[Asian Week] Shock, Demands for Firing of N.J. ‘Shock Jocks’

By Sam Chu Lin, May 06, 2005

A broadcast by two “shock jocks” on New Jersey radio station WKXW 101.5 FM in Trenton last week has stirred up another hornet’s nest. The broadcast comes in the wake of some New York radio personalities who made fun of Asians and thousands of tsunami victims by broadcasting a parody of “We Are the World,” the hit song that raised millions of dollars for African relief.

In the newest episode, Craig Carton and Ray Rossi, billed as “The Jersey Guys,” mimicked Asian accents and lampooned Asian Americans on their April 25 broadcast. APA organizations have sent a letter of complaint to WKXW station manager Andrew Santoro and program director Eric Johnson calling for the termination of Carton and Rossi, their producer Charod Williams and a public apology.

Millennium Radio holds the license for WKXW and 12 other stations.

Carton and Rossi told their audience that there were too many Asians at Atlantic City gaming tables, criticized Edison mayoral candidate Jun Choi, and chided Mayor George Spadora for appealing to the Asian American electorate.

“I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year,” Carton said on air. “Chinese should never dictate the outcome of an election. Americans should.”

Transcripts of the broadcast are being circulated across the country, and an air-check of the broadcast can be heard at http://www.asianmediawatch.net/jerseyguys.

“Your station brazenly profited from the type of ‘shock’ radio, which dehumanizes us all,” wrote Christine Bae, president of the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York. “Moreover, … this type of interference in an attempt to influence voting rights is illegal and improper.”

The letter has also been sent to the Federal Communications Commission and other federal and state officials.

Program director Johnson did not respond to AsianWeek inquiries, but has publicly stated that no one will be fired. The station in published reports has stated that the comments were not meant to offend, and if they did, then they are sorry for it.

Both Edison mayoral candidates are critical of the shock jocks, but this controversy has also been a distraction to their election campaigning.

“Our residents don’t agree with the comments made by those radio personalities,” Spadora, who is seeking re-election to mayor for his fourth term, stated. “Edison is the fastest growing community for Chinese in the state. I have condemned that broadcast.”

“Obviously this is a sad and disappointing event,” Jun Choi, 33, commented.

“There are plenty of organizations that are taking legal action, filing complaints with the FCC, and reaching out to the station’s advertisers. I agree with that, but my focus right now is to get elected next month,” he emphasized.

“There are almost 7,000 registered Asian Americans,” Choi outlined. “If the right turnout comes from the Asian American community, I believe I win this hands down.”

Jayson Kim, the first Asian American elected to the Palisades Park, New Jersey City Council, believes if the radio broadcasters are not challenged immediately, a Pandora’s box will be opened.

“We have to fight for our rights,” he urged. “The damage is already done to a lot of minority groups. We are Americans.”

A few days after the incident happened, representatives from the Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Indian American communities joined with African Americans and Jews to stage a news conference in New York to criticize the New Jersey station.

An Asian American expert on race issues cautions, “With the American economy being impacted, and more jobs being shipped overseas and to Asia, the jobless are going to look for someone to blame.” She predicts, “Many people will point the finger of blame at us.”

“We’re starting to have more and more elected officials,” noted attorney Ben Choi. “We have more and more American teachers. We have more and more Asian American police officers, government employees and soldiers. Slowly and surely we are going to change the perception that we are not Americans.”