LOS ANGELES – The following is a statement from the Black Media Alliance on the recent firing of Clear Channel host Dan Sileo after he made racially insensitive remarks on his show Mon. Mar. 12, on Tampa, Florida’s, WDAE 620 AM.
While talking about the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers picking up three free agents — Cortland Finnegan, Vincent Jackson and Jonathan Vilma, all of whom are African-American, Sileo, who is white, said, “If they got those three monkeys, I’m good. I’m ready, man. I’m ready. I want those guys. Those guys are great players.”
Clear Channel’s decision to terminate Dan Sileo over his regrettable “monkey” comment only serves to validate the Black Media Alliance’s (BMA) position and earlier reaction to the chauvinist and xenophobic speech routinely used on Clear Channel stations around the country, including the recent “dumb ass women” quip by KFI 640 AM host Bill Handel.
Handel’s comments were the subject of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” with host Ed Schultz, on Mon. Mar. 12, where Media Matters Sr. Fellow Eric Boehlert accurately stated, “It is what it is. It’s misogyny, it’s sexism and it’s rampant all over talk radio.”
The solution to this problem is clear. More diversity, both on air and behind the scenes along with meaningful changes in the corporate culture, is desperately needed.
Yet Clear Channel remains seemingly tone-deaf on diversifying its talk radio stations around the country with minorities, particularly blacks, and women, beyond their urban music and liberal talk formats. Until our position is embraced, however, it’s just a matter of time before another Dan Sileo, Bill Handel “dumb ass women” quip, John and Ken “crack ho” slur, or Rush Limbaugh calling another woman yet again a “slut” and a “prostitute” is heard over the public airwaves. And the inevitable result will be Clear Channel station’s FCC broadcast licenses being put in jeopardy as national and local advertisers continue to run even further away.
The BMA will not be distracted by attacks on our credibility, nor be deterred from shining a spotlight on the lack of diversity that stubbornly persists. We want to engage in serious conversation and find common ground with Clear Channel. We want to believe that ultimately they will do the right thing.
Unfortunately, Clear Channel is still NOT LISTENING! As a result, there continues to be these instances “at the “scene of the crime” where the media giant is left suspending and defending the indefensible where their hosts are concerned.