Blogger takes local DJ, radio station to task

96.1 The BEAT apologizes for on-air anti-gay comments

CHARLOTTE — As first reported on Q-Notes Online, a popular radio disc jockey was forced to issue written and on-air apologies after making anti-gay remarks on his show broadcast Apr. 15.

CJ of 96.1 FM The BEAT made the remarks while discussing a reported kiss between openly gay gossip blogger Perez Hilton and pop star John Mayer. The comments included calling two men kissing “disgusting,” “sick,” “gross” and “yuck,” according to blogger and Hickory resident Brandon Greeson, who sent a letter of complaint to the station.

Greeson also took his displeasure with CJ’s comments to the internet, where he published his letter on his blog.

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The letter stated, in part, “Your remarks not only presented a harsh anti-gay theme but they were a slap to the face to the HUNDREDS of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who enjoy the music and the mix of 96.1 The BEAT.”

A subsequent written response from Morgan D. Bohannon, market manager for Clear Channel Charlotte, was also published online by Greeson.

“First let me say I’m sorry you were offended and apologize for having done so,” Bohannon wrote. “I can assure you that we as a company do not condone or encourage that type of comment regardless of intent. I have spoken to CJ about the incident and am confident his intent was not to offend but rather to entertain.”

Bohannon added that she was “confident it will not happen again” and asked Greeson to give the station “a second chance to earn your trust … in the future.”

Greeson, however, wasn’t satisfied. In a follow-up letter to the company, he demanded three actions to correct the issue: an on-air apology from CJ, a written apology from CJ posted on the station’s website and a “vow from 96.1 The BEAT management that it will review the company’s diversity policy with all staff, especially on-air staff.”

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He added that “it’s not good enough for CJ to not publicly denounce his comments. By maintaining his silence, it sends a clear message that CJ and Clear Channel endorse the stigma created by his poor judgement.”

On Apr. 17, CJ issued both written and on-air apologies. On the station’s website, he wrote, “I can tell you that at all times my goal is to entertain and never offend. To anyone that was hurt in anyway, I am deeply sorry! I take full responsibility for my comments and accept the punishment and backlash that is to come.”

The disc jockey also offered a personal apology to Greeson. “You especially deserve an apology,” he wrote. “I am truly sorry that you have experienced any heartache because of me. Please know how awful I feel and judge me for everything I say from this day forward and not the past.”

Greeson first gained notoriety in Hickory for the creation of the Oasis Project in 2005, which challenged the policies of the Catawba County Department of Social Services after a lesbian couple was denied access to the program. He has also pushed for a Catawba Valley LGBT community center.

Hear disc jockey CJ’s on-air apology here.

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