The number of radio stations that have pulled controversial radio talk-show host Michael Savage off the air following antigay remarks he made on his since-canceled cable TV program has grown to five. Los Angeles's KRLA-AM (870) suspended Savage Nation on Tuesday, the day after MSNBC fired Savage for wishing AIDS on a caller. During what has since been identified as a prank call to Savage on his MSNBC show Saturday, Savage called the man on the other end of the line "a sodomite" and told the caller he "should get AIDS and die, you pig."
Terry Fahy, KRLA's general manager, issued a prepared statement explaining the indefinite suspension of Savage Nation. The remarks attributed to Savage, "if accurate, are totally unacceptable to this station and its owner, Salem Communications Corp.," the Christian broadcaster that owns two other stations in Los Angeles, the statement read. "We will only resume broadcast of his program if we are assured that an outrage of this type will not occur again. We continue to encourage a free and robust exchange of ideas," Fahy said. "While we must guard against any reaction that would chill this kind of exchange, we believe that in this instance, Michael Savage has crossed the line. We all make mistakes, and Mr. Savage has clearly made a serious one."
Mike Lofrano, chief operating officer of Talk Radio Networks, Savage's Portland, Ore.-based syndicator, told the Los Angeles Times that he spoke with Salem officials Tuesday night and expects Savage to be back on the air "very soon." "It's never happened on the radio program, nor would it," Lofrano said. "We're willing to give those assurances." Out of the 320 stations on which Savage airs, Lofrano said, the show was suspended by KRLA and three other Salem stations, as well as his Boston affiliate. He said other stations have voiced support for the host, as have listeners. "It's unfortunate that the incident occurred, and he gave his apology on the air the first time he was on the radio, on Monday," he said. "It's something that didn't occur on the radio program. I just think we do a much better job of keeping crank callers off the air."