NB Telegraph-Journal | Saint John
As published on page B4 on October 15, 2005
Radio host reprimanded for caller's comments
CFBC takes steps to improve caller screening for Talk of the Town
A Saint John radio host has received a slap on the wrist from management after failing to stop a caller from uttering threats over the air of a call-in show.
Rick Mantle, host of CFBC 930 AM's Talk of the Town, was given a written reprimand after a caller suggested that in order to remove Common Council from office, one way might be to "hire an assassin if you have to". That was in reaction to a public policy decision that angered the caller.
Those words were unacceptable to Gordon Dalzell, a retired social worker who heard the call on Aug. 24.
"As a social worker for 32 years I have spent my whole life promoting peaceable and socially appropriate means of dealing with conflict and violence," Mr. Dalzell said.
He was upset that Mr. Mantle's response to the caller was, "I wouldn't go that far," without offering a more stern rebuke.
The comments made by the caller caused Mr. Dalzell, who was driving at the time, to write down the rant after he had pulled his car over. He then sent a complaint to national broadcasting regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Council (CRTC). The CRTC passed the complaint to the station owner, Maritime Broadcasting (MBS), as is the practice.
As a result of Mr. Dalzell's complaint, MBS gave Mr. Mantle a written reprimand. In a letter to Mr. Dalzell, dated Oct. 2, a manager stated, "although our goal is still to allow the public to express their views, that guidelines of acceptable behaviour have to be policed."
The letter also stated that "While we support the right to free speech, we agree that the caller's comments crossed the line of acceptable behaviour. We agree that the onus is on us, as the broadcaster of this program, to not only air the caller, but to guide them on acceptable behaviour."
The letter was signed Dan Barton, the Moncton-based director of programming for MBS.
The radio station has also improved its caller screening process by hiring former host, Terry Wallace, to produce the show and screen the calls, reminding callers about acceptable on-air behaviour.