RadioNOW 100.9 in hot water with listeners over pit-bull phone prank!

Are morning-radio pranks EVER cool? Not if they involve fighting pit bulls ... or Latina stereotypes, honestly. RadioNOW, WNOU-FM (100.9), used both in a widely criticized bit on Monday.

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  1. The station’s Kyle & Rachel morning show features a whiny-voiced recurring character, “Carmen,” who prank-calls unsuspecting victims for fun — this time, in search of a “fighting pit bull” to defend her Chihuahua dog. After broadcasting the call Monday, the station posted the audio of Carmen and their target on their website at radionowindy.com (with the poor guy’s increasing virulent curses bleeped out!).
  2. And OUCH: their Facebook wall has been melting down with outrage ever since!

    Many comments blast the station for adding to the widespread view that pit bulls are vicious killers by their nature. Blame the deed, not the breed! Plus, some commenters said the Carmen bit encourages the idea of pit bull fighting in the first place - and dog fighting, it should be noted, is ILLEGAL.

    Here's a few of the more recent posts from advocates:
  3. Some of the critics were of the canine variety. And these dogs have some very sad stories indeed. Kudos to the humans who will rescue and rehabilitate pit bulls who are used and abused by fighting rings!
  4. Some also posted photos of their rescued pit bulls. I gotta say ... SO cute!
  5. One of The Star’s Facebook readers, Lavonne Roberts, tipped us to the controversy, calling it a “disgrace” that a local radio station would seemingly “condone dog fighting” and add to the negative attention that surrounds pit bulls.
  6. RadioNOW is getting blowback on their own website as well. Amanda Bewley Escobar posted at their audio link web page: “This is not even CLOSE to being funny! You obviously need to be educated about pit bulls and all other breeds! NEVER listening to this station ever again!”
  7. The outrage wasn't unanimous, however. Jason Glenn was among those who defended the radio station: "If you don't like the radio station, don't listen, but don't call them horrible names and curse at them."
  8. To be honest (and maybe this is because I’m a cat person?), I found CARMEN HERSELF more offensive than the pit-bull premise. Bad Spanish accent, squeaky voice, pretends to be dumb ... My eyes rolled so hard when listening to the audio for this and for past bits too that I thought I'd be looking at my brain!
  9. (And you might have figured out by now: I'm not a regular listener. NPR on WFYI-FM (90.1) is more my speed ... and imagine my surprise to note in the Spring 2013 Arbitron ratings that RadioNOW is only getting slightly more audience, with a 4.5 rating to WFYI's 3.5 for April!)
  10. Seriously, morning radio — 100.9 is far from the worst offender here — can’t you be funny without invoking the worst and broadest racist and sexist stereotypes? I’m not surprised the message is so ignorant when the messenger is flat-out appalling.
  11. What's the bar for these bits, anyway? Do radio stations have a policy of how low they will go? Not that this is even close to being in the same league as RadioNOW's offense, but a coworker couldn't help but think of the Kate Middleton nurse who committed suicide after an Australian radio station's prank last winter.
  12. I didn’t see RadioNOW respond online to any of their critics. I tried to reach the radio station at their listed business line, and also emailed several addresses listed on their website. When I get a comment from them, I’ll add it to this post!

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