To Err on Air

Letters from the week of October 24, 2002

Mama's Boy

Hey, Todd, how embarrassing is this?: What a pleasant e-mail to have received regarding the Best Sports Interviewer being Todd Walsh (Best of Phoenix, September 26). I happen to be his mom who lives more than 2,900 miles away from Todd. But this makes me a very proud mother. Todd sure does a great job and walks the extra mile to do a great performance. I have seen a few tapes he mailed me and I enjoyed them so much. I also enjoy his humor (Todd is also very handsome on TV -- this is only a mom's opinion). Thanks for writing such a neat story on Todd.

Jayne Walsh
Todd Walsh's mom
Fairport, New York

Duran, Duran

Over the line: After reading your column, I have come to the conclusion that you are an idiot ("Seeing Red," Robert Nelson, October 17). You know what? DJ Beau Duran made a mistake, and he is paying for it. He deserved to be fired. That may have been harmless and funny to you, but to others, even those (like me) who had no rooting interest in the series, it was appalling.

Tony La Russa had every right to call this guy out. They realized they made a mistake, but when you are on a live radio broadcast, 20/20 means it is too late. There isn't much you can do.

I am sorry that now you are forced to listen to a more bland radio show, but if you feel for some reason that that kind of pushing the line humor is necessary to entertain yourself, then maybe you ought to find a hobby or two.

Ken Nollsch
Denver, Colorado

Cardinal sins: First off, there need to be more journalists like Robert Nelson.

Second, if what Beau Duran did was such a crime, then every damn guy in this country should be incarcerated. We've all told some girl that we find her attractive and asked her out. Once he was told no, he didn't push her to change her mind or anything of the sort.

What he and John Holmberg did was stupid. They admit this and have repeatedly asked for forgiveness, as Nelson explained.

And as for Tony La Russa, I'm sure he'd feel big and bad hiding behind Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds as they "messed up" Beau. That'd sure be a fair fight. Grow up.

Joel Sterling
Mesa

Beau knows radio: In this week's New Times, Pope Robert Nelson canonizes some dumbass disc jockey. Nelson is for some reason outraged over the treatment of Beau Duran. It was just a harmless prank he pulled, I guess, unless you've been singled out because you are the widow of a 34-year-old guy who unexpectedly dropped dead just a few months ago.

Duran got what he deserved for being such a dip-ass. Too bad for him, he'll have to get another job. And I'm sure he will.

Bob Nelson needs to get a grip. Nelson is blowing the entire event out of proportion, not Tony La Russa. What, exactly, I'd like to know, is the scary "power of a big league manager"? And what lapse in logic did it take to drag September 11 in here? Nelson seems especially to worry over the e-mails sent to KUPD. I personally think wishing a cancerous death on Beau Duran is way funnier than trying to harass a grieving widow. Maybe the station should try to hire one of them. But Nelson seems to believe Beau Duran is the second coming of Salman Rushdie and Lenny Bruce, so whatever.

I just hope Duran went the way every morning man deserves to go -- the sound effect of a toilet flushing followed by a cut to commercial. I feel better because his firing seems to indicate that, if only occasionally, being a total douchebag has some consequences.

David Giglio
Scottsdale

Beau jest: I agree 120 percent. Tony La Russa overreacted big time and, thanks to some lack of testicular fortitude, so did KUPD management. "Morning Sickness" is the best radio show anywhere. And I think I speak for all of the Big Red Radio's loyal listeners when I say, "Bring Back Beau!" Send me the petition and I will sign it.

Tracy Castle
El Mirage

Radio daze: How naive can you be? The idiots in question, including KUPD management, weren't even going to offer an apology until public pressure forced an about face from their original statements following the incident.

This was a premeditated attempt at humor that was incredibly insensitive and cruel. I'm in the radio business and carry a sometimes controversial show, "The Bob and Tom Show." If you want to hear good, edgy radio, listen to them. You're never going to hear an attempt at humor at the expense of a widow. Don't let these people bullshit you. This article reeks of someone who's afraid he won't get a backstage pass to the next show that comes through town.

Mitch Baker
Springfield, Missouri

Schlock jocks: Calling for a "hit" on Cardinals manager Tony La Russa? That's almost as juvenile as Beau Duran's stunt! If Duran is as contrite as he seems to be, I'm sure he understands he doesn't need apologists like you. Excusing outrageous behavior simply because it was carried out "in the spur of the moment" is patently absurd. Duran (as he himself understands) got what he deserved, and I hope it is a wake-up call for the horde of low-life "shock jocks" who think that a $10-per-hour job behind a microphone entitles them to behave far outside the bounds of human decency.

The beautiful thing about this whole affair is the simple fact that it was pressure on advertisers from hundreds of outraged individuals and the resulting pressure on KUPD management from these advertisers that got this "victim" fired. You seem (quite mistakenly) to believe that "shock jocks" provide some essential contribution to society (furthering freedom of speech?). What they offer is reassurance for the immature that immaturity isn't really that bad. But when the stuff doesn't sell, the speech isn't so free anymore, is it?

The lesson is very simple. True freedom requires responsibility. You don't seem to quite get this, but (thanks to the volume and quantity of appropriate outrage) Beau knows!

Timothy Barker
St. Louis, Missouri

Red scare: I'm a Cardinals fan. Your piece is a parody, right?

I don't condone death threats. If it is true Beau Duran is getting them, then I'm sorry. You recite no evidence that they are all coming from St. Louis, though I'm sure some have originated there. I believe he is sincere in his remorse, but then again you have to wonder because the station's initial reaction, from its general manager, was that this was no big deal and that no action would be taken against Duran. He got remorseful when the national outcry built. And when advertisers boycotted. But still, I sense he's sorry now.

As for Tony La Russa, his comments were a bit over the top, but he's a sensitive guy. He was defending the honor of a dead colleague and his family. Contrary to your absurd suggestion, baseball is not increasingly thuggish. I defy you to produce any evidence supporting this thesis. It's clear you do not cover sports.

It's also clear that your moral compass needs a tune-up if you think a two-week belated apology compensates for publicly insulting a widow, present as a guest in your city, to witness her fallen husband's team on its march in the playoffs. You see, to her, this was the last team her husband would ever be a part of. If they were to earn a championship, it would honor his memory, as he had partially contributed to the season. That's over now, unfortunately. It's sad that you could not perceive this.

Another glaring example of your ignorance of the custom of hospitality is your failure to comprehend the propriety in Duran's apology to the Diamondbacks. You see, they were hosting the Cardinals, and especially the Cardinals' guests.

If your child, or dimwitted brother-in-law, insults a guest in your home, do you not apologize on their behalf? Does the offender not owe you, as host, an apology for insulting your guest?

You, sir, need a lesson in manners. And you need a better sense of perspective. What makes you bitter enough to belittle a team trying to keep alive the memories of people close to or part of the organization?

William Barrett
Raleigh, North Carolina

Beau coup: Nice defense of Beau Duran. As many things go, interpretation of events depends on one's perspective on them.

You seem quick to defend a young man's poor manners, and the trash that I assume you enjoy listening to each morning. We in Tulsa get some feeds like that, too. They are funny for a while, but let me ask you this -- if you have a friend who talks trash, after the novelty wears off, do you still hang with them? I'm guessing not, based on my assumption that you have something on the ball enough to have landed you this public forum that, frankly, I think you are taking advantage of in this instance.

Mr. Duran acted his age. He was rude. He was inconsiderate. And he is correct to apologize, as are the others responsible for letting him on the air. I'm sure lessons have been learned by all this by those involved, and for myself, I'm sorry they had to be learned in such a public way.

Your assumptions concerning Mr. La Russa and his response to a rude and uncalled-for act do surprise me. Mr. Kile was on a team. People bond on a team. And these guys are men, and respond to things in physical ways. I seriously doubt that any death threats can be attributable to Mr. La Russa's comments, but there are nutcases out there who will do things like that. Those are the cowards of the world, faceless creatures who go nuts when handed a computer or a pen.

I implore you to remember your privilege in all this: You are the exclusive owner of a very public forum (at the pleasure of your boss). Maybe you ought to get back to remaining impartial, and reporting things as they are, instead of how you assume they are.

Grow up. It's over. And not just that radio station, but all of Phoenix has a bit of tarnish on it because of the actions of a 22-year-old radio station employee.

Paul Hardy
Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Base Bawl

Fan club: Glad to hear that there's at least one real baseball fan in town ("A Fan for All Seasons," Spiked, October 10). It takes a while to build a tradition, to get people behind the team all the time. And to learn the game.

One thing that's hurting the fan base here is the California attitude. That includes showing up late, leaving early, and spending the entire game walking back and forth to the concessions or wherever. I've never been anywhere where there is a stream of people all the time like there is here. And to leave during a playoff game? Bad form.

Hopefully the fan base here will get smarter about the game, cheering the good, booing the bad. That's instead of mindlessly booing every ball and strike call. Crap, they booed at the end of the inning that Arizona tied it up in Game One. Forget the call, cheer the team!

Here's to baseball and real fans.

Jay Edmiston
Mesa

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