Radio host Bill Nojay and station executive Bob Savage, of WYSL 1040 AM in New York, attempted Monday to deflect attention from racist on-air attacks the pair made last week toward Democratic Congressional candidate and third-generation Japanese-American Nate Shinagawa. Nojay and Savage both disavowed any wrongdoing and accused the "political left" of manufacturing outrage after a segment on Friday's The Bill Nojay Show featured the two making fun of Shinagawa's name, claiming he comes from the "People's Republic," and playing over a minute of a popular Japanese song from the 1960's commonly known as "Sukiyaki."
From the July 6 edition of The Bill Nojay Show:
Savage's peers weren't as dismissive of the segment's potential to offend listeners. As Hornell, NY Mayor Shawn Hogan told the Canisteo Valley News, "I think it was a definite slap at Nate Shinagawa's Asian heritage." Furthermore, one of The Nojay Show's affiliate's, AM 1480 WLEA, did not air that portion of the show on Friday due to its controversial nature.
Despite the backlash both Nojay and the station received over the comments, the pair issued nearly identical comments describing the backlash as a controversy fabricated by left wing activists. On his Monday broadcast, Nojay defended a portion of the controversial comments, claiming that "People's Republic" was a reference to Ithaca, NY, a phrase he said he uses often. Nojay failed to mention any of the other offending comments or the extended broadcast of "Sukiyaki." From today's Bill Nojay show:
Savage, in his statement, attempted to scapegoat the "political left," claiming that the true hate and intolerance came in the phone calls the station received after the comments aired and that this is a "glaring example of the left's endless thuggish assaults on First Amendment free speech." From Savage's statement:
Reasonable, fair-minded people are familiar with the tactics of the political left when it comes to attacks on public figures they regard as too conservative or "Republican." It's been seen repeatedly: from HankWilliams Jr., to Rush Limbaugh, to Chris Collins...and now, apparently, The Bill Nojay Show. Progressives predictably ratchet the "threshold of outrage" downwards in Herculean efforts to maintain a politically-useful level of grievance. Such is the case with alleged comments made on WYSL regarding Democrat Congressional Candidate Nate Shinagawa.
For the record: WYSL categorically denies having broadcast anything racist, hateful or discriminatory regarding Mr. Shinagawa or his candidacy. It didn't happen. Period.
Predictably, shrill, over-the-top complaints in the form of truly abusive phone calls and web postings have been conclusively linked to a left-wing political group which is financially backing Mr. Shinagawa. The anti-Nojay campaign is merely political theater staged to raise campaign money from sympathetic progressives and Democrats.
This isn't the first time Savage has been on the receiving end of a race based controversy. Just last month, he was forced to respond to a writer in the Genesee Valley Penny Saver who said that he heard Savage say "all French, Italians, and Greek are lazy."