When the mic’s on | SummitDaily.com

When the mic’s on

LESLIE BREFELDsummit daily news
**FILE** Radio personality Don Imus appears on Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show, in New York in this April 9, 2007, file photo. Both NBC and CBS fired Imus from their respective television and radio shows for his onair comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Summit County, CO ColoradoSUMMIT COUNTY – Words, spoken or in print, can have a powerful effect, a truth shown evident when the CBS radio show and its MSNBC simulcast “Imus in the Morning” were canceled due to remarks made by longtime radio broadcaster Don Imus.”How could he think that was funny?” wondered freelance writer Keely Brown, who formerly hosted on-air shows for three years in Atlanta. “For him to categorically insult them across the board, it’s not only racist and sexist … it goes against our responsibility as broadcasters.”It seems Imus crossed a line, and likely knew he was doing it, when he called the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team … well, you know what he said. As KSMT’s afternoon show host Johnny Brokaw pointed out, someone with Imus’ tenure in the career certainly would have known what was appropriate to say and what was not – and that even those much newer to broadcasting than Imus would be aware of those lines.DJs are often working off the cuff, but are still always aware that the microphone in front of them is putting their voice into the ear of an audience.Often it’s simply the personality of the DJ that comes through the airways.”I always felt like I was holding a telephone conversation when I was on the air with a few of my dearest friends,” Brown said. And KCMV midday show host Kari Barr said she goes out of her way to not offend anyone. Granted, things will happen.”One time I said something bad about a Lynyrd Skynyrd song,” Barr admitted, which landed her in hot water with her program director. And both Brown and Brokaw could tell stories of offending a few of their audience members.Yet Imus would find those offended by what he said to be in the overwhelming majority.He was fired from both stints on April 12.American Express Co., Sprint Nextel Corp., Staples Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors Corp., were among the sponsors that pulled out, according to the Associated Press.”My take on it is that it’s all based on the dollar. No money means no job … A lot of his listeners were based on comments like that,” Brokaw said. “Advertisers maybe agree or disagree, but that’s not the point. The trend is to be against it.”The Associated Press contributed to this report.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or lbrefeld@summitdaily.com.

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