SYRACUSE -- Six weeks after joining the lineup at FM Newsradio 106.9 and 570 WSYR, afternoon talk show host Bob Lonsberry is making front page news. A profile on the Rochester-based host appeared on the front page of the Syracuse Post-Standard today. Former afternoon host Jim Reith responded on Facebook.
Reporter Hart Seeley says Lonsberry ignored requests to be interviewed for the story, but that didn't stop him. The piece shares some information about Lonsberry's career and personal life. There was also the obligatory mention that Lonsberry hosts his WSYR show from the studios of sister station WHAM in Rochester. Lonsberry lives near Rochester, and hosts a three-hour midday show there, which ends an hour before he hits the air in Syracuse. Seeley also recalled the contoversy which resulted in a short suspension from WHAM in 2003.
Without Lonsberry not availing himself, Seeley interviewed Clear Channel Syracuse GM Joel Delmonico instead. Delmonico reflected on his decision to fire longtime host Jim Reith (for being too "centrist") and replacing him with the more-polarizing Lonsberry.
Reith, who worked for WSYR for 27 years, hosting afternoons for the past 14 until he was let go in October, said the following on Facebook today:
I've been getting lots of messages about the article on todays front page. I'll say again, my time spent at WSYR was fantastic, i loved every minute of it. I'm moving on and ahead, my next job will be made clear to everyone soon, and I wish Bob nothing but the absolute best. Be patient, I'm in the process of finalizing a job that has me really really excited!
On the air today, Lonsberry said he ignored Seeley's requests for an interview because he "smelled a hatchet job." But, after seeing the article, Lonsberry praised Seeley's work, calling the article fair and accurate.
Lonsberry's show airs weekdays from 3-6pm. What used to be the fourth hour of Reith's show has since been replaced by "The WSYR 6:00 News," hosted by Kevin Schenk and George Kilpatrick.
FWIW, every day there's at least one person making it on air who says how much they prefer Lonsberry to Reith. Sometimes multiple callers.
6:00 can be a bit of musical chairs that also will include an SU pregame show if there's a basketball game that night. While I would still prefer Savage live (as one letter to the editor in the paper concurred), it may actually be better in the long run as there's no pre-empting for these pregame shows, and during the summer when they run baseball games there's at least a chance of hearing some of the show as opposed to likely none of it.
So it makes for a nice break from talk to dial up The Rebel 105.9 for some music instead from 6-10.
My column on Lonsberry before joining Syracuse Radio titled:
Bob Lonsberry: Poisoning Rochester's Radio Airwaves!
You've probably heard his whiny, annoying voice, and racist, hateful speech that spews from his mouth on any given weekday on Rochester's WHAM 1180 am radio.
For well over a decade, Bob Lonsberry has poisoned Rochester's radio airwaves with his racist rhetoric and insults. He has used the power of radio to put down everyone including African-Americans, Latinos, Gays and Lesbians. Making the 45 minute commute from his home in Mt. Morris, New York to Rochester, Lonsberry injects his racism, divides our city, then drives back to his little town.
And Lonsberry knows exactly what he is doing. In 2003, after an orangutan briefly escaped from it's cage at the Seneca Park Zoo, Lonsberry played chimpanzee sounds over the air and made comments about then Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson, who is African-American, suggesting that Johnson was the orangutan who had escaped.
The incident drew local media attention, and me and my brother organized a protest at WHAM's offices in downtown Rochester, demanding that Lonsberry be fired. At one point, Susan Ashline a WHAM reporter, called the police on me and tried to have me arrested, saying that she felt threatened by my "angry tone". The police told her that I was well within my right to protest, and as the saying goes she had to go kick rocks! The next day the newspaper's front page featured a color photo of me leading the protest, with the headline: "Radio station fires Lonsberry as host".
Below my photo, a smaller photo of Lonsberry and his two daughters. As expected, Lonsberry's firing was nothing more than a PR move on the part of WHAM, to do some "damage control" and let things cool off, rather than risk losing advertisers. Less than one year after Lonsberry's firing, WHAM rehired him, after he completed what they referred to as "sensitivity training".
Not that there was ever any doubt that WHAM would rehire Lonsberry, but just in case they hadn't, Lonsberry knew exactly what he was doing all along. You see, Lonsberry had another "vehicle" to transport his filth. That "vehicle" was the internet. In 1999, long before the incident with Mayor Johnson, Bob Lonsberry launched his website, where he writes a new column pretty much on a daily basis.
Approximately one year before the incident with Mayor Johnson, Lonsberry wrote a very hurtful, insensitive letter, on his website regarding Craig Heard, the 14 year old African-American honor roll student who was executed by Rochester Police officers Serge Savitcheff and Hector Padgham.
On a June morning in 2002, Heard was joyriding in a car that some of his friends had stolen the day before. Unfortunately, as many young people do, Craig Heard had made some poor choices in deciding who his friends were. Rochester Police had spotted Heard several times but intentionally waited until they could corner him in a dead end street where both Savitcheff and Padgham shot him two times in the head. Heard was unarmed. Lonsberry starts off his letter by saying: "Bang, Bang. Dead as hell." he repeats this several times throughout his letter.
In his letter, referring to African-Americans, Lonsberry writes: "They are raised like animals, groomed as predators from their very earliest years" before stating that Craig Heard "was genetically a man, but socially a wolf."
Lonsberry's comments show his racist and sick obsession with comparing African-Americans to animals, and his letter foreshadows the comments he would later make suggesting that Rochester's African-American Mayor was an orangutan. Later on, again referring to Craig Heard, Lonsberry closes his letter by saying: "He was cursed from birth" and insults Heard's mother, by dismissing her pain over the loss of her son as nothing more than "crocodile tears."
Most recently, Lonsberry can be heard on the air disrespecting the President of the United States by using the term "F.U.B.O." which stands for "F... you Barack Obama" , in addition to using this term on a daily basis, Lonsberry also endorses the brand, by giving away F.U.B.O. merchandise to listeners who call in to his radio show.
Lonsberry's racist and hateful views are not just limited to African-Americans, he has shown that he is an equal opportunity racist by also going after Rochester's Latino, and mostly Puerto Rican community, where he has written: "Serious thought should be given to cancelling the Puerto Rican Festival." And in a letter he wrote about Mt. Morris, New York, Lonsberry expresses his disgust that Puerto Ricans and African-Americans have moved into his small town. Lonsberry writes: "They have been paroled out of prison." and "The vast majority go immediately on welfare." Lonsberry's letter then goes on to say: "We've imported a ghetto."
I wonder how the Puerto Rican and African-American residents of Mt. Morris feel about Bob Lonsberry's disgust of them living in his town. I wonder if they have become complacent and simply don't care. After all, that's exactly what has happened here. Rochester has become complacent, and it seems as though African-Americans and Latinos simply don't care that every morning, as they are getting their children ready for school, Bob Lonsberry is making his commute here with a mouth full of poisonous hate and racism, ready to inject it into Rochester!
I have spent the last 8+ years exposing Bob Lonsberry and his racist divisiveness in my hometown of Rochester, NY. In 2004 I was the one who organized a Rally outside WHAM offices in downtown Rochester calling for Lonsberry's firing. At the time, Lonsberry and WHAM reps sent Susan Ashline, a reporter for WHAM down to the protest to try to fabricate that I "threatened her". Ashline called the police and tried to have me arrested. The police told her I was well within my rights. Later WHAN fired Lonsberry, in a classic PR move only to rehire him a year later! The video of the protest, including Susan Ashline trying to have me arrested will soon be posted to my Youtube Channel: DavyVTV