The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 February 2008

Anti-Troops Toledo Mayor Drops F-Bomb During WJR Interview


Mayor's F-Bomb Could Cost WJR Plenty

Talk radio found itself in the middle of yet another anti- troops controversy this week, as Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner capped off a week of unhinged antics by dropping the F-bomb during an interview on a major Detroit station.

Already under fire for his widely- denounced move to bar US Marines from taking part in a city center training exercise, a decision that embarrassed Toledo's council, Finkbeiner once again stepped in doo-doo of his own making:

(Toledo Blade) Toledo mayor's profanity aired on live radio in Detroit

Use of word wasn't intentional, he says

The day before Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's spokesman was suspended for three weeks for allegedly using vulgar language with an off-air radio producer, the mayor himself used a profanity during a live interview broadcast.

Mr. Finkbeiner uttered the "f-word" followed by "ruckus" to describe the "few days" after his order last week to cancel a Marine Corps weekend-long urban warfare exercise in downtown Toledo and in some abandoned buildings.

The mayor spoke on The Frank Beckmann Show on WJR-760 AM in Detroit for nearly 16 minutes Tuesday. The station broadcasts at 50,000 watts, 24 hours a day, and can be heard in 38 states and half of Canada.

After listening yesterday to a recording posted online, Mr. Finkbeiner acknowledged that the word he used sounded like the profanity.

"I merged two words into one," Mr. Finkbeiner said. "Ruckus is what I was after … It wasn't intentional."

Later a statement from Mr. Finkbeiner said: "The intention of the word was 'ruckus.' I started to say 'fuss' and changed to 'ruckus' and the words were merged into one."

Mr. Beckmann had just asked the mayor if the Marines controversy had damaged Toledo's image. Mr. Finkbeiner was emphatic that it had not.

Does Finkbeiner's excuse sound plausible? Not to your Radio Equalizer.

Even if it was a slip of the tongue, it could cost Citadel - ABC Radio plenty: the FCC has dramatically raised fines for indecency since Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" incident several years ago.

WJR could be looking at up to several hundred thousand dollars in fines, depending on whether the FCC receives complaints and how it chooses to respond.

Though stations are expected to take steps to eliminate on- air obscenities, it's hard to blame WJR and host Frank Beckmann for being caught by surprise during an interview with an elected official.

As for Toledo, it might be time to shop around for a new mayor.

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Finkbeiner image: Toledo Blade


  • Will NBC's Today Show come under the same scrutiny due to the Hanoi Jane's gaff?

    How about ABC's Good Morning America when Diane Keaton dropped a gaff?

    I've not seen much in the way of news regarding the GMA show...

    By Blogger juandos, at 15 February, 2008 14:32  

  • I guess Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner was jealous of all the attention New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin got for his recent stupidity while handling a fully automatic weapon and decided to trump Nagin with his own stupidity.

    By Blogger Carl, at 16 February, 2008 17:52  

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