Wednesday, June 2, 2010

UPDATE: WTVN Apologizes On-Air

The Ohio Action Circle has been awaiting an apology from 610 WTVN in response to the community reaction against their offensive promotional contest "Win a Trip to Phoenix, Arizona."

A short time ago, an apology aired during a commercial break in which General Manager Brian Dytko addressed the situation.

The OAC would like to hear from you, the community members.
What is your opinion of the apology? What do you think is the appropriate response? Please leave your comments below.

Below you'll find the audio and the transcript of WTVN's apology. The .mp3 file is also available for download here.



Transcript:
This is Brian Dytko, Station Manager of WTVN with a message regarding our station’s recent “Win a Trip to Phoenix, Arizona” promotional contest. Our contest was meant as a humorous response to a City of Columbus ban on travel to Arizona by city employees. In fact, a key element of the promotion was that city employees were specifically invited to enter the contest. We regret that our promotional copy has been characterized as condoning violence. This was not our intent, and we do not condone violence of any kind. We apologize for our actions here. We are always striving to engage our community on important issues of the day and sometimes we do a better job than others, but we always take the input of our community seriously.

19 comments:

  1. I was disappointed when I heard the apology. In my phone conversation earlier in the day, he was more personal and went into more than regretting that "our promotion copy has been characterized as condoning violence".

    It appears he gave as much of an apology has he could legally.

    I do want to hear peoples opinions!!

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  2. This is as good as you are going to get. Unless you want an enemy in the future, give them a path to an honorable retreat. Time to take the high road and graciously acknowledge the apology. Hard feelings won't accomplish anything.
    Sean McGovern

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  3. Thanks for all the time you put into this, Ruben. Let us know if we can help in the future.

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  4. It does not seem to be a sincere apology. As a matter of fact this is the second time ClearChannel plays this game that can only be described as anti-immigrant towards the hispanic community. Almost two years ago LULAC requested a similar apology when the Don Juan billboard campaign emerged in Cinci. We need to follow up with a stronger approach so as for them to understand the definition of a true "apology."

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  5. I am a little disappointed in the apology. Dytko claims the ad was directed against the City Of Columbus' ban on official travel to Arizona, but he does not explain why there were Latino references in the promotion, such as the use of Spanish words and mariachi music, nor does he apologize for the discriminatory language against migrants such as "chasing aliens," "green card," and "where illegals are scared." I however am willing to accept WTVN's mea culpa as step in a positive direction.

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  6. I am proud of everyone's efforts and applaud you all for the petition, for organizing and speaking up. Regarding the apology: I believe that the station missed addressing that it was inappropriate since it promoted intolerance, racism and in general was anti-immigrant. Hopefully your meeting will go well and I am sure that your efforts are making a difference.

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  7. I am pleased that Clear Channel issued an apology, but I agree that the apology did not address the core issue of racism and intolerance. For me, the racism was the greatest concern. I would not expect people to be speaking like this publicly, about any ethnic group, and certainly not in the form of a radio contest. WTVN should be ashamed.

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  8. In the interview he gave to the Dispatch he said he would not issue out an apology, "Elliott said the station does not plan to apologize. He disagreed that the promotion contained racial overtones. 'It comes down to the word illegal for me. It's not a race thing. It's a legal thing," he said. "If you're breaking the law, it doesn't matter where you're from.'". Here he focuses on the "violence" portion and does not ever mention the core issue of relevance to us. Assuming the mindset of a manager interested in the well being of his "station" and considering how "conservative" this station is and their stand on the Arizona law, I can rationalize his careful "apology", but I am dissapointed because he didn't have the guts to come out and say that what he did (or approved) was wrong for the more obvious reason. In other words, it feels to me that this is a way of getting us off his back while not entirely giving in (and risk coming off as weak) to his supporters. As Sean mentioned, a part of me believes that we do need to give them a path to an honorable retreat, but on the other hand, our opposition managed to fuel our cause, but also fueled theirs, gave them higher ratings (from those curious to see what was going on and who normally don't listen in), more clicks, supporter attention, a National platform---and although I'm Ok with "accepting" a sorry ass apology, I'm not 100% content with our ROI. On the positive side, I'm happy the effort got them to budge, even if they were forced; now let's take this quickly and turn it to our advantage. It's all about the numbers...well no...to the common folk (like them) it's all about perception. We can really use this result to make others aware of how dangerous this mindset can be. Thank you again.

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  9. I agree with the comments already posted above, that his apology misses the point by focusing on "violence" in the absence of racial/ethnic intolerance, dehumanization, and hatred. His words also indicate that they don't regret the content of the promotional copy, just the ways in which it has been (wrongfully, in their opinion) characterized. These people get a D for self-reflexivity. Boo.

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  10. It sounds like the kind of apology I give when I secretly think I'm still right. I'm not surprised because I'm sure they are begrudgingly doing what their lawyers have told them is the safe thing, but we haven't changed their hearts/minds. I think it's fine to tell them it was unsatisfactory and try for better understanding, but I don't think asking them for more will get us anywhere. Perhaps now is a good time to change the strategy. Ask another station to run a promotion at a sister station to come to Columbus :)

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  11. An apology is just that.....it does not change what has been said and done.
    Some media members just go too far with their bad taste jokes and they forget that they are just making big fools of themselves. Regretful embarrassment I hope?

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  12. I agree that this is not a real apology, but it is more that what the manager of the station said he was going to do. So, it is a win for all the people who worked really hard to bring this issue to the attention of everybody.
    My suggestion is to issue a Press Release "accepting" the apology and warning the hate mongers that we are watching and we will do what ever is necessary to hold them accountable for their misdeeds.
    The station manager didn't want to apologize but he had to. Lets make a big noise about the fact that he had to give up his "we are not going to apologize" attitude.

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  13. Thanks for your efforts but realize that this is as good of an apology as you will get as it is simply a legal statement to cover their tails from any legal action. Most Latinos don't listen to Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity or Levin, and since no one at WTVN is running for public office they have no reason to be concerned about our feelings or opinions.

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  14. I took the offer seriously and found it reprehensible because it seems to promote both ridicule of and hostility toward undocumented workers and their families. Do we really need to whip up fears of the Other ?

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  15. This apology is so vague that we could make up a million incidents that he might be referring to. Thank you legal department! Given your conversation with the manager, I would assume he had at least a shred of sincerity talking to you and call it a day.

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  16. I was disappointed in the apology but I guess it's better than nothing.....nice work guys!

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  17. I think you are all being too kind. The problem is not "violence" or condoning it (as several people have pointed out). The problem is that there is a hostile climate in which such comments can be made. The fact that even public officials, let alone radio commentators, make such racist and discriminatory comments is outrageous. Although this has happened historically to all immigrant groups, it's nevertheless inexcusable and violates principles on which our country was founded.

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