Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hispanic Talkjocks Get 'Regular Guys' Fired

Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, who did The Regular Guys Show on an Atlanta Clear Channel radio station, have been fired in a dispute between them and two Hispanic broadcasters who also work for Clear Channel. Wachs and Von Haessler invited the Hispanic radio personalities onto The Regular Guys Show to discuss the illegal alien boycott movement in March.

From Larry Wachs' blog:
All of this current mess took root, to my knowledge, in March, when the first national Hispanic illegal alien protests were taking place. We were doing our show in Orlando, from Braves spring training. Listeners started calling us on the air to get our opinion of the boycotts that were going on throughout the metro area and in other major cities across America. As the calls increased in volume, it became the only topic that day as it was on many talk shows across the country.

At one point in the show, we asked a producer to go down the hall and invite Yogi and Panda from Viva 105.7, also owned by Clear Channel, on the air to discuss the issue since some listeners had told us that they were exhorting their audience to boycott and take the day off. They agreed to come on and were ushered into our studio with our board operator, and we had a spirited discussion on the air.
Evidently Yogi and Panda aren't too good at unscripted repartee and got verbally slapped around on air by Wachs and Von Haessler. They decided that they were "disrespected" and filed complaints with the company.

Then Wachs recorded insults the pair shouted at him in Spanish in the company mensroom and played them on the air. Yogi and Panda decided to file a criminal complaint, and Clear Channel yanked The Regular Guys Show.

Wachs sums it up:
A case of a humorous prank has turned into a culture clash, a suppression of 1st Amendment rights, and a ridiculous smear campaign against me as well as termination of my income without due process.
Joy Johnston at About Atlanta offers this opinion of the dispute between The Regular Guys and the hypersensitive Hispanic duo:
As a faithful listener to the Regular Guys show, I have heard most if not all of the on-air bits that have involved Viva staff members, primarily Yogi and Panda, the morning show hosts, including the bathroom stunt that is at the crux of this lawsuit. Other than making fun of stereotypes, which the Regular Guys do to everyone, including "rednecks", I found nothing particularly offensive about the material.

The bathroom stunt was addressing a real issue that many of us deal with- people engaging in behavior not appropriate in the bathroom. I personally have dealt with people having cell phone conversations while in a stall, and I find that socially offensive. If Yogi and Panda were so concerned about privacy, perhaps they should not have been engaging in a conversation in a restroom accessible by other Clear Channel employees.
Via Wild Bill at Passionate America who has more.