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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(10/28/07)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Indian leaders to meet with KQRS over remarks

Brad Swenson
Bemidji Pioneer 10/28/2007

American Indian leaders, including from Red Lake, plan to discuss Monday with corporate officials remarks made on a Twin Cities radio station that alleged incest may be a cause of high suicide rates in Beltrami County.

Officials from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, American Indian Movement and the Metropolitan Urban Indian Council will meet at 10 a.m. Monday with officials from Citadel Broadcasting Co. in the offices of KQRS in southeast Minneapolis.

Citadel, with corporate offices in Las Vegas and New York, owns KQRS, a classic rock station in the Twin Cities.

"Red Lake maintains that Shock Jock Tom Barnard, and other KQRS Morning Show staff suggested in their morning show broadcast that incest and genetics were contributor to high rates of teen suicide in northwest Minnesota's Beltrami County of which the Red Lake Indian Reservation is located," according to a statement issued late Friday night from Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain Jr.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community was also included in the broadcast, and portrayed as a rich Indian tribe that does nothing to help northern Minnesota tribes curb issues such as teen suicide, and sexual misconduct, Jourdain's statement said.

While the formal statement from Jourdain is the first public complaint against KQRS, which has not as yet issued a response, transcripts and audio recordings of the broadcast have been circulating in Indian Country, and to local legislators, since first broadcast Sept. 18. Also, several other Minnesota tribes have reportedly sent letters of protest to KQRS.

Program host Barnard and several in-studio personnel talked of the state Health Department report showing Beltrami County having the highest rate of suicide among the age group of 5 years to 34 years old, a rate twice the state average.

During the course of banter between the radio personalities, a comparison was made between the level of poverty at Red Lake and of the "zillionaires at Mistake Lake," a reference to Mystic Lake Casino operated by the Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and questioned why one tribe doesn't help another.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians has received nearly $4 million in grants from the Shakopee tribe since 2004 to build a new Boys & Girls Club on the reservation, start a sexual assault center in Bemidji, and to assist in the start-up of the Red Lake walleye fishing industry, Jourdain said in his statement.

Information on the Community's Web site says over the past several years it has donated more than $96 million to charitable organizations and other Indian tribes.

It was uncertain Saturday what tribal leaders would ask of Citadel when they meet Monday.

*****

Indian leaders win several concessions from KQRS after Barnard show comments

By Curt Brown and Terry Collins, Star Tribune

Last update: October 29, 2007 1:11 PM

American Indian leaders secured several concessions today after meeting with executives at KQRS Radio (92.5 FM) in the wake of troubling on-air comments during Tom Barnard's popular morning program.

After the meeting at the station's corporate offices in southeast Minneapolis, KQRS president and general manager Marc Kalman said the station would take the following steps:

Broadcast a public apology.

Give equal air time to positive issues involving the American Indian community.

Work to hire American Indian interns.

Continue airing public service announcements for the suicide hot line.

Invite members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton and Red Lake tribes to be on the morning show.

Tribal leaders said that overall they're pleased but would have preferred stronger measures including some of the on-air personalities being fired.

The uproar stems from a broadcast last month in which Barnard and co-host Terri Traen talked about the Red Lake and Shakopee tribes while discussing a report by the state Health Department that Beltrami County has the state's highest rate of suicide among young people.

The jocks then mentioned Bemidji and the Red Lake reservation, both in Beltrami County.

"Maybe it's genetic; isn't there a lot of incest up there?" Traen said about the tribe.

"Not that I know of," Barnard replied.

"I think there is," Traen continued. "Don't quote me on that, but I'm pretty sure. "Well, I'm glad you just threw it out there, then," Barnard said to laughter in the background.

Barnard also criticized the Shakopee Sioux, who own the Mystic Lake Casino, for "doing a hell of a job helping them out."

Traen commented, "They don't give them anything?"

"Hell, no!" Barnard replied.

Bellecourt said Red Lake has received nearly $4 million in grants from the Shakopee tribe since 2004 toward building a new Boys and Girls Club, assisting with the recent rebirth of the tribe's walleye fishing industry and creating a center in Bemidji to address sexual assault.

More than a dozen Indian leaders filed into the KQRS corporate offices about 10 this morning to lodge their formal complaint.

"These were irresponsible comments that are way out of bounds and intolerable," said Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd (Buck) Jourdain, before the meeting at the offices in southeast Minneapolis. Jourdain compared the comments to those several months ago by Don Imus about the Rutgers women's basketball team that were racial and sexual in nature. Imus lost his syndicated radio job over that incident.

"Those comments [by Imus] were about losing a basketball game, and these are about life and death," said Jourdain, "and we're not going to endure this ignorance any longer in a state that emphasizes Minnesota Nice."

Jourdain added that there has not been a suicide on his reservation in more than two years.

Joining Jourdain and others from the Red Lake reservation for the meeting were members of the American Indian Movement and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux.

AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt on Sunday said the remarks about the Red Lake Chippewa and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux tribes were "ignorant."

The KQ morning show, known for its pull-no-punches style when delivering weird news, ethnic jokes and political diatribes, is among the most popular morning programs in the Twin Cities.

Barnard has been "getting away with this crap for years," Bellecourt said.

Minority groups have long criticized Barnard and his crew for their on-air banter.

In the late 1990s, members of the Somali community picketed over Barnard and Co.'s mocking of Somali dialects after a Somali cabdriver was slain. Before that, the Asian-American community was irate when Barnard and his co-hosts made fun of a teenage Hmong girl who was charged with killing her newborn son.

They said of her potential $10,000 fine: "That's a lot of eggrolls."

*****

KQRS to apologize for Red Lake remarks
The radio station will also offer concessions to Indians for comments aired by Tom Barnard and Terri Traen.

By Curt Brown, Star Tribune

Last update: October 29, 2007 10:57 PM

After a meeting Monday with tribal leaders and American Indian advocates, KQRS Radio said it will apologize for comments made on Tom Barnard's highly popular "Morning Show" that linked high suicide rates on the Red Lake Indian Reservation with incest and genetics.

KQRS-FM (92.5) said it will hire Indian interns and invite members of the Red Lake Chippewa and Shakopee Mdewakanton communities to be on Barnard's show, which is the perennial morning ratings leader by a wide margin in Twin Cities' radio.

"KQ did admit that the statements made on the radio were wrong-headed and stupid," said Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd (Buck) Jourdain, who drove down from northern Minnesota for the hour-long meeting at KQ's headquarters in Minneapolis. "I fail to see how any community can stand for such behavior under the guise of humor."

In a broadcast last month, Barnard and "Morning Show" sidekick Terri Traen were discussing the high suicide rate in Beltrami County, which includes Red Lake. Traen mentioned genetics and incest "up there," and Barnard took a shot at the Shakopee Mdewakanton for failing to help Red Lake with proceeds from its profitable Mystic Lake Casino.

"This was not just an attack on Red Lake, it was an attack on all Indian people and the remarks are inexcusable," said Glynn A. Crooks, vice chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton band.

It's far from the first public outcry against Barnard and Co. Members of other minority communities have lodged complaints over the years.

In 1998, Somalis protested after Barnard and his crew lampooned African accents while playing an audiotape of taxi drivers expressing concern about their safety in the aftermath of a slaying. That same year, KQ's management apologized for remarks the morning crew made about Hmong culture after an 13-year-old Hmong girl was suspected of killing her baby.

Barnard also created an uproar in 2002, 39 days before U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash, when he made a vulgar reference to him and added, "I hope he drops dead."

KQRS President Marc Kalman declined to comment on Monday's meeting, but issued a statement saying the station will offer public apologies, grant equal time for positive developments in the American Indian community and run announcements for a suicide hotline in addition to hiring tribal interns and inviting leaders on the show.

"It's a start but we're not satisfied," said Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement. "We think they should have suspended the guy or let the guy go. We'll be monitoring them."

Bellecourt said he spoke with Kalman on Monday afternoon and saw the text of the apologies from Traen and Barnard. He was told the apologies will start airing Friday and be repeated six or seven times throughout the day.

According to Bellecourt, Traen's apology cites her "ignorant and inappropriate comments" and Barnard apologized for joking that he wished "an airplane would crash into Mystic Lake Casino."

Despite the apologies, Bellecourt said he is still going to urge tribal casinos advertising on the station to pull ads and pressure other sponsors. The ouster of national shock jock Don Imus, who made disparaging comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, might have changed the dynamics.

Outside the meeting, someone held up a sign that read: "Tom 'Imus' Barnard must go now."

Said Jourdain, "The comments about the Rutgers team involved individuals losing a basketball game. This involved the loss of life and was intolerable and way out of bounds."

Jourdain said there have been no suicides at Red Lake for more than two years.

*****

In post-Imus era, KQRS-FM quick to apologize after morning show host Tom Barnard, sidekick insult American Indians
Indians press station for action after remarks by host Tom Barnard, sidekick

BY AMY CARLSON GUSTAFSON
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 11/02/2007 01:14:19 AM CDT

Has local radio king Tom Barnard found his sensitive side, or has the Don Imus effect found its way to Minnesota?

When Barnard made anti-Hmong comments on his popular "KQ Morning Show" in the late 1990s, it took months and the loss of major advertisers for the station to acknowledge the incident. When he and his morning show crew made offensive remarks about American Indians in September, the company's response was much quicker.

Last weekend, tribal leaders and American Indian advocates announced plans to protest outside the Twin Cities radio station's headquarters. On Monday, the same day as the scheduled protest, the management of KQRS-FM (92.5) agreed to meet with protesters.

When all was said and done, not only did KQ agree to publicly apologize for the remarks, but it also pledged to give airtime to Indian issues, invited tribal members to be on the morning show and said the station would hire Indian interns.

The uproar over the show, the highest-rated morning show in the Twin Cities, was about comments made by Barnard and sidekick Terri Traen over a news report on suicide rates in Beltrami County, home to the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Traen said, "Maybe it's genetic; isn't there a lot of incest up there?" Barnard went on to criticize the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, who own Mystic Lake Casino.

(Pioneer Press sports columnist Bob Sansevere, a regular on the morning show, was in the studio at the time but wasn't part of that conversation.)

Barnard couldn't be reached for comment. The Pioneer Press was told KQ general manager Marc Kalman was out of town until next week, and Citadel Broadcasting Corp., which acquired KQ this summer, did not return calls.

But folks who were talking said the quick response likely was due to KQ's new ownership and the Imus incident. Imus, who had a show for more than two decades, was fired in April by CBS, eight days after making derogatory racial comments on-air about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

"I think one of the lessons that people operating stations got out of the Imus thing is that you need to respond quickly," said Tom Taylor, news editor at radio-info.com.

"CBS did not respond quickly in the case of the Imus thing. ... They just let that go, and he was basically out there on his own. By the time he showed up on Al Sharpton's radio show, he had walked into something that had become a disaster in a number of ways, including from a public relations standpoint."

Citadel the same company that owns KQ announced Thursday that Imus will return to the airwaves Dec. 3 on New York's WABC-AM.

Taylor and Steve Moravec, a Twin Cities radio consultant and former radio station owner, said they believe KQ's new owner, Citadel (the station was owned by ABC-Disney Radio Station Group and had a different general manager at the time the Hmong comments were made) also played a big part in the company's swift reaction.

"I'm not at all surprised how quickly it was addressed," Moravec said. "This is not ABC, this is Citadel. It's also because of Marc Kalman (KQ's general manager), who is a good, proactive local radio manager."

As for the station's response to the American Indian community leaders, Taylor said it seems appropriate.

"The Native American leaders may have wanted more, but the number one thing is that people wanted to be heard," Taylor said. "They got a meeting with the general manager, he listened, and he responded. To me, that's the first step."

Earlier this week, Clyde Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement told the media the station's on-air apologies would begin today.

So, what exactly would an apology from Barnard mean especially in what seems to be the age of celebrity apologies?

"With the whole KQ situation, it's also about past behavior and past experience," said Debra Petersen, a University of St. Thomas professor with the department of communication and journalism.

In Petersen's Rhetorical Criticism class, she has her students examine an individual or organization making a public apology. In the past, her students' picks have ranged from Michael Richards to Pope Benedict XVI. Could a study of Tom Barnard be next?

"I hope so," she said. "I always tell my students that it's the gift that keeps on giving there are no shortage of examples."

*****

Protesters press KQRS for firings, apologies

The radio station said it has fulfilled its commitments to atone for remarks that insulted Indians.

By Terry Collins, Star Tribune

Last update: December 6, 2007 11:20 PM

Community leaders from across Minnesota protested Thursday outside KQRS Radio, more than a month after the station apologized for making insensitive comments about Indians on its popular morning show.

More than 70 people from the Communities of Color Council of Many Nations demanded that KQRS (92.5 FM) fire host Tom Barnard and co-host Terri Traen and that the station's owner, Citadel Broadcasting, stop programming "rooted in prejudice, bias and discriminatory stereotypes."

The group gave a list of demands to KQ attorney David Valentini urging the station to apologize in print and electronic media outlets and on its website. The group also wants to host a weekly half-hour program.

"We're not going to stand for it," said council member Clyde Bellecourt. "We are going to teach Minnesota the truth about who we are as a people."

Valentini said Thursday that the station had met its commitments, including issuing on-air apologies, running public service announcements on KQ and two sister stations and hiring two Indian interns.

"We came to an agreement, and we lived up to it," Valentini said. "As for the station firing Tom and Terri, it's the No. 1-rated morning show in the U.S. It's not happening."

The controversy began Sept. 18 when Barnard and Traen discussed the high suicide rate in Beltrami County, which includes the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Traen mentioned genetics and incest "up there," and Barnard took a shot at the Shakopee Mdewakanton for failing to help Red Lake with proceeds from its profitable Mystic Lake Casino.

*****

Indian leaders win several concessions from KQRS after Barnard show comments

By Curt Brown and Terry Collins, Star Tribune

Last update: October 29, 2007 1:11 PM

American Indian leaders secured several concessions today after meeting with executives at KQRS Radio (92.5 FM) in the wake of troubling on-air comments during Tom Barnard's popular morning program.

After the meeting at the station's corporate offices in southeast Minneapolis, KQRS president and general manager Marc Kalman said the station would take the following steps:

Broadcast a public apology.

Give equal air time to positive issues involving the American Indian community.

Work to hire American Indian interns.

Continue airing public service announcements for the suicide hot line.

Invite members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton and Red Lake tribes to be on the morning show.

Tribal leaders said that overall they're pleased but would have preferred stronger measures including some of the on-air personalities being fired.

Related links
Uncivilized Indians
Greedy Indians


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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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