Thursday, August 31, 2006

Q92 Digging Out of Hole Over Controversial Bit

Canton market top 40 WZKL/92.5 "Q92" is apparently saying "uncle" after strong reaction to a bit by evening personality "Igor".

The Canton Repository reports that the Alliance-based station has officially apologized for a regular bit called "Name that Tune with Mongoloid Mike". The Repository's Melissa Griffy Seeton reports that the contest "invited people to sing a song as if they have mental retardation and listeners tried to guess the song to win a prize." The Akron Beacon Journal's Mary Kay Quinn also has a story in today's paper.

According to the Repository, Igor's first response was - among other things - to blame people outside the Q92 listening area for stirring up the pot.

But it quickly became clear that much of the negative response was from hundreds of Stark County residents, as members of the local Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities board mobilized to flood the station with complaints over the past few days.

As a result, MRDD officials got an official apology call from Q92 general manager Don Peterson III, a statement of apology by programmer John Stewart, and a pledge from Igor to kill the segment.

In an on-air statement Wednesday, Igor noted that it wasn't his "intention to hurt anybody" with the bit:

“I try to do an entertaining show every night and didn’t realize that maybe some people would take offense to this. ... It’s been pointed out to me that this isn’t a proper forum for such behavior, so, and actually I do know where you’re coming from. I have a cousin who has Down syndrome, so I can relate to those who’ve made complaints about it.”

And the station has posted its apology on the Q92 website (warning, CAPS LOCK ahead):

TODAY'S HIT MUSIC Q92 WOULD LIKE TO FORMALLY APOLOGIZE FOR ANY HARM THE ON-AIR STAFF HAS CAUSED BY AIRING A SHORT BIT CALLED "MONGALOID MIKE". IT WAS NOT OUR INTENT TO OFFEND ANYONE, BUT TO MERELY ENTERTAIN AS WE TRY TO DO 24 HOURS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK. IT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT TO US THAT THIS IS NOT THE PROPER FORUM FOR SUCH BEHAIVOR AND WE SINCERELY APOLOGIZE. THIS BIT WILL NO LONGER BE ON Q92, AND WE'LL TAKE THE FEELINGS OF OTHER INTO CONSIDERATION, BEFORE AIRING OUR COMEDY IN THE FUTURE.

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is fortunate, in that we have no family members who are so affected.

But one of our best friends in this world is the adoptive mother of a developmentally disabled 16 year-old boy. We've spent a lot of time with her and with her son, and over that time, we also became somewhat sensitive to stuff like this. Maybe we're "too sensitive"...we don't know. We're sure that some will consider this incident "political correctness run amok". Knowing this woman and her son, it's hard for us to laugh about this.

We don't really know Igor. We suspect he's a reader of OMW, and everything we've heard about him tells us he seems to be a "good guy". We hope he takes this all to heart...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Igor has become an Ego-maniac, for one. Insiders would like to change his name to Egor.

Anonymous said...

Another demonstration of small market mentality. When is it EVER acceptable to make fun of someone with a disability? I've not experienced anyone with a disability, but common sense would warrant that such a bit would be offensive... wait... I said "common sense"-- never mind.

Anonymous said...

What does market size have to do with anything? There's crap in NYC, Chicago, and LA, too. I agree that Igor should have know better: the only people you can joke about or make fun of anymore are middle-aged, white, southern (West Virginia or Alabama work best) fathers, right? Throw in a toothless or cousin' luvvin' comment (or maybe..just maybe something to do with having sex with animals) and you've got the only comic gold allowed by law anymore!

keep me anonymous this time said...

Reminds me of a time when someone made a crack about the retarded at a college radio station where I worked. I literally shoved him into a locker. This was over three decades ago. What saddens me today is the reference to "retarded" as "stupid." Given the exceptional children and s I have known, some now with their Lord, they may have been slow, but not stupid.

Anonymous said...

Another Howard Stern imitator wannabe.

Anonymous said...

What was interesting was how much time was devoted to this on Q92's morning show Wednesday morning..Stewart was trying to do damage control..and DeLuca wasted an entire quarter hour helping him dig another hole to climb out of..

Whoever buys the Alliance circus has a real job ahead of them..

Anonymous said...

WHOEVER DOES BUY THE CIRCUS IF IT'S EVER SOLD I WOULD FIRE IGOR,BUT WHO KNOWS CC JUST MIGHT HIRE HIM LOOK WHO THEY HAVE RIGHT NOW. Triv,a slob on TAM,That Moron on KISS-FM THE BIGOT AND MAYBE IGOR,WOW SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF

Anonymous said...

Fire THE BUM IGOR,on FOX8 said his heart wasn't in the on air apology and he said people outside the market were trying to get him fired.Now he has a relative who has down syndrome but yet for 7 mos.he had this stupid name that tune. I HOPE SHEETZ AND THE OTHER ADVERTISERS BOYCOTT AND PULL THERE MONEY FROM 92.3 GET RID OF THAT JERK.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe there is a person at WZKL who feels bad about the bit. The fact is it was covered on Cleveland TV, Akron and Canton newspapers. This was exactly everything they had hoped for.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BAD PRESS!!

I'm not saying it was planned, as I don't suppose either DP3 or JS1 have enough of the creative juices to preplan anything,it just sorta fell in their laps.

Thr crap Deluca doies in the morning is far worse, this just happened to get a little ink.

Wonder who tipped off the press?

Anonymous said...

I'm in Cleveland, and just now hearing about this thanks to OMW, which makes this, a non-story, for something so controversial!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if anyone has had the forsight to send this to the FCC. I think they would show some interest.

Mike Dane said...

First: I happen to know Igor and he
is a nice guy.
Second this is shtick aimed at the
younger people. Kind of like Stern and
O&A. Is it my cup of tea? No but I
also don't subscribe to the politically correst BS either. Oh my heaven forbid we should offend anyone.
Baloney!
Third: If you're going to WHINE (and that's what most of you are doing) at least be man enough to put your name on it instead of hiding behind "anonymous".

Mike Dane

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah

VODood said...

As a programmer, and air talent, I believe that one cannot please all parties all the time. A CHR night, like an active/mainstream rock, push boundaries.

In this overt politically correct world, which makes me wanna puke, it's difficult to do ANYTHING w/o someone's panties getting in a bunch.

"Resue Me" has had a "retard" on all season, and not always shown in a positve light. I haven't heard one word about it.

Is it controversial? Yes. Should Igor or Stewart have done it? Perhaps not. Either way...as long as diary keepers get the call letters right, it's a win.

Johnny Morgan said...

Re: FCC interest.

What interest would they show? Doesn't violate any regulations, since indecency only applies to sexual or excretory activities or functions.

The most this would do, vis-a-vis, the FCC, is to be part of the station's "file" for review at renewal time (which probably already happened--anyone know? I'm too lazy to go look right now).

The FCC does not regulate non-indecent/obscene speech.