Two weeks after firing morning show co-host Rob Lederman for racist comments he made on-air on March 24, Cumulus Media classic rock “97 Rock” WGRF Buffalo has terminated three more key employees. Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein, co-hosts of “The Morning Bull Show,” and longtime program director John Hager have been terminated in the fallout over the incident.
"Upon further consideration following the racist incident that occurred on The Morning Bull Show, we decided to terminate the whole morning show in addition to the Program Director,” Cumulus Media said in a statement. “We apologize, and deeply regret the incident.”
In the March 24 on-air segment Lederman compared shades of toasted bread to famous Black women. Cumulus took initial swift and decisive action, firing Lederman and suspending the rest of the show. Since then it has been airing mostly music and basic service elements in place of the personality-driven morning show.
Gaenzler was also immediately fired from his role as in-arena announcer for The Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits by Pegula Sports and as public address announcer for University of Buffalo football games. The fallout from the comments resulted in several advertisers pulling their campaigns from the station and strong rebukes from public officials.
“97 Rock” issued an on-air apology and reminded listeners of the work the station has done for the community during more than 40 years on the air. It also implemented diversity training. In the weeks since the incident, station officials worked behind the scenes to repair its relationship with Western New York's Black community and to make sure a similar situation doesn’t occur again.
Now the station has completely severed ties with the two remaining morning show co-hosts and its program director, who has programmed the station since 1988 and was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall Of Fame in 2018.