Things Get Worse for Radio Host Who Used Epithet

Belleville News-Democrat (Ill.), March 24, 2006

ST. LOUIS—If Wednesday was rough for fired talk show host David Lenihan, Thursday didn’t get much better. He was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by shock jock Howard Stern, who informed him he was on the air.

Stern wanted Lenihan to discuss his firing Wednesday for using a racial epithet in describing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Lenihan had the morning show on St. Louis radio station KTRS.

“Howard Stern was most upset about it,” Lenihan said. “He told me to . . . sue these people. He said this is moronic.”

To top it off, Lenihan was suspended Thursday from his job at Logan College of Chiropractic, where he’s taught anatomy and neuroanatomy since September 2004.

Most of the day, Lenihan took calls from the media. A few white supremacists called him too.

Lenihan also got a call from associates of Larry Elder, a nationally syndicated, black conservative talk show host, who invited him for an interview.

Elder told The Associated Press that he suspects Lenihan morphed the words “coup” and “boon” to come up with “coon.” He said prominent blacks have made disparaging remarks about Rice and gotten away with it, and feels Lenihan’s firing was unfounded.

{snip}

KTRS president and general manager Tim Dorsey fired Lenihan on Wednesday, 20 minutes after he twice used the word “coon,” a racial slur. Both Dorsey and Lenihan have maintained that Lenihan was trying to say “coup” in describing Rice’s attributes for the commissioner’s job.

Dorsey reiterated Thursday that use of the word was “completely uncalled for and grounds for dismissal.

{snip}

After several calls from listeners on the subject, Lenihan said this on the air:

“She’s been chancellor of Stanford. She’s got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She’s African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon. Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that.

“I didn’t mean that. It was just a slip of the tongue. She’s definitely got all the attributes to be commissioner. I’m really sorry about that.”

{snip}

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