Connoisseur Media is giving into the pressure. It is expected to announce that Steve Harper is losing his managerial role at WKJY 98.3, effective Monday. Multiple sources confirm to Tuned In that Harper will retain his morning show duties.
We’re told that afternoon jock Jon Daniels will be named the station’s program director.
The decision by Connoisseur comes as Long Island watchdog Fair Media Council chose not to withdraw their complaint with the FCC.
As we reported last month, Harper and his morning cohort, Leeana Karlson made headlines for fabricating a bit involving angry anti-gay remarks. Harper wrote on the station’s website thereafter that the hoax was to created to push the hot-button topic upon the public.
The duo was suspended for a week.
Attempts to reach GM Dave Widmer, Daniels, and Harper were not returned.
It’s the radio stunt heard ’round the world. With WKJY morning hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson suspended until further notice, the Fair Media Council has weighed in.
The organization has filed a complaint with the FCC demanding the hosts be terminated. Harper is also the station’s program director.
As we reported, the duo came under fire for faking an on-air bit last week about a birthday party for a seven-year-old girl with two dads. However, a mother’s RSVP was posted on the station’s Facebook page, angrily saying her son would not be permitted to attend the party.
Harper later released a statement on their website that fell short of an apology, but said he was trying to stimulate conversation on such a hot button topic.
But Fair Media Council executive director Jaci Clement tells Tuned In there is no silver lining for this story.
“It underscores all that’s wrong in media today, embarrasses Long Island with this uneducated, sophomoric publicity attempt and furthers an unfortunate stereotype,” Clement adds. “Where is the good in creating hurt?”
In the wake of the controversial on-air staged bit at WKJY/98.3, morning show hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson have had their mics turned off indefinitely.
As we reported over the weekend, Harper, who doubles as the station PD, and Karlson created an online whirlwind after a fake stunt about a same-sex family and a mother’s outrage.
GM Dave Widmer tells Tuned In that the pair have been suspended “until further notice.”
Visitors to the WKJY website were greeted by a “technical difficulties” disclaimer Monday. But a message from management says, “An internal investigation was quickly launched which has resulted in the immediate suspension of Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson from the K-98.3 Morning Show.”
But there is a message from management on the page from Widmer.
“K-98.3 has been serving Long Island for over 25 years and we respect the important role we play in the lives of our listeners. We deeply value our relationship with our listeners and are committed to providing them with the highest level of service because they deserve the very best. I sincerely apologize for the actions of Steve and Leeana, their insensitivity to the hurt it may have caused anyone, and for the breach of trust these actions have caused.”
Gays and lesbians have made strides toward equality in recent years. But it’s still a big story when someone notable “comes out of the closet.” Just last week, All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam made headlines by announcing he’s gay. Despite inroads by the LGBT community, gay rights remains a sensitive subject.
Long Island radio station WKJY created a hot button topic by staging a controversial hoax.
This week, the station’s morning team of Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson posted a story on their Facebook page about a boy from Baldwin, N.Y., having a birthday party next month. The page showed the invitation to the boy’s party and a mother’s angry R.S.V.P.
Scrawled at the bottom, sides and back of the invite, the mom wrote: “Tommy will NOT attend. I do not beleive [sic] in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle.'” The ramblings continued with the mother saying, “If you have an issue or need to speak to me…” and added her phone number.
The story is getting the attention of many outlets and websites locally and overseas.
Under fire, Harper, who is also WKJY’s program director, and Karlson posted an apology on the station’s website Friday saying they faked the story “to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic.”
Instead, the hosts got swept up in a firestorm.