The hosts of a morning radio show in Atlanta were fired yesterday after they made fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is suffering from ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Even if the name of the show, “Mayhem in the AM,” offers a slight warning that you might hear almost anything, listeners reacted immediately to the radio hosts attempting comedy with a fake conversation with Steve Gleason. Since ALS has robbed Gleason of speech, the bit used a computer-enhanced voice that was supposed to be his.
Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris DiMino make up the “Mayhem In The AM” show on 790 The Zone and they were talking about Steve Gleason on the show when a computer-generated voice pretending to be Steve Gleason called in the show with a ‘knock-knock’ joke. One of the hosts said that they only do “knock-knock” jokes on Thursday and then the voice, who was supposed to be Gleason said “I may not be here on Thursday.” The voice said, “I blame Gregg Williams, smother me, do me a favor.” At the end of the bit the voice said, “I’m going to Hell.” (Full audio here)
Cellini sent out this apology on Twitter: “My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid.” Rick Mack, General Manager of 790 AM, issued a statement saying the station and its sponsors “deeply regret the comments made by Mayhem in the AM” and said they in no way “endorse or support the unfortunate and offensive commentary concerning Mr. Gleason.”
Immediately following the airing of the segment, listeners took to social media to express their outrage, but there were a few comments supporting the segment like the one that read, “What’s the point of living if you can’t laugh at yourself?” But the majority of comments, even from Falcons fans, condemned the morning show hosts for their crude and insensitive attempt at comedy.
One Falcons fan wrote on social media, “As a Falcons fan, I am totally disgusted. What sort of person makes light of a gravely ill man?” The answer to that question is simple – radio personalities desperate to say or do something shocking in order to get attention and ratings. This is not the first time and it will certainly not be the last time that radio personalities say something stupid and shocking in an effort to get publicity. They are getting publicity, but they have also been fired for their mean-spirited humor. They lost their jobs – and maybe their careers – over their inability to see the line they should not have crossed.
Throughout my career I have been a strong supporter of humor pushes boundaries…even crude, but there is a line that is not to be crossed, and if a radio host does not understand what to say and what not to say – he doesn’t deserve a job in radio.
It’s sad when I cannot defend those who work in my industry, but making fun of a person who is suffering a completely debilitating disease is absolutely inexcusable. And these radio hosts from Atlanta should have realized that by making fun of a former player of their team’s top rival would make the comic stab even more personal and more hurtful.
We all have the responsibility to use good judgment in our jobs and in every aspect of our lives. Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences. I enjoy the people I work with at WWL, but I have never been a fan of the general population of disc jockeys and radio talk show hosts, whether in New Orleans or in the other major markets I have worked. Here is a generalization of radio personalities: most are not very intelligent – most are driven by their egos rather than a desire to do a good job – most are willing to say and do anything for attention.
Tolerating opposing opinions is different from tolerating insensitive comments or comedy that hurt the great majority of this country that shares a common bond with all of humanity.
Comments quickly defined as “offensive” simply because there is ideological disagreement do not compare to “offensive” comments when it applies to targeting a helpless human for the sole purpose of getting ratings.
I may not share the income level of many talk show hosts who thrive on shocking and insensitive comments and comedy, but I’d like to think that we all benefit from the application of human ethics in our jobs.
of the people of atlanta and the radio station. this was truly unforgiveable.
Gleason aside. He handled the situation with more class than you.
“generalization of radio personalities: most are not very intelligent – most are driven by their egos rather than a desire to do a good job – most are willing to say and do anything for attention.” ... and most radio host are not as self-righteous as you.
Your buddy Bill Maher MOCKS helpless children and you like it ...
do not see you calling for his firing ... but then he is a good leftist ...