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XM Satellite Suspends Shock Jocks for Offensive Comments

Reuters
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 | 4:59 PM ET

XM Satellite Radio Holdings said it suspended the ribald radio show "Opie & Anthony" for 30 days about one week after a guest fantasized about raping Condoleezza Rice and Laura Bush.

XM, which has agreed to merge with rival Sirius Satellite Radio, said in a statement that it "deplored" the comments on the show, which is hosted by Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia. The hosts issued an apology soon after the original airing.

But XM said on Tuesday it had second thoughts after listening to show this week.

"Comments made by Opie and Anthony on yesterday's broadcast put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter," the company said in a statement. "The management of XM Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony to make clear that our on-air talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom requires of them."

The suspension comes in the wake of the CBS Radio's firing of talk show host Don Imus, the who called the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy headed hos" on his early morning show last month, stirring an uproar about the remarks that many people found racially offensive.

CBS Radio, a unit of CBS, simulcasts a censored daily version of the Opie & Anthony show, which airs uncensored on XM Satellite Radio.

"Our plan is for them to be on-air tomorrow, according to a CBS spokeswoman.

Another show will air in its place on XM during the suspension.

Opie and Anthony's show has gotten them into hot water before. They were fired from a New York station for a 2002 broadcast in which they encouraged couples to have sex in public places.

XM shares slipped to their lowest since October, in late afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

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