The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

27 March 2006

Dave Lenihan, Condi Rice, St Louis, KTRS, St Louis Cardinals

STILL FIRED

For St. Louis Host, Even Condi Can't Help





With every passing hour, the story of fired KTRS-AM host Dave Lenihan becomes more outrageous and grossly unfair.

After a slip of the tongue on the Cardinals-owned station, the St. Louis radio personality used the word "coon" instead of "coup" in a discussion about Condi Rice.

The latest disturbing details:


--- Missed by the mainstream media: for some time, racist symbols have apparently been featured on the website of another KTRS personality. When confronted by STLMedia's Mike Anderson, however, they were quickly removed:


The St. Louis Cardinals have an employee with a personal website that contained white supremacist imagery. It was here (RR) but the images have been removed since this was posted. He offers this, though, as an excuse:

Where you grew up accounts a lot for how you view the image of the confederate flag. My family sees the flag as a way of missing the old South and how it used to be, meaning we see that time as peaceful, hospitable, and a nice 'romantic' time in history.

Why is that person still employed by the Cards when Dr. Lenihan was dismissed from the 50% Cardinal-owned KTRS for what has been described by most media and civil rights agencies as a "slip of the tongue"? The 'Birds have some 'splainin' to do, dontcha think?


--- Even after a Sunday interview where Rice herself indicated she'd accepted Lenihan's explanation, the fired host still has no hope of returning to his job.

--- According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he's also been suspended from his college teaching position, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

--- In Lenihan's place goes a previously fired KTRS host, the notoriously milquetoast McGraw Milhaven, says the paper. With this move, there's no chance anyone will be offended by anything.

--- While the AP's Rice update was carried on the websites of hundreds of media outlets worldwide, some sanitized the language to avoid "offending" anyone.

Here's how KABC-TV/Los Angeles ran the story:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she has accepted the apology of a disc jockey fired for using a racial slur when talking about her.

Rice told "Fox New Sunday" that everyone says things they shouldn't say or didn't mean to say. But she also says the incident shows that even mature democracies have a way to go in healing racial tensions.

Dave Lenihan of KTRS in St. Louis apologized on the air immediately after making what he said was a slip of the tongue last week.

Lenihan was praising Rice as a potential candidate for NFL commissioner. He says he meant to say that having an African-American in the job would be a "coup" but another word came out.


Carried by WPRI-TV/Providence, here's the other version:


Dave Lenihan of K-T-R-S in St. Louis apologized on the air immediately after making what he said was a slip of the tongue last week.

Lenihan was praising Rice as a potential candidate for N-F-L commissioner. He says he meant to say that having an African-American in the job would be a "coup" but another word came out (coon).


--- In an expanded AP story version, Rice brilliantly put the matter into context:

Rice said Sunday that the incident is evidence that the "birth defect" of slavery infuses even mature democracies with racial tensions that take generations to heal.

Rice added that she hopes the episode inspires Americans to "be a little bit more humble" about the progress of emerging democracies such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.


--- Finally, some area broadcast professionals are wondering out loud whether Lenihan was sacrificed so a troubled station could obtain badly-needed publicity.

Looking horrible: the St. Louis Cardinals, who've so far had no comment on the PR fiasco.

Are they too busy trying to remember why they wanted to own a talk radio station?

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7 Comments:

  • true story - when i was in 6th grade in the cafeteria i called the chicken sandwich a "flicken" sandwich. it was an accident. a slip of the tongue. and i still laugh about it today. but does that mean that i am a bad person?

    people screw up words all the time. the fact that he got fired is absurd.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 27 March, 2006 11:03  

  • Is anyone surprised that radio stations don't want racists on the air, and perhaps get a bit too carried away when someone makes some Freudian slip?

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 27 March, 2006 11:15  

  • wow, liberal - you really got me there...

    what's a "flicken"?

    need to know why I should be self-righteously offended and angry at the concept is all...

    By Blogger TJ, at 27 March, 2006 12:14  

  • He meant to say "boon" not "coup".
    Or he meant to say "coup", but started thinking about saying "boon", and then thought about saying "cool" but backed down and was going to say "kookie", and then almost said "hoot", and settled for whatever he said.

    By Blogger WHT, at 27 March, 2006 22:01  

  • Air America back in Phoenix, April 3. KPHX-1480

    By Blogger pbrauer, at 28 March, 2006 02:44  

  • Why is it that no one wants to highlight Mr. Lenihan's desparate lack of talent as a radio personality when discussing this case? Why was he hired seems to be a more appropriate question for KTRS.

    By Blogger Gravy Crane Durham, at 31 March, 2006 17:25  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2006 18:30  

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