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WYSP fires Kidd Chris over racist song parody

Broadcast on March 21, the lyrics included epithets slurring African Americans.

CBS yesterday announced the firing of WYSP (94.1) morning personality "Kidd Chris" Foley, an undetermined portion of his staff, and the station's program director, John Cook, over a racist song parody performed on the show on March 21.

A source said Foley would not be paid for the balance of his three-year contract, which he signed in the fall.

Listeners yesterday heard a rerun, along with announcements that an appearance for Foley, scheduled for last night in Northeast Philadelphia, had been canceled.

CBS said management recently became aware of the performance of the song by Lady Gash. Sung to the tune of the Blondie song "Call Me," the lyrics contained epithets slurring African Americans. The piece was rerun several times.

An e-mail to radio journalists and executives on Monday from a group called Racial Dignity in Media pointed out the parody and urged recipients to complain to station management. A CBS spokeswoman said the station didn't know about this e-mail, and a representative of the group did not reply to an e-mail for comment. A Federal Communications Commission spokeswoman said the FCC doesn't comment on complaints without a formal request, which can take weeks to process.

"We found the song to be highly offensive and completely inappropriate for broadcast on our airwaves," CBS said in a statement. "When senior management of the station learned that it had been played, they took immediate steps to prevent it from ever appearing on the station again.

"At the same time, we launched an extensive internal investigation into the situation including a thorough review of the editorial controls and systems we have in place to prevent this type of content from airing. We instituted additional educational training for the station, and have taken appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of the individuals involved."

Foley's show, a cacophony of sophomoric humor, started in afternoon drive time on WYSP in late August 2005 as the station began a talk format called Free FM. The show's audience swelled last summer, as word spread of a move to mornings. In November, the show started on mornings as the linchpin of WYSP's revived rock lineup.

Ratings barely budged. In January, the show was second in average share per quarter-hour among its target demographic, men ages 18-34. It was sixth, however, in cumulative weekly audience.

Foley and Cook did not reply to voice mails yesterday. Executive producer Michael "Metro" Cerio, reached at midday, declined to say if he, too, had been fired.