KQRS and the Mea Culpa that wasn’t


When KQRS morning show DJs implied that a high suicide rate among native American teens was the result of incest, station managers were quick to apologize. To make amends, they promised to hire native American interns and invite members of the Red Lake Chippewa and Shakopee Mdewakanton communities as guests during the state’s top-rated morning show. The move earned managers praise from the Star Tribune for their “swift and expansive response.”

But a new billboard, pointed out by Minnesota Lawyer Blog, suggests the station perhaps wasn’t so contrite in its apology.

In addition to its vaguely racist billboard announcing “We insult you in English” (a reference to the morning show’s past jabs at Somali and Hmong immigrants?), this one seems to boast about the station’s legal bills.

The gag, I guess, is that they need high listenership (and the ad revenue that comes with it) to afford their harried lawyers. But as the Disney-owned station is loaded, my guess is their motives are more cynical. The ad is a bid for more attention from the vocally anti-intellectual, those who tune in just to hear rudeness that, we’re to believe, is quasi-libelous. KQ, in short, wants to keep cashing in on the decline (or sustained bottoming-out) of civility in America. Yee-ha.

Shock jocks invented hot air, and time will tell if the escape of said gas is what we mistook for an apology from KQRS. When we hear an on-air mea culpa, Clyde Bellecourt yukking it up with Tom Barnard some morning, and an announcement about its new roster of native American interns — or a billboard advertising all three — that’ll be the first step toward trusting the station’s sincerity.