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Morning talk show spits out gibes about gays

(This story was published in 2002).

By: Jeff Carlton

Albuquerque Tribune

Frequent insensitive remarks about gays made by Albuquerque sports talk show host Dennis Glasgow are receiving scrutiny from his new boss.

Pete Benedetti, general manager of Citadel Southwest, which operates nine radio stations in Albuquerque, said he will take a closer look at Glasgow, who has peppered "The Morning Show With Dennis Glasgow" with jokes and asides about gays.

"The Morning Show" airs on KNML-AM (610) weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The Tribune this week provided Bob Proffitt, chief operating officer of Citadel Broadcasting, based in Las Vegas, Nev., with printed excerpts from Glasgow's shows that aired the week of July 8.

Citadel owns and operates 138 FM and 61 AM stations in 41 markets across the country.

The excerpts "made me cringe a bit," Proffitt said, "but I am not going to take an edited version of a week's worth of shows and go crazy over it. We've never been out to offend anybody. We don't condone offending anybody."

Proffitt passed the excerpts to Benedetti, who started his job last week. Benedetti said earlier this week that he had not listened to the show but that he would do so.

"If we determine that it is not in the best interests of getting listeners, improving ratings and community standards, we'll talk to the guys about it," Benedetti said. The show's co-host is Ian Martin.

Glasgow, 37, is program director for KNML and has been host of "The Morning Show" since 1999. He came to Albuquerque in 1996 as the radio play-by-play man for the New Mexico Scorpions hockey team.

According to the Arbitron report of July 8, the most recent available, KNML has a 1.3 rating, making it 23rd among Albuquerque's radio stations in terms of listeners. The station calls itself "The Sports Animal."

During the week of July 8, Glasgow and Martin talked about gays on at least 14 occasions, with Glasgow usually referring to "fat, gay homos" or "fat, gay men." The co-hosts made references to homosexuality on each of the five days.

Two pre-taped promotional announcements for the show that ran during commercial breaks throughout the week also unfavorably mentioned gays. One of them implied that a host of another Albuquerque sports radio show is homosexual.

During a commercial break on July 9, a promo said: "Don't like `The Morning Show?' Turn the dial and (bleeped out) yourself." When the show returned from that break, Glasgow began yelling.

"I want all of you fat, gay homos who don't like the show to take the advice (of the promo)," he said. "If you're fat or you're gay or both, don't listen."

Later in that same show, Glasgow requested that listeners calling in to play "Trivial Pursuit Tuesdays" identify their sexual orientation. When callers didn't, he hung up on them.

Friday's show included a call-in game called "Name That Tune: The Gay '80s." Glasgow again asked callers to identify their sexual orientation, and when somebody correctly named a song, Glasgow said, "We have a gay winner."

Glasgow and Martin spent most of their air time last week discussing issues in baseball, such as the All-Star Game tie, steroids and Albuquerque's new Triple-A team. But other topics mentioned during the week included flatulence, sex acts involving urination, urinating in coffee and pornography.

Proffitt, the national executive for Citadel, acknowledged that such remarks would be inappropriate on KKOB-AM (770), another Citadel-owned Albuquerque station. KKOB has 50,000 watts of power, can be heard in 17 states and is the nation's seventh-most powerful station.

"KOB is not a total sports station that has that kind of mentality," Proffitt said. "That's not the type of stuff for our (KKOB) target demographic, which tends to be more of an adult audience oriented more toward issues. I don't think that would be appropriate."

Proffitt said KNML, an all-sports station heard statewide, is targeted at a young male audience.

Both Proffitt and Benedetti said Glasgow was free to talk with The Tribune for this story. Glasgow declined on Monday, saying "I would recommend you not write this story" and later hanging up on the reporter. On Tuesday, The Tribune left him a message, which he did not return. Martin also declined to comment.

On KNML's Web site, Glasgow is quoted discussing the goals of his show. "People want to laugh in the morning," he says, "and if we make them chuckle a few times . . . and give them an interesting interview or two, we've done our job."

On Tuesday, the day after Glasgow learned The Tribune was pursuing a story on his on-air remarks, the show contained no homophobic comments. The first sentence Glasgow said on the show was "Gays, lesbians and heterosexuals are welcome to join us today."

Glasgow's remarks last week are offensive, said Cyd Zeigler, who runs a Web site targeted at gay and lesbian sports fans.

This form of homophobia is common in sports radio, said Zeigler, president of Outsports.com, based in Los Angeles. Zeigler has not listened to "The Morning Show," but The Tribune read quotes to him over the telephone.

Zeigler suggested substituting racial slurs for the word "homo" as a way of showing how Glasgow's remarks wouldn't be tolerated if he targeted another group for ridicule.

"The sports media does not want to address homosexuality in a serious way," Zeigler said. "And sports radio is the lowest common denominator in sports media.

"Why do they have to say `homo'?" Zeigler continued. "Somebody listening to that radio station is gay. Lots of people listening to it are gay. This just sends them deeper into the closet and represses that sexuality more and more."

Benedetti acknowledged that the off-color excerpts concerned him but said people have different senses of humor.

"There are all kinds of things some people may find humorous that some people may not, that some people find offensive that others may not," he said.

"We are certainly not out to offend people. We also don't tell people what they can and cannot discuss unless it becomes a major problem."

Tribune reporter Jeff Carlton has been a guest host on "Prep Sports Weekly" on KNML three times. He was paid for those appearances.