Popular talk radio show hosts Armstrong & Getty were absent from Clear Channel's live programming Tuesday amid controversy around one of the hosts' on-air comments about Muslims.
KSTE (650 AM) aired a previously recorded "Best Of" morning show on Tuesday instead of its regularly scheduled live program featuring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty. Officials for the Sacramento station and its owner, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, offered no explanation for the change, sparking questions and heated comments among fans on the show's Facebook page.
During an on-air discussion Monday, Armstrong criticized the United States for what he characterized as apologizing for a crude YouTube video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad and sparked anti-U.S. uprisings around the globe. He urged listeners to make their own "anti-Muhammad ads" and post them to Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news network. "We need to bombard them with ads until they grow up," he said.
Armstrong did not return a phone message from The Bee on Tuesday, and Clear Channel spokesman Dave Milner said, "We do not have any information at this time" about the hosts and their future at KSTE.
The program, which airs weekday mornings, features the hosts taking calls from the public and offering social commentary and humorous anecdotes about everything from celebrity sex to politics.
The show's fans spoke out on Armstrong & Getty's Facebook page Tuesday, questioning why they were absent from the live broadcast and accusing the channel of censorship.
"Attention Clear Channel Cowards: Are you really afraid that both Muslims in Sacramento are going to picket the station, or boycott all of your advertisers selling prayer rugs? Really?" wrote one Facebook poster.
He and others said they were prepared to protest if Armstrong and Getty were suspended or fired for Monday's remarks.
Other posters defended the channel's right to censor content that it deemed offensive.
The Sacramento Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group, has decided to steer clear of the controversy, said executive director Basim Elkarra.
"They're just doing it for ratings," he said of Armstrong's remarks about Muslims.
"Of course, we don't like some of their attacks," Elkarra said of the radio hosts. "But we respect freedom of speech."