The radio airwaves is rife with conservative bigots, at least here in the greater Toronto area, though I suspect this is a North America-wide phenomenon owing to the incredible popularity of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck etc. A couple of incidents that recently occurred on local radio shows indicate that misogyny is more tolerable than homophobia.
Mr. Lou Schizas is a financial ‘pundit’ who appears on the Toronto airwaves via AM640. Now given that he is in the financial sector it comes as no surprise that Mr. Schizas leans to the right (putting it mildly). On June 12 of last year, Mr. Schizas appeared on the John Oakley show on the daily segment ‘Happy Capitalism’ and proceeded to call the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, Andrea Horwath, a whore.
Fast-forward to September 30. On “The Dean Blundell Show” which airs on FM 102.1 (primarily a music station), the producer of the show Derek Welsman, as well as the host, made some homophobic statements regarding a criminal trial on which he served as the jury’s foreman. The case involved an HIV-positive man that was being prosecuted for sexually assaulting four men that the defendant met in a Toronto bathhouse. You can read more details about the homophobic comments here.
Following the incident on September 30, “The Dean Blundell Show” was suspended and the host, Dean Blundell posted an apology for the comments. Fast-forward to January 6th, 2014 and “The Dean Blundell Show” is no more. The show has been cancelled, and all signs of the show have been removed from the station’s website. Now, what about Lou Schizas? Well, he is still very much working for AM640. As far as I can tell, he has not been reprimanded at all. At the time he made the comment I remember being shocked that he was not fired.
The difference in the handling of these two situations may simply reflect the differences in the cultures of the two radio stations, or it may reflect a deeper issue with regard to women’s place in society. Perhaps it is time we redouble our focus on women’s rights and equality. In any case, this kind of bigotry happens on the radio airwaves all too often. We need to reclaim the airwaves for more civil discourse, and to demand on-air personalities treat everyone with decency and respect.