Fort Worth city council member Joel Burns's "It Gets Better" speech, delivered in front of the city council last month, proved an inspiration to countless picked-on gay kids across the country -- Ellen DeGeneres too. Turns out, there was at least one person who didn't dig it: KLIF's Chris Krok, whose eight-minute homophobic screed, much of it delivered in a lisp, didn't begin making the rounds till only a few days ago. At which point the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation got involved: On Monday it called none other than Jeff Catlin, operations manager for Cumulus Media Dallas, and demanded an explanation -- and an apology. Reports GLAAD:
The conversation was a productive one; Catlin both understands and shares our concern. As the person who oversees KLIF, Catlin acknowledged that he has the "responsibility to be responsible" for what airs on the station.
Without going into detail, Catlin said that he spoke with Krok and that he was disciplined shortly after the segment aired. He also pointed out that Krok has not spoken about this since then.
After speaking with GLAAD, Catlin also realizes the need to issue some sort of on-air apology. He wants Krok (who's out of the office until tomorrow) to be "part of the solution." To that end GLAAD, Catlin and Krok will meet on Wednesday morning to discuss what such a solution will look like. We'll be certain to let you know in advance so you can be sure to tune-in.
A few minutes ago, I called Catlin to find out what happened. (Updated with audio after the jump.)
He says he actually spoke to Krok about the incident on October 20, the day after the segment originally aired. But Krok didn't apologize on-air at the time, and, Catlin says, the station received no complaints. "I don't have a problem with these guys having opinions, but I felt the way he presented his opinion was insensitive," says Catlin, who also oversees The Ticket and KPLX.
But after the rant made the rounds at the end of last week, Catlin says, he received some 500 to 600 e-mails of complaint. And after discussions with GLAAD, Catlin again spoke to Krok, who apologized on-air yesterday.
"I didn't dictate to him what he should say," Catlin says. "He felt that he needed to address it as well. And I thought he was very humble, contrite and honest. He didn't apologize for his opinion -- he still feels the way he did -- but he felt he was too insensitive, and it got too personal, and he can do better than that. It became all about him, and his opinion was lost."
Here, as promised, is the audio from yesterday's show, as provided by Catlin: