Friday, March 24, 2006

Audio Killed The Radio Star

You've probably heard by now of the saga of the St. Louis talk radio host who was fired Wednesday for using the word "coon" in an on-air discussion about Condoleezza Rice and the possibility she'd become the NFL commissioner.

As the AP report recaps it:
"She's been chancellor of Stanford," [Dave] Lenihan [of KTRS radio] said on the air. "She's got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon. Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that."

He said he had meant to say "coup" instead of the racial slur.
You can hear the audio of the incident here.

While it sounds like a stupid slip of the tongue to me (the guy wasn't doing "shtick" at the time of the incident--he was in the process of talking about how much he admired her), perhaps the radio station would have, after some thought and investigation, felt the need to fire him. That's their prerogative. But the thing it's important for you to understand is that his management didn't fire him because they feel so strongly about the dignity of African-Americans in general and Condoleezza Rice in particular. They fired him because they're weasels.

I've worked in the radio business on and off and in various capacities for over 20 years (including 11 years in St. Louis). I've also worked in other industries, like television, .coms, customer service, newspapers, bars, and who knows what else. And nowhere--nowhere--will you find a bigger pack of weasels than in radio management. They're the bottom of the barrel. The program director of KTRS, the station that fired this guy, was once my boss for a short time. [He left, not I.] Trust me, you're dealing with oily weasels here.

Here's what it's really all about:
Twenty minutes after the utterance, Dorsey went on the air to apologize to Rice and KTRS listeners.

"There can be no excuse for what was said," [KTRS CEO Tim] Dorsey said. "Dave Lenihan has been let go. ... There is enough hate. We certainly are not going to fan those flames."

NAACP chapter president Harold Crumpton commended Dorsey for his swift action.
These guys aren't principled; they're afraid. They were willing to throw their guy under the bus without even talking to him, without even considering whether it could have been a silly mistake, because they're gutless weenies. KTRS' CEO is running to every media outlet in the country talking about how evil this host supposedly is, how he's a hatemonger, and how KTRS doesn't support that kind of thing. Of course, they liked him enough to hire him, but now after one misstatement they evidently know the true darkness that lurks in his heart. Without talking to him or giving him a chance to explain himself. Without even entertaining the bare possibility that it really could have been the embarrassing slip of the tongue it so clearly sounds like.

Mark this: These weaselly radio guys would let somebody call himself "Big Lips McJive" and sing "Mammy" on the air in blackface if A). it would draw ratings, and B). they thought they could get away with it. So don't let them fool you. Dave Lenihan wasn't fired because the management of KTRS is so high-mindedly diversity-friendly. He was fired solely because he failed test B).

Related Tags: , , , ,

No comments: