Editor's note: This story was updated to include information from Romanik's 10 a.m. broadcast on February 9, in which he says the proposed format change for his station doesn't apply to his own show and then uses more racial slurs. See the bottom of the post for the very latest.
The "Grim Reaper of Radio" says it's time to hang up his scythe.
"We’re going to go back to country music," shock jock Bob Romanik said during his 10 a.m. broadcast yesterday on KQQZ (1190 AM). "We tried this format, but see with this format you have to get in step with everybody else. You can’t be your own person, you can’t tell the truth, you gotta be politically correct."
In other words: If he's going to face blowback for saying "n*gger" on the air, he quits.
Earlier this week, the RFT
reported that Romanik had called the rapper Waka Flaka Flame a "greasy black n*gger son-of-a-bitch" during an on-air tirade last month. That story drew calls for FCC intervention, as well as a campaign to target his advertisers.
A conservative firebrand in the mold of Rush Limbaugh, Romanik subsequently dedicated much his airtime to defending
— and repeating, over and over and over again — the N-word. "I’m going to take that First Amendment right and I’m going to exercise that sumbitch, I’m going to exercise that First Amendment right until it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger," Romanik thundered to his listeners.
... Or at least until it affects his bottom line.
According to Romanik, he was justified in labeling the rapper with the slur because Waka Flaka Flame had taken a concertgoer's Donald Trump jersey and used it to wipe his bare ass
. Over the course of three shows this week, Romanik veered between defending the slur and taking calls from supporters, several of whom introduced themselves on-air by stating they were "proud" white men who agreed with Romanik's worldview.
In Romanik's mind, when he and other "proud white people" use the the N-word, they're patriots exercising their First Amendment rights.
Romanik's basic defense was to whine — not only that the First Amendment gave him the right to say anything he wanted on air, but that it was simply an expression of personal honesty to append the fully-pronounced slur to any black person who offended his sensibilities.
"If you say cracker or honky to a white race, I won’t get any heat, but let me say n*gger one time," Romanik said later in the show. "A black person can use the word and a white person can’t? How discriminatory is that?"
As we reported yesterday
, Romanik's insistent use of the racial slur prompted concerned listeners to contact his advertisers. And on Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
editorial board called on the FCC to put a stop to the radio man's runaway mouth.
The editorial board added,
While authorities are at it, they might look into his repeated use of his radio program to promote his own state House candidacy before Nov. 8. Under Illinois election law, donated time on public airwaves for a candidate’s promotion constitutes an in-kind campaign donation and must be reported on required campaign finance reports. Romanik made no such declaration.
Announcing the change in format, Romanik said that the show would shift to country music in the next few days.
"We’re going back to our great country," he said, "and it’s going to be better than ever."
Update at 11:30 a.m.
Once again, Bob Romanik is having the last laugh.
As it turns out, news of the shock jock's demise was premature. Although Romanik stated on-air Wednesday that he was "changing the format" of the KQQZ (1190 AM) back to its previous iteration as a country music channell,Romanik returned to the subject this morning, declaring in no uncertain terms that he and his show are sticking around.
"I'll be on every day," Romanik said, explaining that the "change in format" would only apply to the syndicated content on the station, which includes news dispatches and nationally distributed conservative talk shows.
"I ain't going to quit talking and saying what I want until they cut my tongue out and put me six foot under," added the radio host.
This author also came in for a personal drubbing. "The trash Riverfront Times
, they just put out an article, and it shows ya that these idiots don't know what the hell they're doing. I appreciate the publicity but... 'Bob Romanik announces end of radio show under fire of racial slurs,' by Danny Wizen... he is a stupid Polack. And I'm part Polish and I'm ashamed to be Polack. Danny Wicen...towski. You're a damn liar."
During Thursday's show, Romanik also used the N-word multiple times and repeated his belief that doing so did not make him a racist.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com