ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A radio station fired its longtime morning DJ Wednesday after he encouraged listeners to repeat talk-show host Don Imus racially charged comments in an on-air contest.
Gary Smith told WSBG-FM listeners to call and say "I'm a nappy-headed ho" for Tuesday's "Phrase that Pays" contest, said Rick Musselman, executive vice president of station owner Nassau Broadcasting Partners L.P.
Musselman said three of the listeners who called were awarded tickets to a NASCAR promotion at a local club. Station management reviewed a tape of the broadcast of the "Gary in the Morning" show and fired Smith, Musselman said. Musselman said that Smith was fired and not suspended because he uttered the slur in a premeditated manner, "with full knowledge of the reaction to Don Imus' use of the exact same phrase."
The nationally syndicated Imus was suspended for two weeks by CBS Radio and MSNBC after he called members of the mostly black Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Civil rights groups have demanded his firing.
Smith has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
WSBG 93.5, a 3,000-watt rock station, is based in Stroudsburg, about 40 miles northeast of Allentown. The Princeton, N.J.-based Nassau is privately held with more than 50 radio stations in the Northeast.