotcher was asked via a staffer today about the decline in Ketchum PRSA members from 82 listed in the Blue Book in 2001 to 28 listed in 2004, three years later.

Only 17 of the Ketchum staffers listed in 2001 are still on the Ketchum roster of members of PRSA, an attrition rate of about 80%.

Eleven of the PRSA members listed in 2004 were not on the 2001 list.

Kotcher was asked if the 65 employees who are no longer on the list either quit PRSA or left Ketchum.
Phone calls to a sampling of those not on the 2004 list were made. None could be reached because they were no longer at Ketchum.

Ketchum PRSA members who were on the 2001 list but not on the 2004 list are as follows:

Domenick Argento
Amy Pederson
Ruben Aguilar
Kathy Baum
Kristine Bernhardt
K'Lynn Bierbower
Daniel Bradfield
Robert Butter
Canice Casas
Jennifer Clemens
Carol Cotton
Brigid Darroch
Enid Doggett
Kathryn Doherty
Tama Donaldson
Sherry Ellison
Whitney Erte
Heather Fabian
Chris Finnegan
Michelle Ford
David Gallagher
Aurora Gonzalez

Michelle Grossman Jennifer Grunstad
Jaymie Gustafson
Kimberly Ann Gutowski
Michael Hatcliffe
Kanata Herring
John Higgins
Elizabeth Hutter
Denise Hyater
Kelly Johnson
Anne Kirby
Bob Korch
Cindy Kuhn
Polly Lagana
Jennifer Little
Lori Lukus
Dana Mark,
Monica Marshall
Amanda Marx
Erin McClafferty
Susan Melia
Melissa Murphy
Pamela Nix
Naomi Novak
Gretel Perera
Courtney Perry
Joseph Priest
Lynn Reno
Judith Rich
Jenny Rising
Reginald Rowe
David Rubinger
Robert Salmon
Mark Schannon
Jane Shivers
Sinikka Sinks
Alison Tashima,
Mark Undercoffler
Sonya Weakley
Lawrence Werner
Karen Lynn Woessner
Heather Zimmerman

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