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Radio station dropping Michael Savage after controversial remarks about autism
Friday, July 25, 2008
Julie E. Washington
Plain Dealer Reporter
Michael Savage's controversial remarks about autistic children have gotten him booted off Cleveland's airwaves.
WHK AM/1420, the only Cleveland-area station carrying Savage's radio talk show, is break ing its contract with Savage's syndicator, Talk Radio Net work, said Mark Jaycox, who manages the Cleveland stations under the Salem Com munications corporate umbrella. WHK is owned by Cali fornia-based Sa lem Communi cations.
"This guy's a knucklehead, and I want to get rid of him," Jaycox said.
The Oregon-based Talk Radio Network could not be reached for comment late Thursday afternoon.
Savage's contract with WHK was supposed to extend to 2010.
The talk-show host last week described autism as a racket and said 99 percent of autistic children needed fathers to tell them to stop acting "like a moron."
Savage, who claims more than 8 million listeners a week, later posted a message on his Web site saying greedy doctors and drug companies were overdiagnosing autism.
Canton’s WCER AM/900 will continue to air Savage, said WCER general manager Jack Ambrozic. In Ohio, Savage also is heard in Portsmouth and Lima. WHK, based in Independence, plans to fill Savage’s 9 p.m.-midnight weeknight slot with a syndicated show and two local hosts, starting Monday, Aug. 4.
Syndicated host Mark Levine will air from 9 to 11 p.m. weeknights, and local author and radio personality Tom Kelly will host from 11 p.m. to midnight.
“Kelly and Company,” an author- interview show with Kelly and co-host Vic Gideon, is already heard Sunday afternoons on WHK. Kelly is expected to keep the weekend and weekday versions of his show.
Nicholas Phillips, a member of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s executive committee, will host a political talk show from 9 to 10 p.m. Thursdays during the election season, Jaycox said.
Jaycox decided to yank Savage after receiving about two dozen calls and e-mails from parents of autistic children, who said they were hurt by the remarks.
“I had one dad almost cry,” Jaycox said.
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