It’s tough when you’re a public figure and you admit that you enjoy kinky sex. It’s even tougher when you’re, uh, in public radio.
That awkwardness became a binational reality Sunday when it was announced by the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) that it was firing Jian Ghomeshi as the main host of its pop culture show called Q. The hour-long weekday show is carried on 160 U.S. NPR (National Public Radio) stations. KPBS has aired Q at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday for five years. Ghomeshi was a member of the Canadian band Moxy Fruvous, with whom he released seven albums.
The hour-long, Toronto-based Q recently featured live words-and-music segments with Jason Mraz, Neil Young, and Robert Plant. Q also dips into movies, politics, and sports. It is KPBS’s primary vehicle to cover pop music.
The Washington Post describes Ghomeshi, 46, as the “cool guy on an otherwise stodgy network [CBC].” CBC cut ties with Ghomeshi when the Toronto Star reported that three women reportedly said he was violent with them against their will. Toronto police said there were no complaints filed against Ghomeshi according to the Washington Post. Ghomeshi says this was all one big “lie” orchestrated by one unhappy ex-girlfriend and a “freelance reporter.” Ghomeshi says he never made anyone do anything against their will and is suing the CBC for $50 million over the firing.
He did admit on his Facebook page that his sexual diet could include role-playing and domination. “No one and certainly no employer should have domain over what people do consensually in their private life.”
KPBS program director John Decker who was home sick on Monday, said he got an email from Q’s U.S. distributor saying the show would continue but without Ghomeshi. Decker says he has heard of no other U.S. NPR affiliate who is dumping Q.
Decker says he will have no comment about the Ghomeshi affair, but says KPBS will continue carrying Q. Regarding its ratings: “We are pleased with the results.”
The Q show is first broadcast live every weekday at 7 a.m. Pacific Time. Tonight’s (October 27) show hits the local airwaves at 8 p.m. with fill-in host Brent Bambury beginning: “This is a very hard day…. There are dozens of people who work hard to bring you Q…. They are still here, they’re still committed to bring you the best show they can…. Today we are doing what we do best as producers, as broadcasters, as people. We move forward. I hope you come with us. This is Q.”
From 1999 to 2004 KPBS radio produced its own weekday program focusing on the local arts called The Lounge. Musicians such Gregory Page, Cindy Lee Berryhill, and A.J. Croce were invited in to play live and be interviewed by host Dirk Sutro. When The Lounge was cancelled, KPBS said it would fold local music segments into its two-hour local show then called These Days.
But the local show (now called Midday Edition) has been shortened to one hour, and Decker says, “Our bailiwick is now news.” He says the local music coverage has moved to KPBS-TV. “We just started season three of Live at the Belly Up.”
Would Decker consider a new version of The Lounge that would air on KPBS radio either on weekdays or weekends? “I’m always open to suggestions,” says Decker.