Amid a sleugh of advertiser withdrawals and facing heat from the GLBT community, Rob Williams, one-third of KRXQ’s "Rob, Arnie & Dawn" morning show, posted a statement on the show’s website that can be summed up in four words: "We have failed you."
"We presented our opinions on a very sensitive subject in a hateful, childish and crude fashion," Williams wrote on his website, RobArnieAndDawn.com in a letter to listeners, "and then, given the chance to retract those remarks, we defended them."
The response comes nearly two weeks following an on-air segment in which Williams and co-host Arnie States called members of the transgendered community "freaks," "fruits" and describing them as having a "mental disorder" in which transgenders "bring attention to themselves."
"God forbid if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes," States quipped during the May 28th segment.
Since then, nine advertisers — Chipotle, Snapple, Sonic, Bank of America, Verizon Wireless, Carl’s Jr., Nissan North America, AT&T and McDonald’s — announced through the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) that they were withdrawing support from KRXQ. A tenth advertiser, Wells Fargo Bank, issued a statement saying they were not advertisers of KRXQ’s breakfast program and had no intention of advertising with the station in the future.
On June 3rd, Williams and States, along with co-host Dawn Rossi, addressed the May 28th segment following an outcry of opposition from listeners throughout the United States and as far away as the United Kingdom. Williams and States appeared to defend their right to an opinion on the show and clarified that they, in no way, advocated violence toward children.
"They never meant to advocate any form of abuse," station manager Jim Fox told The Sacramento Bee’s 21Q blog.
Williams went on to say in his statement posted on June 7th that no new "Rob, Arnie & Dawn" shows will air on KRXQ until Thursday, June 11th, at which time the breakfast show presenters will "say what needs to be said."
"Apologizing in a written, posted statement is a form of cowardice," Williams wrote.
The Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show, which is owned and produced by Williams, airs weekday mornings on KRXQ 98.5 FM in Sacramento, known on-air as "98Rock," and in syndication on KDOT 104.5 FM in Reno. The 12-year radio program has been no stranger to controversy in the past; in 2004, the show was fined $55,000 by the Federal Communications Counsel for "on-air indecency" following a complaint filed by James Peak.