Radio host resigns after being ordered not to criticize Trump – June 2017

Palmyra, PA

Bruce Bond, a radio host in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, resigned after he was asked to stop criticizing President Trump by his station’s management. Bond received a memo from the general manager of the station informing him it was “not permissible” to be disrespectful of the president; the manager had previously asked Bond to cease his on-air political discussions.

Key Players

Bruce Bond was host of the “Bruce Bond Late Afternoon Show on Saturday Morning” on WTPA-FM, which is located in the central Pennsylvania town of Palmyra. He was hired by the station in June 2014, and had previously worked for WNNK, a Harrisburg-based station, in the 1980s and 1990s. Bond was a figure of controversy for his prank calls and inflammatory statements, including one about a fake news story involving a dog being left in a hot car. He was fired by WNNK in 2001, and was then hired by WRKZ, a station based in Columbus, Ohio. However, three years later his show was cancelled, and he moved to New Orleans, declaring that he was not interested in radio anymore. In 2008, Bond was indicted on 65 charges, which included identity theft, forging documents, and attempted grand larceny; he was also accused of involvement in a $4.3 million forged-check scheme. He pleaded guilty to second-degree larceny, identity theft, and possession of forgery devices and was sentenced to prison, where he served two years before being released on parole. The Washington Post reported that after resigning from WTPA, Bond said, “They just didn’t want me to talk about Trump in a disparaging, negative way, if at all … I couldn’t go further with it. …Everybody talks about this guy. How can I do a talk show when I can’t mention what people are talking about out there?” He also said that central Pennsylvania “can’t handle someone as liberal and brutally honest as I can be quite often.”

Tim Michaels is general manager of WTPA. He sent a memo to Bond, who later posted it to Facebook. It read, in part, “I have received backlash in the form of emails, phone calls and such. I have listeners threatening a boycotts [sic] of sponsors and social media campaigns against the station, I have spoken with several parties personally this week that are very angered and have discontinued listening to WTPA. and [sic] are encouraging their friends to do the same.” The New York Daily News reported that Michaels had sent a memo in December 2015 to all on-air personalities at the station, instructing them to avoid politics on the air and online. A second memo, circulated after the field narrowed to just Trump and Hillary Clinton, said not to mention either one on the air. The Washington Post reported that Michaels wrote in an email that Bond had “crossed the lines of what was acceptable.”

Further Details

In an interview with the Daily News, Bond said that he was “walking on eggshells” prior to his resignation. He also mentioned that Palmyra is “a conservative town,” and that Trump supporters had intimidated the station manager. “I stood up to Trump and I’m out of a job. A lot of people are lying down,” he said in the interview.

Outcome

Bruce Bond Resigns

Radio host Bruce Bond resigned from his talk show at WTPA after the general manager instructed him not to criticize Donald Trump on the air. The station manager had sent two previous memos asking the station’s on-air personalities to avoid discussing politics during their shows.

External References

Radio host scolded for criticizing President Trump resigns, CBS News

A timeline of Bruce Bond’s Harrisburg radio history, Penn Live

My apologies to the General Manager of WTPA…

A radio host was warned not to criticize President Trump. So he quit. The Washington Post

‘I stood up and I’m out of a job’ – radio host Bruce Bond on the perils of talking politics in the age of Trump, The New York Daily News

Bruce Bond has quit WTPA due to Trump comments ban, Penn Live

Former radio host Bond sentenced for fraud, Penn Live

Prepared by Graham Piro ‘18

September 24, 2017