Last week, before a basketball game between Eagle Grove and Forest City in Forest City, Iowa, two local radio broadcasters were heard cheerily expressing their disdain for the “Español people” who played for Eagle Grove High School, before wishing they would “go back to where they came from.”
Here’s a transcript of the dialogue between host Orin Harris and producer Holly Jane Kusserow-Smidt:
Harris: The first three names we gotta remember are Enzo Gebara, Spencer Espejo, and Nikolas Padilla for Eagle Grove. They have a lot of ... um, apparently...
Kusserow-Smidt: Español people.
Harris: Español people in Eagle Grove.
Kusserow-Smidt: Gee, I wonder why that is?
Harris: I wonder why.
Kusserow-Smidt: But the latest there is that they’re just going to gradually come into town, yeah right.
Harris: Uh huh.
Kusserow-Smidt: Uh huh.
Harris: Gradually work their way in.
Kusserow-Smidt: Gradually work their way in … so, who are these people again?
Harris: Oh, you wanna know the names? Enzo Gebara, Spencer Espejo, and Nikolas Padilla.
Kusserow-Smidt: They sound like they’ve been here a while, given the first names.
Harris: Yea, I think they’ve been there. Padilla, I think that’s P-A-D-I-L-L-A.
Kusserow-Smidt: Yea, Padilla.
Harris: Padilla, something like that.
Harris: The there’s Chase Blasie, he sounds like he’s not a foreigner. Could be though.
Harris: They’re all foreigners.
Kusserow-Smidt: Exactly, all foreigners.
Harris: As Trump would say, go back where they came from.
Kusserow-Smidt: Well, some would say that, yeah, some days I feel like that too.
This segment of the broadcast apparently streamed online from KIOW, a Forest City station, although it was never broadcast on the radio. KIOW sent a letter of apology to the two schools last week, and this morning, they put out a statement condemning the comments as “deplorable” and announcing the firings of both announcers (Harris was initially just suspended).
On Tuesday, November 28th, two employees of KIOW made comments that were insensitive, thoughtless and degrading to others. These comments were deplorable, and the staff and management of KIOW in no way condones or supports these comments.
These comments never aired on KIOW Radio. They did, however, appear on a video feed that appeared on a school website.
That night when we learned of these comments, we were in contact with the Eagle Grove School District and gathered information about the incident. On Thursday morning, November 30, a letter of apology was sent to school officials, along with details of our actions in regards to the two employees involved.
As a result, both employees have been fired from their positions with the station.
KIOW Radio has a long history of promoting and supporting student athletes, coaches and schools. As a company, we take great pride in spotlighting the great efforts of our local citizens, schools and communities, and we will demand that all company employees adhere to this policy.
Update (3:09 p.m. ET): Harris has apologized, and the producer has been identified as grade school teacher Holly Jane Kusserow-Smidt.