I'll Beat You Up, Said the Zookeeper
South Buffalo-based blogger Mike Blake relates the following story:
In response to a traffic accident on the 33 Expressway, my brother called in and said the accident was caused by a motorist falling asleep while listening to Bauerle’s show. Instead of simply moving on, Bauerle went on a long rant in response to the call. I’m not an expert on talk shows, but it seems like the exact opposite of what he should have done. I get negative responses to my site all the time. But the last thing on my mind would be to dignify them with a response.
Bauerle then took it an unnecessary step further by forwarding my brother’s phone number to his friends. They in turn sent him threatening texts. Very strange and bizarre that any member of the local media would do something like this, especially in an age where it is so easy to document and trace everything. In fact, here is one of the threatening texts Bauerle had one of his people send…
Apparently, WBEN’s morning zookeeper spent about 10 minutes of Thursday’s show not only acknowledging that Blake’s story is true, but by expressing pride that his “friends” would threaten a caller who made a joke, and that they “hold a trump card” of some sort. Of course, if you give out your phone number and ask for phone calls, some of those calls may make fun of the host. This wasn’t even a prank call – there was no Baba Booey moment – this was just a joke.
Is this a perpetual middle school where every real or perceived slight is met with harassment and threats?
When asked, WBEN’s program director/operations manager, Tim Wenger, shrugged.
The discussion got bogged down in a specific issue – whether WBEN’s Telos system displays caller ID information for the host. That’s not the issue. Perhaps the screener had the caller ID information and relayed it to the host some other way. The issue is that the person who made a joke on the air received a threat that the radio host acknowledged on the air as having happened. When confronted with that information, we get an argument about caller ID from the station’s PD – any responsible manager would be appalled that an employee had threatened a consumer of their product.
WBEN’s host is out of control because the station is out of control – between 4 hour-long gun rally infomercials and 4 hour-long Carl Paladino for school board infomercials, the station has abandoned any sense of journalistic ethics or propriety and become nothing more than a right-wing advocacy group, and one that encourages belligerence from its staff.
Pat Blake should be able to make a joke without fearing threats of bodily harm. If so much as a hair on his head is misplaced by another, the radio host, the station, and its corporate parent all share liability and deep pockets.
By the way, the screener hits *69 at Entercom.
Welcome to the third world.