An unrepentant Sam Allred said Saturday that an on-air comment Thursday morning about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama wasn’t racist because he was trying to mock a “foolish-sounding remark” made by U.S. Sen. Joe Biden.
Allred and co-host Bob Cole were discussing Obama, D-Ill., between 7 and 7:30 a.m. on the Sam & Bob morning radio show on KVET (98.1 FM) when the conversation turned to comments made by Biden several weeks ago.
“He’s clean is what what’s-his-name said. Joe Biden told us that,” Cole said.
“Clean darky,” Allred said
Cole immediately exclaimed, “Sammy!” The show then cut to commercial.
Allred was not on the air Friday morning, and several people familiar with the situation said he had been suspended for a week and will meet with station management Monday.
Reached by telephone Saturday, Allred first vehemently denied that anything controversial was said on the Thursday show. In a later interview, he said the outcry about the remark was hard to figure out.
He had declared his support for Obama earlier in the program, Allred said.
Asked whether he regretted using the phrase, Allred replied, “I always regret a misunderstanding, yeah.”
Does he consider himself free of racial prejudice?
“Of course, of course,” Allred said. “That is such a stupid question in this day and time.”
Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he has received about 30 calls since Friday from people complaining about the comment. One woman filed a formal complaint with the NAACP, Linder said.
“Once we have talked to them, we’re going to address the FCC based on their response,” Linder said, referring to the Federal Communications Commission. That agency has jurisdiction over broadcasting and periodically review stations’ licenses for renewal.
Neither Allred nor KVET General Manager Pamela McKay would discuss whether Allred had been suspended. McKay said it is the station’s policy not to comment on employee matters.
Allred has made a career out of using broad humor that often touches on race. It is a common occurrence on the morning show for him to refer to “white trash,” for example. He and Cole have been a morning team on KVET, which plays country music, since 1990.