98Rock Morning Show Apologizes For Transgender, Child Abuse Comments
Following nearly a week’s worth of silence and with over a dozen advertisers lost, a Sacramento-based radio program returned to the airwaves with an apology in response to some off-color comments that drew national attention and criticism.
Rob Williams and Arnie States, two-thirds of KRXQ’s "Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show," apologized Thursday morning for comments they made two weeks ago in which they referred to members of the transgender community as "freaks," "fruits" and as experiencing "mental defects" meant to "draw attention to themselves."
The comments made during the May 28th broadcast angered child advocacy and transgender groups, the effect of which was the withdrawing or cancellation of agreement to financially support KRXQ by Chipotle, Snapple, Sonic, Bank of America, Verizon Wireless, Carl’s Jr., Nissan North America, AT&T, McDonald’s, Sleep Train and Guitar World.
However, Rob Williams say it was the show’s fans who made the presenters realize they had pushed the line too far.
"We are here today to make things right with the people who give us our free speech — our audience," Williams said at the beginning of today’s program. "Our audience made it clear that our initial comments were over the line, that they expected us to make things right."
"My ignorance prevented me from understanding how hard a transgender’s life is day to day…and I am very sorry for that," States said today during KRXQ’s two-and-a-half-hour, commercial-free broadcast. "I ignorantly thought that name-calling was just that. Due to my ignorance, I was wrong."
Thursday’s show aired following Williams and States’ initial response to their May 28th comments on June 3rd in which Williams and States defended their comments and refused to apologize.
"I think it’s ridiculous to think that I’m advocating violence against kids," States responded on the program June 3rd. "I know a lot of people don’t understand this, that’s a joke. Maybe you find that to be a tasteless joke, but I have never advocated for parents to beat their children."
States also pointed out that the show has held 29-hour broadcasts benefitting the U.C. Davis Children’s Hospital Network annually since 2007. In a letter to station management on June 8th, Dr. Claire Pomeroy announced U.C. Davis Children’s Hospital Network was severing their ties with KRXQ over the controversial comments.
"The events of May 28th and the station’s lack of a publicly articulated response to those events are inconsistent with UC Davis’ values and mission," the letter read. "We are, first and foremost, an institution of learning and teaching, committed to advancing health and well-being for all. We affirm the right of freedom of expression, within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect. The statements made by [Williams and States] were outside those bounds."
U.C. Davis Children’s Network said they will re-evaluate their relationship with the station at the end of 2009.
Thursday morning’s program solicited phone calls from the community and featured transgender advocates Autumn Sandeen and Kim Pearson. The show was heavily promoted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) organization, which encouraged supporters to listen and call in to this morning’s program. The organization had previously encouraged supporters to write to the station’s advertisers.
A statement by GLAAD regarding this morning’s program on KRXQ was not available as of 11AM Thursday.
The Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show, which is owned and produced by Williams, continues to air weekday mornings on KRXQ 98.5 FM, known on-air as "98Rock" in Sacramento, and in syndication on KDOT 104.5 FM in Reno.