There has been a lot of discussion about the decision to cancel Guilty Pleasures With Gruno since it was announced. We didn't want to have to go public with all the details, as we didn't want to air our dirty laundry publicly. However, I guess we were a bit naive in thinking that way. So I will attempt to explain as best I can.
First of all, I agree with everything Gruno's supporters said regarding what made his show different and special, and it was for those very reasons we wanted him on The Dividing Line in the first place. Imagine - a show on a Prog station featuring a guy who hates Prog. It had been a hit when he guested on PapaJ's Matinee. Yes, he contributed a lot toward the station's success and for that we are truly grateful. The decision to cancel his show was not made easily, and did not happen overnight.
During his entire tenure we would receive complaints about his abrasive nature from listeners, and even DJ's every now and then. Each time, we decided to take no action because, as was pointed out by some of you, this is one of the things that attracted people to his show...the fact that he was unpredictable and often irreverent. As the station grew came greater responsibilities with respect to the how to maintain the image we wanted to project to the music industry and our listeners. We were no longer the little "private club" on some obscure outpost on the Internet. Eyes were on us, and if we wished to continue to grow and be respected in the industry, we had to make sure there were certain lines we did not cross.
So we created a carefully written code of ethics and asked all of our DJs to familiarize themselves with it and tell us they agreed with everything in it. The response was unanimously in favour of it. It was not designed to censor anyone beyond what is generally considered acceptable for this medium, so it is fairly liberal.
I should also point out that in broadcasting there is a generally accepted distinction between what is said in a recorded work and what is said by an on-air personality. In the recorded work whatever is said is considered to be said "in context" and can often be much stronger than what the on-air personality says.
A few weeks ago we learned that one evening while broadcasting Gruno had sung over top of a song he was playing, and changed the words to mention things like sucking cocks, taking it in the ass, cunts, taking dumps, and gang banging. We received a complaint about this, and we agreed this crossed the line. Most of our listeners are pretty thick skinned, and even if they took offence to some of the things Gruno did, they'd get over it. This is why we hadn't acted on previous complaints. But we don't want to project the image of rank amateurs to potential music industry contacts, and in more recent times we were experiencing increased activity along those lines. We get sent pre-release material from labels and artists on a regular basis, due to the professional manner of the station. I doubt those same artists would like to hear their songs being played with one of the DJ' s singing along with dirty lyrics. So we sent him a message asking him to tone it down. While he didn't like receiving the message, he replied that he would tone it down.
As you know, on December 22nd he decided to get drunk while doing his show. Things deteriorated rapidly toward the end, and he basically did a repeat performance of the previous show. In fact, he took it a few steps farther with a guest of his making a racial slur. Remember, every broadcaster agreed to follow some guidelines on what is all right to broadcast and what is going too far.
We felt like our hands were tied. What else could we do? We feel like we are at a loss right now. We know there is a lot of unhappiness with this decision and we don't know what other solution there is. How can Gruno and the Dividing Line both coexist in an environment that both sides are happy with? We really don't know what else we can do.