SLAYING IS TALK OF AIRWAVES (June 20, 1984)

SLAYING IS TALK OF AIRWAVES
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Miami Herald, The (FL) June 20, 1984
Author: LINDA R. THORNTON And NERY YNCLAN Herald Staff Writers

South Florida’s talk-show hosts had some grim fodder for their radio
shows Tuesday night — the murder in Denver of one of their colleagues.

The local radio waves were buzzing.

The brutal slaying of Alan Berg left South Florida talk- show
personalities saddened and shaken, yet determined not to let such episodes deter
them from expressing their often controversial, frequently strident opinions on
the air.

“I’m not going to temper anything I say,” Neil Rogers of WINZ told his
listeners. “I’m going to speak my piece because it’s my job.”

Rogers and other talk-show hosts used their shows to assure listeners
they were not scared and would continue voicing their opinions as usual.

Listeners responded to such comments with warnings.

“I wish you wouldn’t always reveal where you live,” one caller told
Rogers on the air. “I hope there aren’t any copycats out there.

“Just stay well,” the caller said.

Steve Kane of WNWS, who also made the Berg shooting the topic of his
show, said he was touched by the well wishes of some his listeners.

“Tolerance and intolerance of opinion is the topic,” Kane said on his
show. “I’m encouraged by some of the callers.”

Kane, whose aggressive on-air personality routinely leads to heated
discussions with listeners, had never met Berg, though both men were featured on
a recent 60 Minutes segment about controversial talk-show hosts.

Earlier, off the air, Kane said of the shooting: “It’s a terrible thing,
but I suppose it’s a risk you run in this business. I guess, like the famous
Willy Loman line, it goes with the territory. I get threats sometimes on the
air, but I figure those who call in aren’t the ones who would do anything about it.

“You can’t be afraid, you can’t hold back because you’re afraid of the
consequences, or else you’re finished in this business.”

Still, WINZ program director David Hosley said, several of the on-air
personalities at the North Dade station carry some sort of weapon for
protection.

“As a nonviolent person, I was concerned about this (station employees
carrying weapons), but I kind of understand that now,” he said.

Bill Calder, host of WINZ’s 12:30 to 5 a.m. weeknight talk show,
considers himself a “light and fluffy air personality,” but said he still felt
frightened by the Berg tragedy.

“It’s scary. Looking at it selfishly, I do a show I consider to be
noncontroversial, and even I’ve had bizarre phone calls and letters,” said
Calder.

“When it hits that close to home, you begin to think. If you’re going to
do that kind of show, you come to expect death threats. But I can’t imagine
anyone on either side of the fence — either the host or the caller — taking
something that seriously. After all, it’s just a radio show; it’s not a way of
life.”

photo: Neil Rogers
Memo: see related story from 1AEdition: FINAL Section: FRONT Page: 7A
Index Terms: MD REACTION MURDER CELEBRITY SIDEBAR COLORADO Record Number:
8402150256 Copyright (c) 1984 The Miami Herald

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