So far, no word from KNBR on the future of Tony Bruno on their airwaves, which presumably means they’re waiting out Bruno’s one-week suspension and hoping his tweet calling Ramon Ramirez an “illegal alien” will get swept under the rug like so many other made-for-Internet controversies. And as often happens with stories like this in our disposable news culture, it seems to be working.
Lee Hammer had no comment on the matter, and according to KNBR’s website, Tony Bruno’s still a part of their lineup on their sister station with the itty-bitty frequency, 1050. After I posted what happened on Friday night based on the Twitter frenzy his quickly-deleted statement created, everyone had an opinion. But now, after Bruno finally stopped apologizing clumsily on Facebook, searches on Google and Twitter for Tony Bruno bring up nary a mention.
KNBR isn’t going to drop the show, and it doesn’t look like any other affiliates carrying the show are looking for new programming, either. Since it would cost money for a station to replace Bruno’s show with another syndicated program (or even more expensive, a locally produced show) this isn’t surprising. Radio stations are facing competition and corporate downsizing at every turn, and with the outrage dying down less than a week after Bruno’s deleted tweet was all anybody could talk about, there was probably little motivation for any station to distance itself from a syndicated show with a steady audience.
Many thought Bruno’s career was toast last weekend, but this looks like just another career footnote Bruno, like when he deemed Shaquille O’Neal’s 2003 comment about the greatest Chinese-born player in NBA history (“Tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chong- yang-wah-ah-soh.'”) as “not racist,” and proceeded to use it as material on his show for a couple days.
KNBR hosts either briefly mentioned (Murph and Mac; Razor and Mr. T) or talked at length about (Gary Radnich and Damon Bruce; Rod Brooks and a probably very uncomfortable Larry Krueger) Bruno’s mass communications error on Monday. And I don’t blame them for either talking about it (ignoring the incident was impossible, unless KNBR silenced everyone on the station) or tip-toeing around it. After all, there’s a little bit of fear in denouncing a specific comment made by someone who talks for a living, because what if the same situation happened to you?
From the beginning, despite what some of Bruno’s biggest fans may think, I’ve had no vested interest in this matter besides reporting the facts. Before, I had a generally favorable impression of Bruno. His daily segment with Gary Radnich, which notably was canceled last week when Bruce joined forces with Radnich, had some great moments — especially in the heyday of all those “good knowledge” sound-drops before they got old after years of overuse. Whether Bruno’s show gets canceled or pulled from KNBR has no affect on me whatsoever, both because I don’t spend my life worrying about the employment statuses of strangers and the fact that I never listen to his show. But it’s a story either way, because of both what Bruno tweeted/deleted and KNBR’s relationship with the Giants, especially after Bruce Bochy called Bruno’s remark a “racist comment.”
In this day and age, when information comes at us from all sides, controversy-fatigue runs rampant. We only have so much time and energy for each story — somewhere between one and seven days, usually. And that’s why Bruno was suspended for one week. His parent company (DirecTV) and all the stations which carry Bruno’s show knew that by the end of this week we’d be onto the next offensive tweet. And they were right.