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.

Conversation Express your views, debate, and be heard with those in your area closest to the issue. RSS Feed

June 11, 2009 | 11:49 AM

Thank you for covering this Matthew. It has been wonderful to see this storyline progress, and every article has been increasingly well written. The conversations that your stories have led to have also been intriguing and provided a wealth of additional information.

June 11, 2009 | 3:19 PM

Apology accepted. Let’s move on.

June 11, 2009 | 7:39 PM

Yes, lets get after Letterman joking about rape of a 14 year old girl. He gave an excuse, but not an apology.

June 12, 2009 | 3:37 AM

There are a lot of lessons to be learned here I hope we don’t move on to fast

June 11, 2009 | 10:16 PM

Rob opened his show saying he wasn’t talking to those who want him and Arnie fired (ME), he also defined those who want them fired are out of the mainstream.
NO you hateful racist, misogynist, homobigotted, transphobic PIGS are out of the MAINSTREAM.
I will continue to boycott any sponsor of the RAD show, and demand the station makes an earnest apologiy and a statement this spewing hate and abuse at children NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

June 12, 2009 | 9:49 AM

Whatever gets you through the night Mark.

June 13, 2009 | 3:31 PM

I have several problems with the GLAAD communities “outcry” over throwing shoes at children who prance around the house in high heels. How in the world does that constitute child abuse? Now whipping with a belt or “taking them to the woodshed” is a whole other issue. And what the heck..as a heterosexual male, if I don’t agree with homosexual/heterosexual behavior, that makes me a racist,misogynist,homophobic person?? Since when does following ones moral compass make you a horrible person?
On another note…I tried to listen to the RAD show on Thursday and found it incredibly boring and a complete waste of time.

June 14, 2009 | 11:46 AM

Don’t edit the comment madew by Arnie

He said he’d hit the kid with a shoe, I’d throw a shoe at him.
you try to white wash the comment down to the least objectionable portion. He also said he’d like to see the teen beaten down by the world and called the kid idiot and FREAK.
Get used to this show being less confrontational, we LGBTS have their advertisers on SPEED DIAL.

June 13, 2009 | 3:55 PM

Abuse? Depends on the shoe, where the shoe lands and how hard the shoe is thrown, Leeman. Throwing a shoe that hits a child in the eyes or anywhere on the head can be very damaging. Other parts of the body may cause less physical damage but In any case it is an infantile act and one that no loving parent would commit.

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