Times squelches announcer

This looks bad: New York Times radio station fires announcer over off-air remark. Gregg Whiteside had worked for WQXR 25 years and was their main classical music announcer. He made a comment (reportedly antisemitic) in a private conversation with a colleague and friend. Someone overheard the comment and reported it, and they fired him without notice or severance.

It’s hard to imagine what Whiteside could have said or what the circumstances could have been to justify such extreme action. What makes it worse, of course, is the Times‘ usual priggish self-righteousness about privacy, freedom of expression, employment discrimation, due process, and what not. None of those concerns apply, it seems, when it’s the Times itself that does something, and when the thing that’s done, however abusive, doesn’t fit into one of the special categories ideological liberals concern themselves with. If the man had missed out on a promotion because he was an in-your-face transvestite who did obscene parodies of the Pope fairness would have been an issue, but he wasn’t so lucky.

Of course, there’s a good chance PC was just an excuse for the firing, and someone wanted to get Whiteside for some other reason. The Times is said to be a snakepit, so why not its radio station? Since they’ve been trashing their own cultural coverage lately, maybe getting rid of a well-known voice for classical music seemed like a good move. Who knows?

42 thoughts on “Times squelches announcer”

  1. Al over at WhiteFuture.com
    Al over at WhiteFuture.com once told me that hypocrisy is the defining characteristic of the Left. I thought his comment might be relevant for this topic.

  2. This incident shows just how
    This incident shows just how fragile, how weak, the whole multicultural, multiracial edifice really is. If an off-air remark uttered during a private conversation is enough to get a media professional fired, then the elites are scared of something.

  3. As a loyal listener of WQXR
    As a loyal listener of WQXR and a long time fan of Mr. Whiteside’s I was appalled by the actions taken against him by the station recently. I think it is unpardonable, and must be addressed, therefore I have started a petition to have him reinstated. I hope those of you who feel the same will visit this site and help us give Mr. Whiteside back his job and his dignity. He is a jewel to the community and deserves much better.
    The site is:

  4. I have been a fan of Gregg
    I have been a fan of Gregg Whiteside’s for over 15 years. I’ve missed him these past few weeks, but just assumed he was on vacation. (Somehow, though, I know something was wrong because the “Bright & Early” show has been sounding very disorganized lately). Now that I know the truth, I am FURIOUS at WQXR. I’ve tried several times to log on to the petition website that Lisa Kropp cites, but am not having any luck. I would like to show my support and help Gregg Whiteside any way I can. Are there other efforts getting organized out there?

  5. Like Toni Cindrich, I am a
    Like Toni Cindrich, I am a Gregg Whiteside fan. I have been listening to WQXR for almost 50 years; Gregg since he first came to the station. I sent an e-mail to QXR to find out what happened to Gregg and where I could send him a note, not knowing the circumstances of his leaving. I received no response from QXR, so I did a network search and found your site. I am outraged and astounded that the New York Times and WQXR could be so stupid. Maybe if they are inundated with e-mail from Gregg’s fans threatening to tune out ([email protected]) until such time as Gregg is reinstated (that is to say if he would even consider returning), they will realize what a great asset they have discarded.

  6. I am appalled that they
    I am appalled that they could have done this to Gregg Whiteside, over a remark made in private. If he had been overheard talking on the street, would they have done the same?

    The NY Times disgraces itself by this action.

  7. Here we are, thinking we are
    Here we are, thinking we are living in the land of the free when in fact the NY Times has remodeled itself into Nazi Germany. Let’s get those petitions going and see justice done here!

  8. Like your other contacts, I,
    Like your other contacts, I, too, find this whole thing quite disgusting. I have listened to Gregg for 25 years and he is an irreplaceable treasure. So he made a mistake! No one is perfect and even if his comment were on the air he should be given another chance. I cannot imagine he would want to return to WQXR but I wish he would. Meanwhile other people in the news media over the past ten days continue to hog the airwaves. I just care about Gregg.

  9. I , too sent an email to QXR
    I , too sent an email to QXR and got no answer. And I don’t like not getting an answer, since I am a librarian and I always find anwers. When I searched the Internet and discovered the answer, I like thousands of other satisfied listeners who have enjoyed and learned from Gregg Whiteside while listening to the wonderful music and his intelligent comments, am greatly disappointed by the ridiculous and shameful actions taken by the station managers. Who and what are they afraid of? A station that has gained the respect and admiration of listeners all over the world has stooped to such low levels is astounding. Do they not value their reputation? Are they joining the ranks of the less reputable rags published that pass as news? What can we expect in the future? God help us!

  10. The “New York Times” has
    The “New York Times” has committed so many incorrect judgement calls in the recent past, but firing Gregg Whiteside was the worst.
    Be the classy “Classical Station” that you once were and bring him back. Please notify me accordingly so I can start listening again.

  11. You know something? I
    You know something? I couldn’t care less what he said in his private conversation. It was a private conversation with a friend. This is America. And this incredible broadcaster was employed by—and elevated the standards of—WQXR to the point that it is not worth listening to without him. He was simply the best. Who out there believes that Gregg Whiteside, working in his field, in New York City, for 25 years, is all of a sudden discovered to be a bigot or a hostile presence in the workplace? Come on! They take us for idiots? Ludicrous, asinine, and stupid this radio station’s managers have to be. And maybe jealous? Gregg was maybe too good? Corporate America does not suffer lightly the tail that wags the dog. This was a hatchet job. And I have NO doubt after all the years of pleasure he gave, Mr. Gregg Whiteside was as fine a man as he was a professional. WQXR is moribund. It sounds funereal, boring, and worse than mediocre. It has lost its soul, its voice, its passion—it has lost Gregg Whiteside.

  12. I, too, contacted WQXR via
    I, too, contacted WQXR via E-mail and received no response. To say that I am shocked at WQXR’s action in dismissing Gregg Whiteside over a private remark is an understatement. He was undoubtedly the best announcer on the station, and I looked forward to hearing his intelligent remarks and fine speaking voice. I am so disappointed in WQXR – a station to which I have listened for over 55 years.

  13. I, too, greatly miss Gregg
    I, too, greatly miss Gregg Whiteside on WQXR and am appalled at his being fired over an overheard private conversation. To agree with so many other postings: WQXR suffers immeasurably by his loss. That is an understatement, but it is certainly true. Moreover, I am concerned for Mr. Whiteside in the wake of such a devastating occurrence.

  14. Whatever Mr. Whiteside’s
    Whatever Mr. Whiteside’s private comments happened to be, it’s disturbing that his career ended as quickly as it took him to make said comments. The New York Times which professes to be liberal is displaying the same “politically correct” right wing attitude that’s permeating our airwaves today.

  15. Justice must not only be
    Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. If the Times thinks it has acted justly, then let it show us.
    If the Times thinks otherwise, then a handsome settlement should be in the offing for our Mr. Whiteside, in exchange for his silence. For our part, we’re getting ten cents on the dollar in this bankrupt workout.
    Bright and Early becomes Tarnished and Tardy.

  16. I guess it took me a little
    I guess it took me a little longer than most, but I too sent an e-mail to WQXR asking about Gregg Whiteside’s whereabouts, and got a “form letter” automated response devoid of content. I listened to Gregg for years before moving abroad, and since discovering WQXR.com, happily renewed my habit several years ago.

    I fail to understand the Times’ logic in summarily firing an employee with such a loyal following, without giving a shred of explanation as to what actually happened.

    While this action should not have happened in the first place, once it has occurred, I think it certainly qualifies as “news that’s fit to print.”

  17. Before moving from New York
    Before moving from New York two years ago, I had become a long-time listener, admirer and ardent fan of Gregg Whiteside. I was delighted to have rediscovered ‘QXR on the web recently, but puzzled by the prolonged absense of Mr. Whiteside. His summary execution is an outrage and a travesty of all the Times supposedly stands for! For God’s sake, swallow your pride, apologize and bring Mr. Whiteside back immediately. – Peter Fox Goldstein

  18. Gregg Whiteside has been the
    Gregg Whiteside has been the only reason to listen to WQXR. I had never realized this until now. For the last few months, listening to their parade of humorless nerds has been pure torture.

    It is time to act. And if it means that every loyal Gregg Whiteside listener joins a partnership to launch a competing classical music outlet with Gregg as its anchor host, all the better. It’s time that the windbags at the Old Grey Lady got their double chins slapped.

  19. I would like to hear Gregg
    I would like to hear Gregg White on WQXR again. He made my 45-minute commute bearable. He is very knowledgeable in the classical music and an avid sport fan. In the pass five years, he has made my early morning commute bearable. I am requesting he be reinstated before Thanksgiving. The New York Time management needs to apologize to him on the radio and in print.

  20. Sanctimonious and stupid!
    Sanctimonious and stupid! The best two words to describe the actions of the NYTimes in firing the BEST ANNOUNCER – by far – on their station.

    Here is a station with an ever DECREASING audience – mired in the past in many more ways than one – and it fires the finest voice on the station! They SHOULD fire their program director – for failing to update their music selections beyond the baroque (read BORING!!!).

    I will miss Mr. Whiteside! I will NEVER AGAIN SUBSCRIBE TO THE N.Y. TIMES. And, as an x-advertising executive (41 years in the advertising agency business) – I will do all I can to recommend to my friends in the business to AVOID the purchase of time on WQXR!

    Don’t like it??? SO SUE ME!!!

  21. Gregg Whiteside was the
    Gregg Whiteside was the foundations of the WQXR announcers. He helped to bring about a brand new day with his wit, knowledge and fine taste in music. The world we live in is full of change but THIS should not have happened. He is sorely missed and must be reinstated.

    Mr. Whiteside, if WQXR is too thick-headed to bring you back, then I wish you well in future endevors. 12 years was too short a time to hear you. Be well.

  22. For almost tewnty years
    For almost tewnty years WQXR, and Gregg Whiteside most especially, played softly in my home, my office, my car….. it punctuated my day and enhanced my life. No longer. Without Mr. Whiteside’s intelligence and elegant humor the station is indistinguishable from Musak. It is impossible to support or tolerate any organization which has acted so arrogantly.

  23. I couldn’t agree more with
    I couldn’t agree more with all of the above comments. Gregg Whiteside brought great humor and knowledge of classical music to the WQXR format. It’s unfortunate there is practically no other venue for good music in the NY area.

  24. For many years I enjoyed
    For many years I enjoyed listening to Gregg Whiteside and dearly miss him. However I do wonder whether those who so readily excuse his allegedly antisemetic remarks would be so quick to defend him if his comments insulted another ethnic or racial group.

  25. Re Gregg Whiteside’s
    Re Gregg Whiteside’s dismissal

    What 1s WQXR? An abominable network, that masquerades as an “enlightned” classical music station when it is little better than a sleezy network that sells info-mercials. How many times do we have to listen to generation after generation of Liebenthals touting their municipal bonds? Or the candidates for hip replacement with their “Pendants.” Or hour after hour of Leonard Bernstein, as if no other conductor/composer merits air time? Or the same Vivaldi concertos, Rosamunda overtures, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and Wagner chestnuts? Through all of this muck Gregg Whiteside gritted his teeth and performed professionally when any of us lesser mortals would have been sent to Bellevue. I really didn’t know how he did it. Was he just congenitally cheery or prescribed a designer anti-depressant denied the larger public? I don’t know but I couldn’t wait to change stations to hear Steve Post for some healthy sarcasm after all the bilge on WQXR and now he, too has been banished.
    But the charge that Gregg Whiteside made an “inappropriate” comment at least confirmed what many of us sensed, that Gregg Whiteside was not a robot. Shame on you, WQXR! You are a worthless, pitiful radio station. And Bravo Gregg Whiteside, where ever you are! May your lawsuit bankrupt the station.

  26. I am among the appalled and
    I am among the appalled and outraged at the firing of Gregg Whiteside! I moved out of the listening area, so I was unaware of the change until now. I’m sorry Mr. Whiteside, you deserve only the best. But a similar thing happened recently on WMHT Schenectady. Four classical annoncers were fired! Now they only play syndicted music. Watch out Clayelle,Jeff,Lloyd,and the rest, it may happen to you. I’m Jewish and I don’t care what Gregg said. It dosn’t matter. Greggs voice and on air personality matter.

  27. wqxr was our station since
    wqxr was our station since 1939we hardly ever moved our dail.gregg whiteside was our attraction,the last many years.his knowledge of music his humor early in the day were a great start for any day.we are jewish and dont agree with the ny times to dismiss gregg whiteside.we will now play tapes without commerials


  29. I’ve been out of New York
    I’ve been out of New York for about fifteen years, but used to listen to QXR and remember when Gregg Whiteside was brought on to replace George Edwards. I’m also Jewish and have come to recognize that the charge of anti-semitism is one which nowadays must be taken with a very large dose of skepticism. The ever-righteous Times, of course, declines to disclose the remarks or even discuss the matter. Not only is the station no longer “your father’s” WQXR—neither is the Times. As an elementary school student in NY in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I can remember the reverence in which it was held as we all bought subscriptions to the paper to read in class, as well as going into Manhattan to tour the premises. The same crew that has undermined a once great newspaper has commmitted an outrage against ideals it pompously spouts in its editorials.

    People sometimes wonder how you can move from New York to a small town in Michigan, but the fact is that the changes in the city, the Times representing but one, made it rather easy.

  30. Like so many others, at
    Like so many others, at first I thought Gregg Whiteside was on an unannounced vacation and then, when his absence went on and on, I thought perhaps he had taken a sabbatical. The oddest part of the conundrum was that nobody at WQXR said anything about him, although one occasionally heard his voice in adverts for the Metropolitan Opera. I logged on to the website only to discover that his profile was no longer there. Finally, unable to bear the mystery any longer, I did an Internet search and got the sad news of his dismissal.

    Surprised by the New York Times’action? Not me! I gave up my Times subscription months ago— after nearly 40 years of reading the “newspaper of record.” Its insufferably arrogant and self-righteous editorial stances, not to mention its shoddy journalistic practices, suddenly became more than I could bear. Even now, I turn the volume down when WQXR’s news broadcasts come on so that I will not have to listen to those egregious extensions of the parent company’s bias.

    I remain a WQXR listener mainly because it is the only classical music game in town but also because I think Jeff Spurgeon and Lloyd Moss are magnificent. However, I will never accept the loss of Gregg Whiteside, whose radio voice awakened me on so many mornings, stretching back to the days when he was George Edwards’ “Sam Hall.” The station’s knee-jerk implementation of the parent company’s dictates, while perhaps understandable, is no less reprehensible. I wish you all the best, Gregg, and hope to hear that you have gone on to bigger and better venues!

  31. Although I disagreed with G.
    Although I disagreed with G. Whiteside, opinion of Jets running back Curtis Martin’s abilties, I think his discharge was a outrage and points out how blessed we are to have public broadcasting, although they are not much better. How about boycotting the products advertised on wqxr, starting with Piano Piano and their never ending sales of the century.

  32. For Gregg Whiteside fans: I
    For Gregg Whiteside fans: I understand that the Village Voice is going to do an expose on the whole sorry mess at WQXR, probably within the next two or three weeks. Keep your fingers crossed. Other than a few tidbits in the Post, I don’t think the Whiteside story has been covered by the New York media. And to judge from the above testimonials, this story has legs.

  33. Like a host of people, I was
    Like a host of people, I was shocked when I learned of Gregg Whiteside’s firing. I woke up to his show every morning before going to work and enjoyed his comments, intelligence and wit immensely. When I told a friend of mine who has listened to WQXR since August 1936 (then W2XR), when he was a boy, he was stunned and upset. We both last saw Gregg at a NY Botanical Garden concert and he was superb in his comments. As a newspaper reporter, I once had a picture of him published in our newspaper, “The Brooklyn Spectator.” His loss to WQXR and its listeners is a great injustice to Whiteside and the world of classical music.

  34. Tom Robbins article on Gregg
    Tom Robbins article on Gregg Whiteside is in this week’s Village Voice (January 7-13, 2004). It’s excellent!

  35. I, also, am late jumping on
    I, also, am late jumping on this bandwagon. I also assumed Mr. Whiteside was on vacation but found it odd that the announcers never mentioned that they were “sitting in” for him until his return. Ironically I then began to assume that perhaps he had been promoted to a position within QXR but off-air. I also scoured the website for news of him and found nothing. When I finally had time to do an in-depth web search yesterday I was shocked to read of his abrupt firing. I am always pained by insensitive remarks directed at any ethnic group as I’m sure others are probably hurt by my own insensitive remarks, but we are all human. In all fairness to everyone, there is obviously more to this than meets our heartbroken eyes. I’m sure QXR had an agenda of their own beyond one insensitive remark made in passing to a friend and right or wrong is not for us to judge. We can only mourn the loss of one of the better radio personalities anywhere. Mr. Whiteside’s warm, well modulated, intelligent, and witty voice will be sorely missed by all and I can only hope that we will hear that voice again soon—be it back home at QXR or somewhere else. I wish Mr. Whiteside success in any action he takes against QXR and in all future endeavors. Having said all of that, I would also like to come to the defense of those he left behind. I was saddened by some of the remarks previously posted denigrating the fine staff of announcers who, probably as confused as anyone else and undoubtedly under a strict gag order, had to pick up the pieces and carry on. Bravo to all of you, Sam Hall and Steve Powers included. Mr. Forrest is a fine announcer in his own right, and although he has huge shoes to fill should he land the morning show permanently, I wish him all the luck in the world and look forward to establishing a new commuter relationship with him!

  36. Wednesday, January 7,
    Wednesday, January 7, 2004
    Thanks to an email from Lisa Kropp (http://www.petitononline.com), I picked up THE VILLAGE VOICE and read Tom Robbins story about Gregg Whiteside. Too coincidentally ? on WQXR today, Kevin Gordon sat in 2:00-4:00—the last hour of Jeff Spurgeion’s and first hour of Lloyd Moss’ air time because they had to attend “a meeting.” Let’s hope VV’s Robbins hit a nerve at NY Times’ airwave outlet.

    The offensive action of the NY Times was not only unjust to Gregg Whiteside, it showed total disregard for the listening public and a frightening control of one medium of communication (radio WQXR) by another (newspaper The New York Times). This brings home the threat of Bush’s FCC monopoly battle.

  37. Wednesday, Janaury 7, 2004.
    Wednesday, Janaury 7, 2004. Too coincidently ? (as I read Tom Robbins story in THE VILLAGE VOICE about Gregg Whiteside), Kevin Gordon sat in 2:00-4:00 on WQXR today—the last hour of Jeff Spurgeon’s and first hour of Lloyd Moss’ air time because they had to “attend a meeting.”

    Let’s hope VV’s Robbins hit a nerve at The New York Times’ airwave outlet.

    The New York Times’ offensive action was not only unjust to Gregg Whiteside, it showed total disregard for the listening public. It is frightening arbitrary control of one medium of communication (WQXR radio) by another (New York Times newspaper moguls).

    This brings home the threat of Bush’s FCC monopoly battle.

  38. This is a little late, I
    This is a little late, I know, as it has been almost a year…but I miss Gregg like hell. He always started my day with his love of music and sports, his knowledge of same, his witty and intelligent comments, and his pleasant personality. In fact, I once wrote him a fan letter to that effect, and received a lovely response.

    I am wondering if the “story for publication” is not a coverup of some kind. I don’t approve, naturally, of anti-Semitism, but wonder if it really happened…and if it did, during a private conversation, what kind of spy system does the Times employ? I believe that if he offended anyone, even unwittingly, he would offer a sincere and gracious apology…it’s just the personality of the man.

    Annie bergen, with all due respect, just doesn’t cut it.

    Does anyone know where Gregg is now?

    At any rate..Gregg, if you are reading this, sue their a**es off! And good luck to you…you are the best, and I know you will succeed and prevail.

  39. well,

    It appears that the

    It appears that the New York Times is its usualy self afraid of any criticism.I wonder if Gregg had made(supposedly) an anti gentile remark what then.

    I imagine thqat the Times would have lauded him. Irt is sad another great voice on the air is
    silenced… i wonder why

  40. I have been trying to access
    I have been trying to access the petition to have Gregg Whiteside reinstated since last September but alas without success. I also wrote a letter to the station and actually received a noninformational reply. How could they substitute Annie Bergen for GW – her prefectly melodious voice is like sandpaper -whether she talks about Mozart, Vermont teddy bears, the weather or the casualties in Iraq – she sounds the same. How I miss that energy, breath of knowledge, intellect and beautiful erudite soul every single morning!


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