Shapiro’s 2010 asset sale makes him vulnerable to termination by 790 The Zone

In the wake of Monday’s effort at humor that not even Andrew “Dice” Clay would find funny from the morning drive show on 790 The Zone in Atlanta, several of you have pointed out that one of the offenders — station co-founder Stephen “Steak” Shapiro — can’t be fired because he owns the place.

Actually, he used to own the place.

In 2010, Shapiro and Andrew Saltzman sold the equity to Lincoln Financial.  Which makes Shapiro an employee.  Who is now as capable of being terminated as any other employee for the decision to make fun of former Saints defensive back Steve Gleason and his serious medical condition, ALS.

V.P. and General Manager Rick Mack has said that the members of Mayhem in the A.M. “involved with this incident” have been suspended.  The choice of words could give the station flexibility to discipline (and possibly terminate) only those who were specifically involved in the bit.

It’s still unclear what role, if any, Shapiro had in the situation, since the audio isn’t (and likely won’t be) made available by the station.  Co-host Nick Cellini has acknowledged on his Twitter page that the supposed joke failed miserably.  It’s possible that Shapiro was sounding the alarm internally, and that his warnings were ignored.

Regardless, he’s as susceptible to termination as anyone else, since he’s no longer an owner.

Termination is a serious outcome, but it’s possibly the right one in this case.  Broadcasters have been fired for far less, sometimes by stations that already were looking for a reason to act.  Much of it likely depends on the overall reaction to the situation, which probably will be less vocal than it would have been if the audio had been posted on the station’s website.

On one hand, the audio should be posted, so that it properly can be scrutinized.  On the other hand, making the offensive content available for further listening will only magnify the harm caused.

24 responses to “Shapiro’s 2010 asset sale makes him vulnerable to termination by 790 The Zone

  1. Did they nickname him “Steak” because his humor isn’t well done within his medium?

  2. “Steak” Shapiro is the Elmer Fudd of talk radio, although George Costanza might be a more up to date caricature.

  3. Everyone is going to get fired. No one ever survives radio messes like this (see: Opie & Anthony, JV & Elvis ect and so on).

  4. Perhaps the FCC could put every radio station on a 10 second delay and have the NSA used their surveillance equipment to monitor for any potentially offensive or non- PC content. That way, no one would ever be offended, and any content that has not been approved by our political leaders could be eliminated.

  5. This is a classic case of the media taking something minor and blowing it out of proportion.
    Way, way worse things happen every day in this world.
    If you’re not happy with what you’re hearing on your radio change the channel. Then stop acting like a little girl.

  6. I take it we’re all equally offended everytime somebody uses the robot voice to make fun of Stephen Hawking right? Right, Sports Media???

  7. We will not be satisfied until we infect every member of this man’s family with ALS, tar and feather him, and give Gleason primae noctis rights to all of the daughters of anyone associated with this radio station. Justice must be served. We cannot let bad jokes go unpunished or else the entire country will fall.

  8. Sounds like they “made a mistake” and have now “apologized” and have been “suspended”, all the while drawing much-desired attention to their show and their station. This goes on all the time in radio. What they did was tasteless, but by no means obscene or illegal, and all in all, pretty tame by some other things that have gone over the airwaves. I think they’ll come out of this alright.

  9. Jokes about ANYTHING can be funny and certainly shouldnt be automatic termination all the time.

    Our world is a less interesting place everyday.

  10. isn’t that what shock jocks do? Shock you? Sure he made fun of a cripple, not in good taste but no reason to lose a job over it. And really no reason why I should be hearing about it since I don’t live in the market. This is not news.

  11. What a disgrace this man is. My son has been fighting this disease for the last two years. I pray you (Mr. Shapiro) never have to witness this awful disease and that you never have to hear human beings making fun of someone with the disease. Thank you Profootballtalk for putting this out there because I am not in the United Sates and I was able to here about it through your website.

    Finally, I just want to say to Mr. Gleason, you are a hero in my son’s eyes and I wish you only the best in life. Keep fighting.

    PS: when I wrote mr. Shapiro this afternoon, I recieved a failed server error on 790 website. I guess they just can’t handle the truth.

  12. It’s going to be tough for 790 to get rid of all the guys on mayhem. Chris Dimino is extremely talented when it comes to Baseball and his work with the Falcons, the minute he’s available – he’d be gobbled up by 680 or even 92.9. Cellini has been on for more than decade, and always on this show. He’d be a hot free agent as well. Shapiro owned the joint and is probably not wanted at any other station, especially 680…Bottom line is, this is a competitive market with three stations, you can’t let talent go like that, even though they should probably have been let go. The thing is, this is not the worst thing they have made light of. They are racially insensitive as well, but I don’t see anyone crying about that….

  13. All three guys involved in the bit were terminated. Its on the radio station’s website.

    Deadspin has the audio. Not only was it in extremely bad taste, but it also was terribly unfunny.

  14. Steak deserves being well-done, here. He’s a meathead. I hate it that he’s now a pariah but he and his goon squad being off the air is a good thing for Atlantans. Someone needs to fill the void.

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