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Radio & TV Talk

Posted: 5:58 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CBS Atlanta cuts ties with 790/The Zone 

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Steve Gleason
Getty Images
Steve Gleason, the former Saints player, sent out a statement accepting the DJs' multiple apologies.


Steak Shapiro on CNN photo
Steak Shapiro appeared on CNN today to discuss what happened.

By Rodney Ho

CBS Atlanta Tuesday terminated its arrangment with 790/The Zone in the wake of the sports talk station firing its morning show Monday.

Trey Fabacher, the general manager, said Steve "Steak" Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini were the primary talent on the hour-long weekly Saturday evening "CBS Atlanta Sportsline" analysis program at 7 p.m. Without them, he said, CBS Atlanta had grounds to end the arrangement.

I have not heard any comment back from the Zone head honcho Rick Mack.

In a controversial move in 2009, CBS Atlanta dropped its sports department and stopped reporting daily sports highlights during their telecasts with the layoffs of Gil Tyree and Mark Harmon. They'd cart out a general assignment reporter for broader sports sttories such as the Falcons stadium building or the Final Four coming to Atlanta.

In 2009, management said this move enabled them to hire more non-sports news staff.  It was part of a trend at other Meredith stations to scale back sports programming.

Fabacher, who arrived in Atlanta last fall, said given how big sports is in this town, he didn't agree with this type of outsourcing. As a result, this unplanned firing at the Zone coincided with his decision to hire a new sports director in the next couple of weeks. He doesn't have immediate plans to add more sports staff beyond the director for now.

He wasn't ready to release details on what the sports director's specific duties will be.

In a statement, CBS Atlanta said it will place its weekly "Sportsline" program on hiatus until the football season starts with new hosts. 

Then, it added, "Our employees, our partners and sponsors in no way support the content that was aired by this radio team on Monday morning."

If you've read this far, you probably already know what happened Monday but here's a quick summary:

Mayhem in the AM on 790/The Zone aired a bit where Cellini played a computerized voice of former New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason, who has degenerative ALS. People who heard the bit considered it tasteless and within hours, the trio had lost their jobs.

Today, Gleason himself released a statement saying he accepted their apologies:

"I would like to thank the public for their support. 'Defend Team Gleason' now has been officially redefined. Additionally, the DJs have provided genuine apology. Received and accepted.

"I think everyone can learn from this event. It's clear to me that, on a national and global scale, ALS is not understood, which is part of why it's underfunded and largely ignored."

"There are zero treatments for ALS. If you take any action as a result of this event, I prefer it to be action to end ALS. See what we are doing to change that at"

I forgot to ask Fabacher about Shapiro's "Atlanta Eats" show, which airs weekly on Peachtree TV and CBS Atlanta. I am awaiting a response about that.

Rodney Ho

About Rodney Ho

I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.

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