By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Michael Graham and dwarfism: Final thoughts

Earlier this week the Boston Globe asked me to write an op-ed piece on Michael Graham’s demeaning shtick about dwarfism. It’s up this morning, and you will find it here. Barring any unexpected developments, I intend it to be my final word on the subject.

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Graham points finger and apologizes


Three for Thursday


  1. I find that you can always trust Michael Graham to be a complete I click off as soon as I hear his music and voice. I don’t think WTKK gets it..they were very slow to act on others who offend.

  2. Thumbs up.

  3. @Janet: WTKK does get it. Radio stations tend to slough this kind of stuff off because 1) It happens all the time, 2) It creates controversy and, as the saying goes, there is no bad press, 3) It engages audiences to either yell at the host on the air or talk about the show, something you might not otherwise do, etc.

  4. B.A. DuBois

    Dan, well-written and thoughtful piece. Hopefully (I know, I know, that’s not a word…) it will educate some folks.

  5. Al Quint

    good job, Dan… looks like we’re on the same page about the term “politically correct.” To quote myself (lame, I know), I said on the thread for “Will WTKK post audio of Graham dwarfism segment?” that “”politically correct” is a term that has been adopted by the right to justify their bullying behavior.”

    And no matter what statements Graham makes, they’ll keep him on as long as he maintains ratings. If he says something egregious, they’ll just suspend him. He’ll only get fired if his ratings go in the crapper (like Severin’s). Sad but true.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Al: Re Graham’s ratings, I would point out that he’s a two-time loser in drive time, and WTKK has sent him into battle again only because the station has no one else. He’ll beat Severin because no one can hear the signal and because Severin hasn’t just lost a few feet off his fastball; he’s blown out his rotator cuff. Big deal. Sports radio and public radio have nothing to worry about from Graham, Severin or Howie Carr.

  6. Laurence Glavin

    Some fun facts: WXKS-AM’s City of License is NEWTON, not Boston. Porquoi? The station cannot be sure that the signal will provide a minimal level of coverage over all the sections of Boston at night, especially in the winter, like Eastie and Charlestown. The transmitter is in Newton, so the residents of every neighborhood there should be capable of picking up the station, but why would they? Then, come November, after Eastern Standard time returns, WXKS-AM must squeeze its electronic footprint, so areas that get the station fairly well during the day will lose it almost completely. Howie Carr has b*tched about this interminably (the way he does everything else) at WRKO-AM, which undergoes a similar but not-so-dire contraction of ts signal at sunset; but Jay Severin may find himself in a more tenuous position vis-a-vis Clear Channel. He can’t make reference to this phenomenon because he WANTS to keep his job, unlike Carr.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Laurence: Wait until December, when the sun sets at about 2 in the afternoon.

  7. Bob Nelson

    WXKS isn’t too bad here in Beverly, even in winter. It does face some reception problems (including interference) like
    other AMs do, though (WRKO, WJIB, WEEI, etc.) Maybe Howie will wind up on 96.9 next year, unless they’re back to Kenny G music by then.
    It is true that Graham was placed in pm drive because they really had nobody else. Not locally at least–they could always pick up the Todd Schnitt show out of Florida again.

    The controversy can drive listeners to sample a show, true. I can’t take Graham’s voice.

  8. Steve Steinberg

    This is the very reason that I don’t listen to shock radio, but do read,listen to and watch Dan. The Globe editorial is another thoughtful piece of journalism.

  9. Tim Wilson

    I’ve limited my listening time of WTKK to an hour of the morning show with Margie and Jim and again to the noon hour with Smearnconish (sp) and a bit on Sat. morning with Mel as they are the only ones I can take on that station.

    I’m not suprised at Graham’s comments as he is not too different from Severin when it comes to costic comments about people who are different.

    But I have a question for you Dan, what is the genesis of this level of behavior on talk radio?

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