Atlanta Talk Hosts Rightfully Fired – Bruce’s Thought Of The Day
Those who know me, or have listened to me on different formats, locally and nationally will be stunned if they read this. Is this the same Bruce Jacobs who we know? Or have heard? Yes it is and I say this with a sliver of reservation but if I were in charge of that Atlanta sports radio station (790 The Zone) I would have had no choice but to fire those show hosts for their "bit" on former NFL wide receiver Steve Gleason as well.
In case you missed it, the 3 hosts, Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini, and Chris Dimino decided to try and get some laughs by mocking Gleason. Gleason suffers from ALS and has in some ways publicly fought this fight of which their is no known cure and really no medication to control. Nobody has ever beaten ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The bit wasn't funny, didn't accidentally go off track, and was about as distasteful a radio bit as you can imagine.
As a radio host for over 20 years I have said things, done bits, pushed the envelope and I make no apologies. Making fun in any way of those suffering from a disease is not funny, can't be funny, has no hope of being funny, and is a train wreck to start. I am almost astonished that these radio pro's, working on a quality station that also carries the Atlanta Falcons would think in any way this would be a hoot.
As I have said I have done "pushing the edge" radio and still like to push when a push is needed or wanted. Making fun of a dying man? NOT FUNNY!
I can't even imagine yet try to, sitting in a room, prepping for a show, and the idea pops into someone's head on the team that imitating Gleason using an animated voice (Gleason is unable to eat, speak, or talk at this point) is entertaining. It wasn't and it got them all fired.
I feel bad for any host who loses his or her job. I get to some degree that the public, at least a portion of it, lives for getting people fired. It makes me want to scream that so many get so offended, so easily. For a broadcaster it is a perilous world. Push the envelope but be careful. A tough combination. The public in my opinion is most at fault. America has become a cesspool of political correctness. The public as a whole have become whiney and wimpy in my view. Offended by the littlest comment like somehow their world is completely destroyed and they are so offended it ruins their day, or so many claim. I fight the battle every day and belittle the easily " offended" and "appalled." But this bit-this thing went soooooo far over anyone's line and my line is waaaay out there.
I can't imagine that 1 of these 3 fella's didn't stop, think, and say something like you know this isn't kosher. This isn't funny. This bit went so far that if reports are true they even went so far as to predict that Gleason might die next week.
I guess what bothers me, in light of my comments of the uptight public is that hosts just handing that segment of society a justifiable card to play kinda irks me as a broadcaster. This bit doesn't offend me, this bit makes me think these guys aren't suited for this buisiness.
Again I know about diarrhea of the mouth. I know plenty about going off track. I don't know going into a bit to be mean and then taking that level of mean to a level that is ridiculous. I defended Don Imus. That in my view was only about that exact thing, going off track. No chance that a Don Imus when planning the show logged down those comments he said. But these fella's at the Zone planned this bit to be mean from the start.
However I also believe in making amends and redemption. After Shapiro, Dimino, and Cellini go under ground for a bit if they were sincere in their apologies, and they seemed sincere, I would hire them if they had good track records of ratings and other factors. They broke no laws. They spoke stupid and got a just penalty. It wouldn't be just to throw them away should they choose to stay in radio. We all make mistakes. For a broadcaster those "mistakes" are usually putting foot in mouth. It shouldn't mean the termination of a person's career.