View Full Version : Upleasant comments made by radio station!

29th May 2011, 17:46
I am sure trfogey wont mind me posting this, i think its shocking how they can get away with this.

Hi, folks. This is my first post here, although I have occasionally lurked here and searched here over the years. Some of you may recognize my handle or my avatar from other ALS/MND-related websites, and to those who do, hi from an old ally in the fight against ALS/MND.

On May 16, 2011, a pair of American radio personalities, John Walton and Steve Johnson, broadcast the following commentary about Professor Stephen Hawking as a part of the Walton and Johnson radio program heard on a network of twelve stations in the southeastern United States:

W&J: Good Morning Americans!

British scientist... Stephen Hawking says that Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark, and that there is no place for a deity in today's modern science. This is one of these guys that believe Co2 gas is- Let me tell you something! I dont even think there is a guy in there. You know, I think thats a corpse they reel around like "Weekend At Bernies"

That Stephen Hawking dude (in a very offensive voice) ayyarrgjjg aaaa ahhh yayahhh... like that?

I mean, that head never moves and supposedly this voice is coming out of there, saying all kinds of things.

I'm not even sure he ever was real!

No, I think theres a guy behind the stage 'cause we once had a robot. Remember when we used to have that robot, and you could talk into it? About 50 ft away. It worked through a radio receiver, and you talk... You could really mess with people too.

The little robot would roll up to people and go (in robot voice) "Hello! How are you? I'm a robot." and people go "Oh my God! The robot spoke to me!"


NO I spoke to you from over here behind a curtain. Thats what I think's happening with this Hawking guy. They roll this piece of MEAT out on stage somewhere, and say crap like this to undermine religion. I think he's just uhh a CORPSE. A barely alive piece of meat they roll around, and make most of this stuff up.

Whatever religion you might believe in, it's probably somewhere in your documents that there's such a thing as Karma. You know the Christians will tell you "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

I do believe in Karma.

And some people just call it Karma, 'cause if you do things bad, bad things are gonna happen.


Many in the ALS/MND community in the States have been working to get an on-air apology to Professor Hawking from Walton and Johnson, but have not yet been successful. The corporation that owns the originating station for the W&J network has issued an apology for its part in the incident and is working with members of the US ALS community on a schedule of activities to help raise awareness and money for ALS/MND related research. We plan to continue efforts to get an apology and raise awareness at the companies that own the other stations in the W&J network in the coming weeks.

How can you help with this effort? First, by making sure that your MND community is aware of the incident. Second, by getting your MND Association(s) to issue public statements on the controversy. Third, you can send the story to your own media and help raise national awareness of ALS/MND and create international pressure on the companies that operate the radio stations of the W&J network.

As only an occasional reader of your site, I'm not sure of your policies about links to external sites, so I have not given links to sites that have supporting material concerning the controversy. I have those links and will be happy to produce them if the administrators of the board point me to the link posting guidelines for this site.

Thanks for reading this long post and I look forward to working with you.

(trfogey on PLM, ALSForums, and here)

Robyn Copley-Hirst
31st May 2011, 11:32
Hi Chris,

Thanks for posting this. I don't know if you have the links mentioned in the post, but feel free to post them here if you feel they're of interest to everyone. I don't really know how to react yet alone respond to the content of this post and comments made.

Best Regards,


1st June 2011, 21:13
Just a quick reply as have to put kids to bed. It is truly outrageous, offensive, de-humanising and needs to be challenged.

8th June 2011, 04:24
Hi, folks. I am Allen (trfogey), and I was the one who posted the original information that Chris picked up on another forum and brought over here (thanks, Chris -- sorry it took me so long to find my way over here).

Here is a link to the original program as it aired on May 16, 2011. It is a large file (57 MB+) download, so you may want to be careful with it if you are on a metered usage plan with your Internet access provider.


The offensive remarks about Professor Hawking begin at the 52:00 mark of the recording and continue for about four and a half minutes.

A few things have transpired in the past week and a half. The flagship station in the W&J network of affiliates (the offensive broadcast was heard on twelve different radio stations in the southeastern United States) broadcast the following apology on May 24:2011.

"KKRW and Walton & Johnson would like to apologize for insensitive remarks about Stephen Hawking’s physical condition that have caused distress to people with disabilities, including those with ALS – which Professor Hawking suffers from – and their families. We recognize that there are many people in Houston who suffer from serious, debilitating illnesses and no offense to them was intended.”

It is not known whether this apology or similar ones aired on the other eleven stations in the W&J network.

Since Mary 24, KKRW has been working with the ALS Therapy Development Institute of Cambridge, MA, USA on a half-hour public affairs program and a set of public service announcements (PSAs) about ALS/MND. The half-hour radio program aired on a sister station of KKRW on June 5, 2011 and can be heard on the Internet here:

Interview with Steve Perrin , CEO/CSO, ALS TDI. (http://www.the950.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=&podcast=houstonpa&selected_podcast=HoustonPA_ALS_060511.mp3)

The PSAs have also been completed and began airing on six Houston, TX-area radio stations on June 6, 2011.

We still have a bit of work to do. We have eleven more radio stations and seven more station operating companies to take on. How can you help? First, by contacting your local media to get them interested in the controversy. Feel free to use the transcript and links provided here in your efforts. Second, an official comment by the MND Association would be useful, providing that the organization is not prohibited by your laws from making such comments. Finally, if someone could persuade Professor Hawking to comment about the remarks, we'd surely like to hear from him, . We understand that he likely will refuse to comment -- and no one would blame him for doing so -- but it can't hurt to have the response of the man himself when we go after the remaining stations.

I'll keep you folks updated as things progress. Thanks for the use of your forum and your support.

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