Tuesday, July 25, 2006

WRKO AM Hate 680

R.I.P. John Depetro.

Yes my friends, there is a God after-all. WRKO talk show host John DePetro was suspended from his morning gig this week after using a historic slur word for a Gay man while referencing Big Dig Chief Matthew Amorello. I suppose it was an obvious spin off on afternoon gabber Howie Carr's favorite nomenclature for the Big Dig Chief, which for exhausting years has been "Fat Matt." DePetro, whose anti-Gay diatribe led us to urge a relatively successful boycott of the WRKO radio station last spring, called the man at the center of attention since last week's tragedy in the Ted Williams Tunnel, "Fag Mat."

Ah yes, nothing like intelligent and stimulating dialogue at WRKO, whose airwaves are owned by you, according to federal law.

Boston.com reported on Tuesday evening that DePetro, who lives in Rhode Island, was suspended for two days, meaning he could be back on the air for his usual 9:00 a.m. slot this Friday.

DePetro's foot in mouth syndrome garnered him national headlines, which he appeared to relish like a child at Christmas, when he appeared to be less than sensitive to the murder of John Jay College student Imette St. Guillen, cruelly slain in New York City on February 25. St. Guillen came from Greater Boston and her ugly homicide captivated the nation's attention for many weeks. DePetro, quick to capitalize on the tragedy like the cheap used car sales man he is, implied that any female out at late hours was only asking for trouble, an idiotic philosophy most of us hoped had been conquered by the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

It was later revealed by New York City Police that Guillen was targeted by a night club bouncer, Daryl Littlejohn; who was working at the bar St. Guillen had been patronizing with her friends. Littlejohn has pled not guilty and the bar has since been closed.

The world according to DePetro also revolves around a philosophy that all Gay men must be pedophiles. Why, of course. In fact, when a state trooper was recently captured by authorities for allegedly soliciting sex from an underage male (who was in reality an undercover federal agent), DePetro said the Gay Community should be held accountable. I'm still trying to figure out that twisted brand of logic, but to get into the head of DePetro is like getting into a "head full of mush," as Professor Kingsfield would likely say.

In a statement to the Boston Globe, WRKO program director Jason Wolfe said his organization had "zero tolerance for racial intolerance." Apparently the station's parent company, Entercom, enforces the "zero tolerance" policy with all-too-brief periods of dress keeping suspensions for the sake of public relations. In 2003 the company briefly suspended sports commentators John Dennis and Gerry Callahan following their racial slur directed at an African American, when they clearly compared students of color to Gorillas. The duet is back on the air, as DePetro was expected to be last week. Meanwhile, Howie Carr continually utters some of the more in-the-gutter diatribe at RKO without any apparent consequences.

Ironically, and I think most sadly, the Boston Red Sox, ever conscious of their image, will broadcast their games on the station next season.

Our boycott of RKO had it's fair share of success and should be considered ongoing. Following our column on the subject of RKO hate speak, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of Boston, a key WRKO advertiser, said for the record that they had launched a protest with the station's manager, expressing their concern with RKO's format regarding Gay issues.

Should you care to invest about two minutes of your precious time this week, give the station a call at 617-779-3400 and tell them to do the Hub and their own business a favor - make DePetro's suspension a permanent affair and hire someone whose actually all right in the head and who has something to say. As for the Red Sox decision to give WRKO a contract reported by the Globe to be worth as much as $14 million a year, you can let them know what you think by calling 617-267-9440.

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