March 17, 2010

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RAY ROUTHIER

— By

Staff Writer

Two part-time talk show hosts have been suspended from Portland radio station WLOB (1310 AM) for an in-studio confrontation Saturday that included an ethnic slur being uttered over the air.

General manager John Van Hoogenstyn said he has indefinitely suspended Kevin Crocker, host of ''Talking Maine,'' and Lou Castaldi, host of ''Getting Fit With Lou.''

Crocker said Wednesday that he uttered a derogatory term for Italians on air after the confrontation with Castaldi.

He said he lost his temper because Castaldi ''barged'' into the studio with nine minutes left in Crocker's show and wouldn't leave.

Usually, Castaldi comes on the air with a couple of minutes to go in Castaldi's show, Crocker said. This is known in radio as a ''handoff'' between hosts.

''I wish I had handled it better. I'm very sorry to everyone who was offended,'' Crocker said.

Castaldi said Wednesday that the confrontation began when he went on Crocker's show for a few minutes and began ranting about Republicans, something he normally does and something he says the station has encouraged him to do.

Crocker is a Republican and his show is largely about politics.

''I thought we were joking, then he jumped all over me and told me to get out of the studio,'' said Castaldi. ''He started to threaten me and wanted to shut my microphone off. Then, after I left he (said the slur).''

Castaldi said he did nothing to incite Crocker. He said he will be consulting with a lawyer about his options concerning the suspension and the on-air slur.

Van Hoogenstyn said both Crocker and Castaldi were suspended because both took part in the confrontation.

''There was a level of name calling and anger, and a lack of control, that we won't tolerate,'' said Van Hoogenstyn.

Both Crocker and Castaldi are part-time staff members, hosting shows once a week. Van Hoogenstyn says he does not know when or if either will be reinstated. In the meantime, the time slots will be filled with syndicated programming.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6380 or at

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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