A radio station fired its longtime morning DJ Wednesday after he encouraged listeners to repeat talk-show host Don Imus' racially charged comments in an on-air contest.
Gary Smith told WSBG-FM listeners to call and say "I'm a nappy-headed ho" for Tuesday's "Phrase that Pays" contest, said Rick Musselman, executive vice president of station owner Nassau Broadcasting Partners L.P.
Musselman said three of the listeners who called were awarded tickets to a NASCAR promotion at a local club.
Station management reviewed a tape of the broadcast of the "Gary in the Morning" show and fired Smith, Musselman said.
Musselman said that Smith was fired and not suspended because he uttered the slur in a premeditated manner, "with full knowledge of the reaction to Don Imus' use of the exact same phrase."
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Smith for comment were unsuccessful. But he told The Morning Call of Allentown he regretted the comment.
"What I said was stupid, and I'm sorry," Smith told the newspaper.
MSNBC dropped its simulcast of Imus' nationally syndicated radio program on Wednesday amid a furor over the remarks. Imus called members of the mostly black Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos," prompting civil rights groups to demand his firing. He is suspended from the program for two weeks beginning Monday.
WSBG 93.5, a 3,000-watt rock station, is based in Stroudsburg, about 40 miles northeast of Allentown. The Princeton, N.J.-based Nassau is privately held with more than 50 radio stations in the Northeast.