SiriusXN Shock Jock Loses Job Over Racist Tweet

By @ibtimesau on
Radio broadcast
Wanahmad Wankuejik, director of the community radio station Media Selatan, broadcasts at his studio in Pattani June 5, 2014, one of three southernmost provinces of Thailand where government troops have fought Muslim separatist since 2004. The war has killed more than 6,000 people. The Thai military closed Media Selatan and thousands of other radio stations when it seized power in a May 22 coup. Many journalists and activists in southern Thailand fear the military will use the coup to roll back on their hard-won freedoms. Picture taken June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew RC Marshall (THAILAND - Tags: MEDIA CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

Many shock jocks probably think their listeners have grown immune to their strong language and talk teetering on verbal abuse.

Last week, a shock jock who belongs to a duo known as the Greatest Shock Jocks of All the Time was fired by SiriusXN for his hate-filled tweets. Anthony Cumia, one half of the famous radio duo Opie & Anthony, had a confrontation with an unidentified woman in Times Square, reports The Escapist.

The racist tweets he posted stemmed from the confrontation with the woman who didn't like being included in the frame of a photo that Cumia was taking. The jock said they had an argument and several men allegedly assaulted him on behalf of the woman.

The incident led to Cumia posting several profane tweets that had sexual and racial slurs since the woman and the men who assaulted him are black. The angry tweets led to more exchanges on the microblogging site, touching on sensitive issues and other subjects, prompting satellite radio provider SiriusXM to fire Cumia.

Cumia and Hughes had actually been involved in problems because of their shock jock style of broadcasting. In 1998, they mistakenly reported the Boston city mayor died as an April Fool's Day stunt, and they were fired by station WAAF. In 2002, the duo were involved in a public sex scavenger hunt game that led to the arrest of a couple in St Patrick's Cathedral for lewdness, costing them a syndicated gig New York's WNEW.

In 2007, the pair was suspended because of an interview where there were graphic references to sexually assaulting then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush.

SiriusXM, which has been broadcasting Opie & Anthony since 2004, explained the firing of Cumia on Thursday to the jock's behaviour being "wholly inconsistent with what SiriusXM represents.

About 6,000 supporters of Cumia signed an online petition asking SiriusXM to bring back Cumia to the air. For his part, the shock jock has deleted his recent tweets, including one that was critical of SiriusXM for firing him even if the tweets were not broadcast and wasn't illegal.

Whether SiriusXM would be influenced by the online petition or not remains to be seen.

Shock jocks, by the way they discuss topics, would have high chances of being fired because of the controversy they often generate. Fortunately for shock jocks, the choice where to air their view is no longer limited to traditional radio made up of AM and FM stations which often have stricter control over the airwaves to comply with government regulations.

They now have the choice of podcasting, digital radio or to tap platforms for their voices to be heard again.

Of course, these options are also open to other people who need not be controversy-laden. They could just be groups or enterprises that may want to give their advocacy or ideas a stronger push.

When it comes to platforms, one option is a delivery platform from Audioboom Group PLC (LSE: BOOM.L).

Audioboom, which offers a Software as a Service platform that allows straightforward upload or download of content, has positioned itself as the global leader in spoken audio content, or the audio equivalent of the YouTube, the most popular video sharing site.

The UK-based publicly listed company is the provider of social media platform for audio producers to record either live or from the studio, upload and share audio by syndication and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

At present, Audioboom has about 2,000 content channels from the initial 19 channels during the platform's launch in March 2013, said Rob Proctor, company CEO. Audioboom currently has 2.5 million registered users and 12 to13 million monthly active users across platforms.

YouTube/The Young Turks

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