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slides: Infamous Talk Radio Controversies

Monday, December 16, 2013


"Talk radio host John DePetro is currently in the hot seat for calling female union supporters "whores" -- which is not the first time he has found himself in a precarious position.

In addition to DePetro, other radio hosts -- and elected officials -- have been at the center of controversies involving talk radio.

See examples of infamous talk radio controversies BELOW.


Related Slideshow: Infamous Talk Radio Controversies

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Arbitron Ratings Scandal

In 2008, radio host John DePetro found himself in the midst of a ratings controversy.  The Boston Herald reported,

The briefly stellar ratings of controversy-dogged-talkmeister John DePetro’s Providence radio show tanked yesterday after a whiff of scandal forced Arbitron to reissue its spring survey of listener-dial habits.

In the 6 to 10 a.m. weekday slot occupied by the self-proclaimed “Independent Man” on WPRO-AM (630), “the reissue ranked WPRO at number nine” among valued 25- to 54-year-old listeners, “down from the number four rank in the original release,” program manager Paul Giammarco and station market manager Barbara Haynes announced in a joint statement.

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Candidate Name-Calling

DePetro was fired from Boston radio station WRKO in 2006 for calling then-gubernatorial Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian." 

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Office Scuffle

The Providence Journal's Mike Stanton reported on an altercation in 2009 between DePetro and radio host Ron St. Pierre.

DePetro said he was hit -- and scratched -- in the eye with a balled up paper with a staple thrown at him by St. Pierre.  

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Buddy's Return - to Radio


After five years in prison for racketeering conspiracy from 2002 to 2007, former Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci returned to the public eye with a radio show on WPRO.  

While controversial, Cianci's continued popularity has people wondering if Buddy might just make another run for Mayor in 2014.  

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Chafee's Talk Radio Ban

Upon taking office in 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that he would not appear on talk radio shows and barred state employees in agencies and departments that report to him from doing the same during work hours.  

Governor Chafee is among the elected officials who have signed the "For Our Daughters" pledge.  

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Dennis and Callahan

WEEI sports radio hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were suspended in 2003 when they referred to an escaped gorilla as a "Metco gorilla" waiting for a bus to Lexington -- with Metco being bus program that buses inner-city students to suburban schools.

Boston's http://www.wcvb.com/Radio-Station-Gorilla-Remarks-Spur-Advertiser-Concerns/-/9849586/11281756/-/5lg3o9z/-/index.html#ixzz2nbPAwzd2" target="_blank">WCVB reported that advertisers Dunkin' Donuts and Blue Cross pulled back station support in light of the incident.  

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Severin Suspended

WTKK's Jay Severin was fired for making comments about sleeping with female employees over the years.  

Radio Ink reported on Greater Media's reaction to the incident.  

"Greater Media today ended its relationship with Jay Severin. Our company has always encouraged a free and open dialogue on a variety of issues and topics, and we will continue to be guided by that principle. But we also demand that our on-air talent maintain an appropriate level of civility, and adhere to a standard that respects our listeners and the public at large.

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Imus' Racial Remarks

in 2007, nationally syndicated talk show host Don Imus called Rutgers women's basketball players "nappy-headed hos."  Imus was suspended -- then fired -- by CBS Radio.  

Five years later, Imus was back on the national radio circuit, as reported by New Jersey.com

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Rush Limbaugh

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy; his latest remarks prompted the Democratic National Committee to call on Republican leaders to boycott the Daily Caller, which defended Limbaugh's remarks in an article entitled, "Liberals want to stop men from checking out women." 


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Talk radio in Rhode Island is trash radio !

Comment #1 by Mark St. Pierre on 2013 12 16

The Left is clearly feeling the heat from Talk Radio. Remember all those impotent threats vis-à-vis, every community would have monitors to tape and take notes on all talk hosts and their guests, in effort to stop Talk Radio? Wasn't that part of the regime's stated goal when first it was inflicted upon our country?

What happened? Well, the poltroons who were supposed to do that prefer watching springer and the view to taping and taking notes on concepts they cannot grasp. (Hate speech alert here!)

They'd rather stuff their pie-holes with Foam 'n' Snakzz and watch Pin the Tail on the Village Idiot, than try to fathom what a conservative talk host might be saying.

So that Stasi-esque stooge program failed.

So now it's this? Nice try.

You succeed in getting DePetro off the air, you take bread from his mouth, violate his rights and take away something he clearly loves to do? Be careful what you wish for.

From personal experience, the short-sighted, thin-skinned, control freaks with much to hide who censor free speech wind up with a sleep-disordered citizen-reporter who relishes the idea of hanging upside down all night, gathering facts to alert his fellow citizens to society's termites.

Be careful what you wish for. Best to wish Mr. DePetro well.

Take man or woman off the air, and they'll instantly take to the Net both, with words spoken and written, to expose the compromised geeks who did them dirty, as warning to their fellow Americans.

Comment #2 by paul zecchino on 2013 12 16

Shortly after Clinton took office, the undisputed leader of the conservative movement and the de facto leader of the GOP Rush Limbaugh had a syndicated TV show. Rush asked his audience, "did you know there's a White House dog?" For his punch line, Rush showed a photo of a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton.

It takes a special breed of jerk to go after an under-age child . To expose her to ridicule for her looks, at what is easily the most awkward stage of adolescence, is completely indefensible. But the Right-Wing-Rubes proudly defended Saint Limbaugh's vile comments

Happy holidays to all...Sammy in Arizona

Comment #3 by Sammy Arizona on 2013 12 16

Name calling by a radio host is unacceptable. Imus calling kids "hos" and DePetro calling a group of women "whores" is just wrong.

What DePetro said about Ms. Ross may have been tactless, but essentially correct.

As far as Sammy Arizona's Rush Limbaugh incident that was also wrong calling kids names.

Comment #4 by Wuggly Ump on 2013 12 18

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