Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Katz Hosts Promote Racism, Group Says Station Defends Its Talk-Show Offerings

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Katz Hosts Promote Racism, Group Says Station Defends Its Talk-Show Offerings

Article excerpt

A black group called the Coalition for Free Speech is accusing two hosts on KATZ, the area's only black talk-radio station, of promoting racism.

The group accuses Richard "Onion" Horton and Mark Kasen of encouraging racist remarks from callers, and Horton of espousing racism himself. The coalition does not have complaints about other hosts on KATZ.

The group has for the last month been monitoring the station, collecting examples of what it considers racist comments. It plans to report the results to KATZ's general manager.

KATZ is not serving the needs of blacks, says Bruce Suber, a member of the coalition. "Dream merchants, hate merchants and pessimists" dominate the content of Horton's and Kasen's programs, Suber said.

Steve Mosier, general manager of KATZ (1600 AM) disagrees. He praised Horton and Kasen.

Mosier said the coalition has lingering bitterness over the firing of Bernie Hayes, KATZ's veteran talk-show host, last summer. He also said, "This is a personal attack on these two guys."

Mosier concedes that some callers use racial slurs, but he said, "We can't control what callers say." The station promotes freedom of speech, he said.

Controls are exactly what Suber wants. "Race relations is too serious of a matter to play games with it," Suber said.

Coalition Backed Hayes

The Coalition for Free Speech has 30 members, many of them with backgrounds in civil rights, such as Percy Green, Richard Dockett and Clifford Wilson. Suber is a retired Army serviceman.

Many of the members were also in a group called the Ad Hoc Committee to Support Bernie Hayes. Hayes was fired as a talk-show host last summer by KATZ. Some blacks say privately that the coalition's real motivation is to punish KATZ over the Hayes situation.

After Hayes was fired, KATZ asked Horton to be host the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. show, Monday through Friday. Kasen is host of a show from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Horton and Kasen are not employed by KATZ; they earn money by selling advertising for their shows, Mosier said.

Horton's show is a mixture of Horton's opinion, interviews, questions from the public and Horton's unique advertising pitches. Almost everything, including the advertising, deals with race.

On Friday morning's show, a caller asked Horton how some white drug dealers, arrested elsewhere under the federal drug "kingpin" law, would be handled by the courts. Horton responded: "No white boy is going to get the death sentence for drugs."

Kasen, who is Jewish, said on a recent show: "My Jewish friends go crazy when I say something about (Muslim leader) Louis Farrakhan. But I believe Louis Farrakhan is not anti-Jewish."

Kasen then said: "White people don't like black people. The real problem is not black people, the real problem is white people."

Suber argues that these examples are mild. "You do not have to be a sociologist or a rocket scientist to realize that name calling, racial slurs, and bashing one another will do anything else than create racial animosity and cause racial tension," he said. …

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