Barrow radio station drops Native program

Posted: Sunday, September 03, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Radio station KBRW in Barrow has dropped the national ''Native America Calling'' program. Station managers say they disapprove of language heard on the call-in show.

''The show was pulled because there were six uses of profanity on Aug. 17 and because of the producer's failure to stop that from happening,'' said Steve Hamlin, KBRW general manager.

''Native America Calling'' is aired Monday through Thursday on about 40 stations throughout Alaska, the Lower 48 and Canada. The show, aired out of Albuquerque, N.M., focuses mainly on Native news and issues.

The show that caused problems in Barrow featured Brad Blanton, a guest discussing his book, ''Radical Honesty.''

About 45 minutes into the hourlong show, Hamlin said he'd heard enough foul language and pulled the plug. Music was broadcast instead.

''I have never heard a program with that level of profanity,'' he said. ''Me and my staff were stunned.''

But listener Doreen Simmonds said some people don't want to lose access to the news and views offered by the show just because of some swear words.

''There are a lot of issues on that show have become important to me throughout the years that I've become a stronger woman,'' Simmonds said.

Issues such as a recent show on fetal alcohol syndrome, she said, directly relates to her life. Simmonds adopted a 12-year-old boy afflicted with FAS.

Simmonds and a couple of friends went out and gathered more than 100 signatures to give to the radio station's board asking that the show be returned.

Hamlin said he wanted an apology from the show's producers and assurances this would not happen again.

''We want the producer of this program to assure that they will not allow this to continue,'' he said. ''We are in contact with them and are waiting for them to do what we asked.''

The situation seems to be in a stalemate.

Valerie Taliman, an associate producer at ''Native America Calling'', sent a written apology to KBRW's board of directors and suggested discussions on how to get the show back on the Barrow airwaves.

She also offered an on-air apology to the audience, and said she would have the offending author do the same.

''When I talked to (Blanton) before the show, he didn't seem like someone who would do this,'' she said. ''During the show, he was told to watch his language, immediately our people intervened but it wasn't enough.''

Simmonds has vowed to keep up the fight to get the show back on Barrow's airwaves.

''I think Mr. Hamlin is being narrow-minded,'' Simmonds said. ''This is so unfair.''

Hamlin could not be reached by phone Saturday afternoon.

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