Former WHAM radio personality fired for controversial blog post
Posted at: 06/12/2013 4:43 PM | Updated at: 06/12/2013 8:15 PM
He said it was written with a tone of humor, but many people saw it as offensive, racist and sexist. And now, it's left him without a job.
Radio personality Craig Schaller worked at WHAM 1180 for 16 years, but he came under fire this week after he published a blog on the station's website about the LPGA.
In the post, Schaller says things like “there are too many gosh darn foreigners on the tour and more specifically, I'm talking about Koreans and Asians in general.” He goes on to comment on those Asian player's last names saying, “It's hard to remember specific golfers when half of them seem to have names that sound like the sound you get when you bang pots and pans together.”
Now Schaller is without a job, saying he was fired by WHAM Tuesday. He wrote and posted his blog Sunday, the final day of the Wegmans LPGA in Rochester. Schaller admits he may have failed in his attempts at humor, but he stands behind the general premise of his blog, that being that the growing dominance of Asian players is not good for the LPGA Tour.
News10NBC's Brett Davidsen said, “Did you think when you wrote this blog that it was controversial?”
Craig Schaller said, “I had an inkling it might be a little controversial. I actually said in the blog, I might offend some people I'm sure, but what I said I didn't think was over the top."
Davidsen said, “You, yourself, say in the blog that you were sure you sounded culturally racist. There are a couple of lines in your blog that some have pointed to directly as being inappropriate. You said, 'it's hard to remember specific golfers when half of them seem to have names that sound like the sound you get when you bang pots and pans together.' Do you regret saying that?”
Schaller said, "Yeah, I regret the way it was taken. I meant it as a tongue in cheek kind of comment made for humor. I think a lot of people maybe not take things as light as they're meant when you write them sometimes. That was definitely the case. I shouldn't have said it that way. I admit that. It was poorly phrased and it was definitely offensive."
Davidsen said, “ What difference does it make what ethnicity these golfers are?
Schaller said, "I don't think it makes a difference in general as far as the tour goes as along as you have a little of this and a little of that. I think that when any nationality overwhelms the tour, which is what is in danger of happening here, it becomes a bit of a problem. It waters down the product and it makes it less appealing to a lot of fans of the sport and the tour."
Davidsen said, “Do you still stand by what you wrote or how would you describe where you stand now?”
Schaller said, “Well, I regret what has happened. Obviously, nobody likes to be fired, but they are my thoughts. And it's funny, in this business they tell you to be opinionated. Take a stance one way or another and back it up. Then you do that. If it's the wrong opinion or not what somebody likes, you're subject to losing your job."
Schaller also said in his blog that they should put caps on the number of foreign players allowed on the tour and mandate that they be able to speak English.
Schaller's blog was on the radio station's website. Schaller has been writing the blog for about two years and has never been asked to have it checked before posting it. News10NBC spoke with the program manager at WHAM Radio and he declined to comment on the situation.
The LPGA Media Director Mike Scanlon released a statement saying, "Golf is a borderless game and our Asian players are some of the LPGA's best ambassadors. We are proud to be golf's global tour and thankful to the fans throughout western New York who embrace our stars."
For the full interview, click play on the video player below.