After Media Matters learned that iHeartRadio was going to honor conservative radio host Michael Berry -- a notorious race-baiter who routinely mocks Chicago gun violence victims -- as “talk personality of the year,” The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and MPOWER Change both called on iHeartRadio to rescind Berry’s award.
Chicago media outlets like the Chicago Tribune and WGN’s WGN News also spotlighted Berry’s offensive attacks on Chicago gun violence victims, including his “regular feature, ‘Chicago Weekend Crime Report,’” which, the Tribune reports, “includes a shooting victim bingo game in which listeners are supposed to guess where in the body victims were shot.”
Though the awards show was held on March 5, it is unclear whether Berry was honored during the ceremony. Media Matters has sent iHeartRadio multiple requests for comment, asking the company to confirm whether Berry received the award at the event as previously planned. iHeartRadio has not responded.
UPDATE 3/13/17: Berry announced on his March 10 show that he would "discontinue" his weekly segment mocking victims of Chicago gun violence and apologized for the feature. iHeartRadio has not responded to requests for comment on Berry's apology and the discontinuation of the segment. iHeartRadio has also yet to clarify whether it honored Berry with the "talk personality of the year" award at the March 5 awards show.
UPDATE 3/27/17: A coalition of 21 civil rights and gun violence prevention groups signed a letter expressing concern that iHeartRadio has not confirmed whether it gave a “talk personality of the year” award to a conservative radio host who regularly featured a racially charged segment dedicated to mocking victims of Chicago gun violence. Media Matters and 20 other civil rights and gun violence prevention groups are asking iHeartRadio to break its silence and publicly state whether it honored Berry. From the March 24 letter: Letter to IHeartRadio 3.24.2017
UPDATE 4/11/17: Despite another letter from the Chicago Urban League and other Chicago groups calling for Berry to be fired, iHeartRadio has yet to publicly address the situation. Chicago Urban League president and CEO Shari Runner said that there can be “zero tolerance” for characterizing African-Americans “as people who are lawless, unprofessional, [and] uncaring,” and called once again on iHeartRadio to break its silence regarding Berry's award.