Hispanics Upset with WLW-AM Again
The second offensive WLW-AM promotional campaign in four months has prompted a national Hispanic organization to demand the resignation of Clear Channel market manager Chuck Fredrick.
A recent WLW-AM on-air promotion offering "helpful phrases" to communicate with illegal aliens, with Spanish music in the background, is proof that Fredrick "reneged on his commitment" to "prevent future offensive materials" on the station after removing its "The Big Juan" billboards in May, says Brent A. Wilkes, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) national executive director.
"The local Hispanic community is outraged that the station is deliberately demeaning them in an effort to increase ratings and profit at the station," said Wilkes, based in
At issue this week is a 30-second promotion with a man saying offering "a few useful phrases next time you converse with an illegal alien" who doesn’t speak English. Then a woman speaks in Spanish, with the man's voice translating the phrase. One was: "Be careful with those hedge clippers around the garden."
Jason Riveiro, Cincinnati-based
Riveiro says his group targeted Fredrick because he promised in May to review station marketing.
"When I met with face-to-face with him in May, he told me, 'The buck stops here.' And that all advertising and marketing that goes out, he’d have final say on it," Riveiro says.
Fredrick could not be reached for comment, after repeated attempts. After billboards were removed in May, he sent a letter to Hispanic chamber saying "WLW wants to be part of the solution moving forward."
But after a couple meetings with Fredrick, Hispanic chamber members "felt… (he) was insincere in his responses… (and) was not open and honest," according to the chamber's June newsletter. So members launched a campaign to persuade "large, medium and small local companies" not to use WLW-AM, the newsletter said.
Wilkes, in an interview, noted that some talk radio stations "thrive on being politically incorrect and attacking minorities. They make a good bit of money going close to the line as they can get, or going over it, and clearly they've gone over it this time. I think it's unfortunate that Clear Channel is not policing this, and that they're fueling racial divisiveness."
He pointed out the complaint was about a station on-air promotional announcement -- not a remark from a talk host who has free speech rights. "This is the voice of the station. That makes it a lot worse," Wilkes says.
Wilkes' letter also renewed LULAC's request for a community advisory board "to work with the station’s management to prevent future misconduct by the station." During the billboard controversy local Hispanic leaders asked WLW-AM to establish such a board.