Ed Sherman on WEBIO

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Posted by Government Fromage on January 19, 2011 at 01:47:25:

Webio staffers glad Hernandez received tough sentence
Posted by Ed Sherman on Chicago Business

They've moved on, restarting their careers at other outlets. Yet former staffers of Chicago SportsWebio had a reminder of their past last week.

They learned Friday that a judge sentenced David Hernandez to nearly 17 years in prison. He was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme, bilking investors out of $6.4 million.

Mr. Hernandez used some of that money in 2009 to launch Webio, a sports talk radio station on the Internet. Co-founded with Mike North, the station hired on-air personalities such as Chet Coppock and spent significant money on promotion.

Webio, though, lasted only two months, folding after Mr. Hernandez's arrest in June 2009. Suddenly, staffers who had left previous jobs for Webio were out in the street in a tough marketplace.

When asked about Mr. Hernandez's sentence, Mr. North responded in an e-mail: "It's great news. I slept like a baby when I heard about it."

Mr. North insists he did not know about Mr. Hernandez's background, which included a prison sentence for fraud.

Mr. Coppock didn't mince words. He left WMVP-AM/1000 to co-host the afternoon show for Webio. He now does work for the Blackhawks and podcasts and videos at Chetcoppock.com.

"He's going to rot in prison," Mr. Coppock said. "It couldn't happen to a more miserable SOB."

Jesse Rogers, who left WSCR-AM/670 to become Webio's program director, said he was "thrilled" with the sentence.

"Anybody who treats people like that should be behind bars," Mr. Rogers said. "It'll teach him a lesson and the next guy who's thinking of doing the same thing."

Mr. Rogers said the whole experience still seems a bit surreal.

"The idea that he was involved in something like that was the furthest thing from our minds," he said.

Mr. Rogers eventually landed at WMVP covering the Blackhawks. Others also were able to rebound.

Mr. Rogers said he considers himself fortunate.

"None of us invested any money with him," he said. "We lost our jobs, but jobs can be found again. I feel bad for the people who lost money with him. It was the investors who got screwed."

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