FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 4, 2003
Contact: Ward Mullens
WEMU FIRES RADIO SHOW HOST
YPSILANTI - WEMU-FM, Eastern Michigan Universitys public radio
station fired radio host Terry Hughes, also known as Thayrone, April
2 for violating station policy and refusing to follow the station managers
Hughes, host of The Bone Conduction Music Program (BCMP) refused to air segments
of National Public Radio news during his show and repeatedly voiced personal
political opinions despite managements warnings that by do so he was directly
violating station policy.
We respect his right to his opinion, and have defended him in the past,
said Art Timko, WEMU station manager. But refusing to air the news and
remaining defiant in his position put us in an untenable position.
There are standards that every person in the media must follow and he
simply did not do that. He refused to air news segments and inserted his opinion
into a music show, said Timko.
WEMU postponed its spring on-air fundraiser over concern that listeners were
appropriately focused on the world situation. Part of WEMUs decision to
make this adjustment was to include five-minute news updates during all local
programs. This included BCMS," Timko said. It is the obligation of
staff to broadcast those items which are included in the stations official
schedule, said Timko. Not only were the newscasts not broadcast
during the program, but listeners were also encouraged to watch Fox News in
place of listening to NPR news.
The policy of limiting commentary by reporters is not unusual. Recently, Peter Arnett, a foreign correspondent for NBC, MSNBC and National Geographic, was fired because he stated personal opinions about the war on Iraqi television.
According to a statement released by National Public Radio, NPR adheres
to the journalist standards of presenting accurate, fair and objective reporting
of all events that shape the world. We firmly believe that news coverage should
be aired separately from personal opinion. It is unfortunate that Mr. Hughes
stepped over that line and used public radio as a vehicle to air his own political
opinions. We stand behind the stations right to uphold its appropriate
journalistic practice of keeping personal opinions separate from objective news
We are a public radio station so we must be balanced in our presentation
of the news and objective in its delivery. If we do not do that, it compromises
not only our integrity, but that of National Public Radio, Timko said.
It unfortunate that Hughes is attempting to make this a first amendment issue when it is clear that this is about his on-going refusal to follow station policy, said Timko.