The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 November 2006

John DePetro Suspension, WRKO Boston


WRKO'S DePetro Fired Over Lesbian Comment

*** Exclusive update: DePetro fired ***
*** Scroll down for major Al Franken updates ***

WRKO / Boston host John DePetro is at it again, earning yet another suspension from the Bay State talker, according to numerous media reports this morning.

This time, he was abruptly yanked off the air yesterday after calling Green - Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian".

From the Boston Herald:

WRKO talk jock John DePetro is back in the hot seat and fighting for his job after calling gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a “fat lesbian” on his radio show yesterday.

Sources say Julie Kahn, vice president and New England market manager for Entercom, owner of WRKO-AM (680) and WEEI-AM (850), is “furious.”

DePetro was pulled off the air today and has been ordered to a meeting at the station.

The latest on-air insult comes nearly four months after DePetro was suspended for two days and ordered to apologize for calling former Turnpike chief Matt Amorello a “fag” on the air.

During yesterday’s show, DePetro called Ross - who is openly gay - a “fat lesbian” while expressing annoyance at the Green-Rainbow Party candidate during Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate. During the TV debate, Ross repeatedly insisted that she and independent candidate Christy Mihos were being ignored by the major party candidates.

DePetro, hired by WRKO in 2004, did not return a call for comment. Ross called DePetro’s comments “offensive.”

In my latest Inside Radio column, we look at the issues behind this fresh flap. Click here to read it.

UPDATE: some media outlets are refusing to include DePetro's actual comment in their reports.

Meanwhile, liberal pundit Dan Kennedy thinks there's a double- standard at work.

Because the station is no longer playing DePetro's theme music or mentioning when he will return, your Radio Equalizer believes he's likely been fired. It was handled differently during his previous suspensions.

Michael Graham, a host from competitor station WTKK-FM, believes there is a different reason to dislike Grace Ross.

EXCLUSIVE - CONFIRMED: DePetro has been fired, along with his board operator as well. Name removed from website.

UPDATES: reported by Boston Globe and Boston Herald as well.


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  • >>no longer playing DePetro's theme music or mentioning when he will return, your Radio Equalizer believes he's likely been fired.

    Sounds like Todd Fineburg is filling in. As it is, Todd's nighttime show is prob. pre-empted tonight anyway by Celtics.
    WRKO does have a legal ID ("...with the personalities to back it up...")
    they run which does mention DePetro's name. As of last night (AFTER the story came out) it was still running. But yes, I don't think DePetro's theme music or
    even his name is being mentioned
    on what is/was(?) his show at the

    NOTE: WRKO website has "TBA" under
    DePetro's slot...his name _at least for now_ is gone...

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 03 November, 2006 10:25  

  • Maybe this is your big break Maloney.

    By Blogger Elmonica, at 03 November, 2006 12:10  

  • It was lead story on Ch 5 noon news; Ch 4 next came in, and finally Ch 7 (flipped back and forth). It was said that the tone of DePetro's voice in saying the comments may also have been a factor and that Entercom's
    bigwigs were furious. Also mentioned that he was given a warning before for the Amorello comment (along with THAT suspension) and that was also a factor in the firing.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 03 November, 2006 12:13  

  • Herald update: "The station also fired DePetro’s board operator, Jimmy Kiesling. DePetro, hired by the Entercom-owned AM station in 2004, has retained an attorney. “I was stunned and very disappointed,” DePetro told the Herald after station brass showed him the door at a meeting this morning."

    Herald article

    The statement by Jason Wolfe/Entercom is in that article. Actual DePetro quote, from tape of show:
    "I could go now a lifetime without Grace Ross. She has nerve. This whole business of you know, ‘Well since we’re being ignored. . . .’ No, you’re irrelevant. Get off the stage. I couldn’t stand her at the end. At one point I was about to yell, ‘Will somebody tell that fat lesbian to shut up!’ ”

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 03 November, 2006 14:31  

  • Since Ms. Ross makes no bones about being a lesbian, DePetro must have gotten canned for calling her "fat".

    By Blogger Dave, at 03 November, 2006 15:51  

  • I love how they always fire the board operator. As someone who worked in radio, it's always good when the famous talent gets fired, because they always fire the minimum-wage schlub also. Y'know, to send him a message and stuff.

    By Blogger Darin, at 03 November, 2006 16:09  

  • First -- I'm a Massachusetts resident, regular voter and registered independent though I will freely admit I lean more to the left than the right. I have a long commute and while I mainly listen to NPR or music while on the road, I also tune into WRKO and WTKK because while I don't agree with about 99% of what I hear from hosts on either station, I *am* interested in hearing opinions which are different from mine.

    I happened to be listening when John Depetro made his "fat lesbian" remark, and I recall thinking I'd just witnessed someone imploding his own career. I heard the context in which it was made, and yes, it was nasty and unecessary -- since neither had anything to do with what he was actually complaining about. It was a simple ad hominem remark, just another wrench in the toolkit of logical fallacies favored by certain personalities which work in this particular genre of talk radio.

    That said, I think this firing was grossly unfair. Depetro said *nothing* which his fellow WRKO hosts haven't said in the past and *continue* to say to this day. In my opinion, "Scotto" Miller and Howie Carr are about twice as offensive on their best behavior as Depetro ever was at his worst. Carr makes frequent derogatory references to homosexual activity, complete with sound effects, EVERY SINGLE SHOW. Yet somehow it's different when he does this.

    While most of what I hear on this station tends to give me the hives I think it's absolute crap that Depetro (and his board operator!) are being held to a different standard than every other host on that station. If it's offensive for one, it's offensive for all. But, I somehow suspect the listening audience will still be treated to Howie Carr's "unggh, UNGGH!" sound effect for years to come.


    By Blogger Deanna Patterson, at 04 November, 2006 12:08  

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