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Denver TV Station Pre-empting Stern

April 28, 1999

Days after Howard Stern made wisecracks about the Columbine High School massacre, a Denver TV station is pre-empting the shock jock’s Saturday night show for a special on the rampage.

``It’s not disciplinary in any sense,″ said Marv Rockford, KCNC-TV’s vice president and general manager. ``I don’t discipline Howard Stern. My responsibility here in terms of serving the community is to do what I think is appropriate at the moment to address the needs and concerns and questions in the community.″

The Colorado Senate, meanwhile, passed a resolution Wednesday condemning Stern for his comments.

The day after the shootings, Stern reportedly wondered aloud on his nationally syndicated radio show whether the gunmen tried ``to have sex with any of the good-looking girls″ who fled the school.

The radio show was heard in Denver on KXPK-FM.

KXPK spokesman Joe Jaffoni said Wednesday the station has not dropped the show but did run apologies for Stern’s remarks. He also said the station told Stern’s producers his comments ``were inappropriate and insensitive to the community.″

On Wednesday’s radio show, Stern said he had talked with his parents about the controversy.

``I just said, `You know ... I’m so weary of all this hypocrisy,‴ Stern said. ``And they said, `You know what? So what happens? They take you off the air. Who cares? Who cares? Really, life’s too short.‴

CBS, whose syndication arm Eyemark distributes Stern’s weekly television show, declined to comment.

The Colorado Senate censure, adopted 34-1, called on KXPX to drop Stern’s show. The same resolution passed the House Tuesday by 57-4. Opponents objected on First Amendment grounds.

Elsewhere, Russ Johnson of KCMO in Kansas City, Mo., said he was fired for a remark made while discussing a threat at a local high school in the wake of Littleton. Johnson said he was saying what he would do as a parent deciding whether to send a child to the school.

``I would say, `You’re going to school.′ I’d say, `Here’s a .357. If you have any problems, use this,‴ he said.

After the firing, Johnson said: ``The station pays me to be the cock that crows in the morning, but in the end I guess I’m the hen that laid an egg.″

Bob Zuroweste, general manager of Entercom Stations, which includes KCMO, had no comment.

Michael Graham of WBT radio in Charlotte, N.C., was fired for a joke made hours after the shooting about victims singled out by the gunmen.

``They were targeting minorities and athletes _ which, the athletes part, (is) one minor benefit to this otherwise horrible story,″ he said.

The next day, Graham called it ``a stupid, insensitive and indefensible remark. I’m a parent. My son is in public school, and as the full measure of Tuesday’s tragedy unfolded, my feelings of remorse and regret over my own stupidity grew with it.″

WBT program director Randall Bloomquist said: ``There was a pattern of nonsensical remarks by Michael that were the result of his mouth working faster than his brain.″

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