Program manager responds, wants to make amends

I just got off the phone with Tim McNamara. Tim is the program manager for The Playhouse radio show and a partial owner of Rose City Radio, which owns KXL-AM and KXJM 95.5.

I assumed Tim had written me off as a rogue, backstabbing blogger (this is what I had heard from other journalists that had spoken with him), but I decided to send him and P.K. one last email to see if we could work things out. I got a call-back within minutes.

Tim admitted that when he heard the comments on Thursday’s broadcast he called the station right away. Tim was absolutely appalled that the show hosts clapped at the story of a cyclist being hit.

Tim apologized profusely for what was said on the show. He said, “We all make mistakes, it’s how you deal with them and grow that matters.”

To make amends, he told me that he made P.K. apologize on-air during Monday’s “pro-bike” show and that he put P.K. on a bike with a reporter from the Willamette Week today.

I can confirm the Willy Week claim because I met with the reporter who rode with P.K. right after the ride. They did a 2-hour jaunt through downtown and it was very interesting (that’s all I can say). You can catch the story in next week’s issue.

Back to Tim.

He claims to have personally replied to 711 emails so far, fielded calls from several lawyers and from people as far away as Australia.

He repeatedly said, “What can I do to make this stop?! I will do anything you ask.” He said he would be happy to run public service announcements, give away free bikes, donate to the BTA, and so on.

Unfortunately, according to Tim, the vast majority of the emails have been “out for blood.” He read me one that said something to the effect that he should “perform euthanasia” on himself. Geez. If that’s true, please mellow out folks. Your feedback to the station has much more impact if you are sensible and level-headed.

Tim claims that he has received death threats and that a few cyclists greeted him with threatening comments outside his home early in the morning on Tuesday. Tim says he chased them down and they pushed him off, kicking and screaming as they rode away.

As for the missing recording of the broadcast: It now seems to me that if it ever does surface, the station will have to release it against their will. Tim certainly made no offer to release it himself.

Tim continues to maintain that he does not have a copy of the recording and that he pulled the podcast from the web because a bottle of Rockstar energy drink (who they have $100K in ads with) was crushed on-air and he was afraid they would get upset (the show is also viewable on TV).

I think it’s quite clear that the reason the recording has not surfaced is because they cannot handle any more heat (read the last paragraph of this new story in the Mercury).

So now what? It’s clear to me that both P.K. and Tim are very sorry and realize they have made a big mistake and I have a hunch that P.K. is starting to see cyclists in a different, more positive light. Tim, while repulsed by what he calls the “militant, violent, and threatening” bike community, seems willing to work with us to turn things around.

I also have a hunch that the word bicycle will never be said on that show again.

Now the question for the community is, do we continue to demand an official vetting of the original broadcast and keep applying pressure until the show receives a more serious, official sanction (which might be regulatory, legal, etc…)? Or do we try and cut a deal with Tim, forgive and forget, and just move on?

If we do make a deal with Tim, what should we ask for?

I’m still not sure. It’s been another long day. I think I’ll sleep on it.

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