Mike Rosen's use of racial slurs during KOA show appropriate, says Clear Channel exec

Categories: Media

Thumbnail image for mike rosen photo cropped.JPG
Mike Rosen.
Update below: An item on the DenverRadio.net message board reveals that last week, veteran KOA radio host Mike Rosen used a variety of racial slurs on the air -- and claimed that his new boss, Greg Foster, head of AM programming for Clear Channel's Denver cluster of stations, gave him permission to do so. But Foster, who's been on the job for just over a week, says this post misses the reason for Rosen's comments, which he feels were appropriate.

Here's an excerpt from the DenverRadio.net item in question:

Listen to AM talk radio??? Mike Rosen last week said his new boss Greg Foster said it was OKAY to say the word "nigger" on-air... And Rosen did, adding "kike," "spic," "chink," "dego" and "wop" to his blow torch oratory...

Left out of this account was Rosen's subject matter: He was discussing the impending release of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer sans numerous terms: "Nigger" will be replaced with "slave," "half-breed" with "half-blood" and "Injun Joe" with "Indian Joe."

"It was definitely in the context of a legitimate news story," Foster points out. "He was talking about the controversy and the sanitizing of Huckleberry Finn for today's world. Political correctness has changed things over the years, and to use that word" -- nigger -- "in the context it was originally written and intended wasn't inappropriate for Mike to do on the radio."

Foster adds that Rosen also referenced Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, penned by Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy -- and the conversation didn't stir the audience's ire.

"We had absolutely zero response from Mike's listeners," Foster says. "They realize that he wasn't using the words to tantalize listeners. He was using it in the proper context, and he was using it appropriately."

Update, 2:28 p.m.: Just spoke with Mike Rosen about this post, and he provided additional details about the portion of his program in which he discussed the changes being made in new editions of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. On the air, he shared an anecdote about an African-American man who asked the publisher of the Merriam-Webster dictionary to remove the word "nigger" from the book because it was offensive. The publisher responded that the word is part of the English language and was clearly marked as derogatory slang -- hence its inclusion.

Rosen then went on to note that derogatory slang terms for other ethnic groups mentioned in the DenverRadio.net comment above are also published in the dictionary.

In Rosen's view, talking about a subject like censoring Mark Twain classics without mentioning the specific words is "infantile," especially considering that the FCC allows such usage as long as it's not gratuitous. Given that I work for Westword, which regularly publishes profanities and the like in quotes and descriptions in the name of journalistic accuracy and free expression, I'd have to agree.

For a more detailed look at this issue, check out the August 2000 Message column "Words Get in the Way," which examined reporting about the alleged use of the word "nigger" by then-Denver Broncos star Bill Romanowski.

More from our Media archive: "Mike Rosen slams David Sirota for distorting his 'satirical' mosque-destruction comment."


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
Eric
Eric

Rosen's been inflammatory for years.

The difference now is that he's getting old and he's not capable of the critical thinking necessary to pull off depicable and unacceptable radio and passing it off as acceptable any more.

His new boss got taken on this one, and no doubt will hear about it from some koa muckity muck, but what's done is done.

When Mike lost 2 debates in a matter of months to Sirota, despite having TWO partners helping him during the second, he needed to reevaluate his ability to be effective as a radio personality. Or at least his family members should have counseled him to modify his nasty on air personality.

10 years ago, Rosen was formidible. Quick, light on his feet mentally, and posessing great anticipation, he was a tough out. Listening to him now, fumbling through attempted insults and losing arguments when "mr. hold button" isn't available, it almost makes you feel sorry for the old fool.

Almost..

Me
Me

"You're agenda"??? Thank you, Sirstv, for proving my point about conservatives' illiteracy.

Victoria Morrison Maxwell
Victoria Morrison Maxwell

I think that if they are going to "ban" such words in a CLASSIC book, it should be banned in music as well, most notably those horrible rap songs. Concurrently, if the word "nigger" is considered "hate speech" it should be considered such regardless of the race of the person uttering it. Fair is fair...right? I am so damn tired of racial double standards.

Bob Shaw
Bob Shaw

No, Gringo, those words were used by Rosen and are re-quoted in Roberts' story. I quoted them from the story as evidence that Rosen's aim wasn't what he and his boss said it was.

Gringo Whiteycracker
Gringo Whiteycracker

Wow and you took this opportunity to throw out some of your personal favorite racial slurs and tasteless insults of your own ,,didn't you Bob ?

Bob Shaw
Bob Shaw

Michael Roberts, I cannot believe you fell for this drivel without question. The words "kike," "spic," "chink," "dago" and "wop" do not occur in Mark Twain's writing. Rosen was simply using the Huck Finn controversy as an excuse to push the envelope with tasteless words that would make his knuckle-dragging listeners salivate, and his boss had cover at the ready that you didn't even challenge. This is the same Rosen who blatantly advocated an act of terrorism against the Ground Zero mosque, and then covered himself by claiming it was said all in fun. Once again, Teflon Mike gets away with an outrage, and even the "alternative media" kisses his ass. Be a journalist for once instead of a toadie, Mr. Roberts!

Beavis
Beavis

Mike Rosen used racial slurs? Mike Rosen is a racial slur.

Bullfrogsnavy
Bullfrogsnavy

I heard that broadcast, i AM a black man, Mike did NOTHING wrong. Too many PC wimpy assed lib folks out there stirring up trouble

tonio rocciano

Me
Me

"We had absolutely zero response from Mike's listeners," Foster says. "They realize that he wasn't using the words to tantalize listeners. He was using it in the proper context, and he was using it appropriately."

Yeah, right. Rosen's blue-collar white listeners use the word themselves, and were tickled pink that one of their fellow travelers did it on the air.

Foster, you'll recall, comes to Denver from Salt Lake City, where the only blacks allowed in are players for Brigham Young and the Jazz.

sirstv
sirstv

no, I believe it was to fit you're agenda. You racist!!

Me
Me

"Pertinant"? In reading many, many threads since Saturday, it seems that 95 percent of the spelling errors come from conservatives.

Bullfrogsnavy
Bullfrogsnavy

Bull crap, you slobbering two faced liberals are always whining. Let ME as a proud black man (not african American) deal with issues that are pertinant to MY people.

Me
Me

Oh, and "wimpy-assed" should have been hyphenated because it's being used as an adjective.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...