Indian commission protests comments made on radio show

Raleigh, North Carolina (AP) 4-08

The N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs is demanding that the hosts and producer of a local morning radio show be fired for what the agency termed “racially charged comments” made on the air.

In addition, the commission also called for the Federal Communications Commission to investigate WDCG-FM owner Clear Channel Communications Corp. The commission also wants the FCC to examine the company’s “history, tolerance, and promotion of this type of inflammatory and reprehensible programming.”

Commission chairman Paul Brooks said the statements, “are further indicative of these individuals’ insensitivity, gross ignorance, and blatant bigotry against American Indians across this great nation.”

In the radio segment, Bob Dumas and co-hosts kidded an intern about her pending marriage to a Lumbee Indian. Dumas jokes that Indians are “lazy” and that “a lot of Indians live on the reservation.”

Dumas also asked if the groom’s grandfather would stand on the side of the road with “a single tear,” a reference to a popular public service anti-litter advertisement in the 1970s.

Also, co-host Mike Morse asked, “After you guys get married, are you going to have a tepee-warming party?”

WDCG general manager Dick Harlow released a statement on the station’s Web site on Friday afternoon.

“WDCG apologizes to any listener that may have found remarks or recordings played, during “Bob and the Showgram” to be offensive, derogatory or insensitive. WDCG does not condone inappropriate behavior, language or insensitive remarks.”

Gregory Richardson, executive director of the commission, called the apology a start, but he also said he doubted the apology would be sufficient for everyone.

Richardson, who belongs to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, said that his office had been “absolutely bombarded” by e-mails and calls complaining about the comments. Recordings of the show have circulated by e-mail.

“I’ve never encountered anything like that before,” he said. “I thought we were beyond that. This is 2008. I think people should have more respect than to get involved in a discussion like that on the air.”

Dumas, who has been with WDCG for nearly 16 years, is no stranger to controversy. In 2004, a Durham minister started an online petition to oust Dumas for what the minister called “racially incendiary” comments about “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino, who is black. Dumas used the terms “ghetto” and “low class” during the show to describe Barrino.

Five years ago, he drew the wrath of bicycling enthusiasts in the Research Triangle area for finding humor in motorists who assault cyclists or run them down with their vehicles.

 

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