97 Rock fires rest of morning show after racist on-air comments

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — More employees at 97 Rock have been fired after racist remarks were made on the air last month.

News 4 has learned “Morning Bull” co-hosts Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein have also been terminated, as well as programming director John Hager.

Former co-host Rob Lederman was fired on March 24 while Gaenzler and Klein were initially suspended. That day, Lederman compared how he likes his toast to women’s skin tones during the morning show and also used a racial slur.

Cumulus Media confirmed the additional departures later Wednesday, saying in a statement: “Upon further consideration following the racist incident that occurred on The Morning Bull Show, we decided to terminate the whole morning show in addition to the Program Director.”

The comments cost 97 Rock advertising dollars from numerous sponsors, including Roswell Park and West Herr Automotive Group. They drew scorn both locally and nationally, from Buffalo mayor Byron Brown to actress Halle Berry, who was referenced in the segment.

Lederman later told News 4 he didn’t realize how hurtful his remarks were until he listened to them after the show.

“As soon as I saw the words in print, and as soon as I heard them on a recording, I was like ‘that sounded awful,'” he said.

97 Rock’s DJ Jickster read an apology during the morning show on March 26 that acknowledged “reckless, racist words were spoken on our air” and pledged to “redouble our efforts to fight ignorance and racism in our community.”

Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Twitter @NickVeronica and find more of his work here.

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