Disparaging radio comment angers community

A disparaging comment made last week on a local radio station about a planning commission member has angered several people, who say the remark was inappropriate and should have been censored.

In a Dec. 21 appearance on “The Blaine Young Show,” Anita Stup, former county commissioner and Maryland delegate, called Frederick County Planning Commission member Catherine Forrence a “bitch.” Stup, a frequent guest on the afternoon talk show, had been chatting about the future of the planning commission, which includes a couple of members who have a stormy relationship with Young.

In his next show, Young apologized for Stup’s comments and acknowledged they were inappropriate.

However, the attack reignited concerns among critics of Young — president of the Board of County Commissioners — that his job as a radio host is at odds with his responsibility as a public servant.

“I’m tired of Blaine Young being a bully and picking on people,” Forrence said in an interview Wednesday.

As a county commissioner, Young has a responsibility to build bridges rather than polarize, she added.

“Blaine Young likes to stir the pot and add fuel to the fire, and I’m pretty confident that he did that on this occasion,” continued Forrence, who said she wasn’t listening to the show at the time of the comment and hasn’t been able to obtain a recording from WFMD.

On Wednesday, she filed an online complaint about the remark with the Federal Communications Commission.

She said she was also sending the FCC a letter objecting to “profanity and on-air attack.”

Stup’s Dec. 21 comment came amid a conversation about the previous day’s county commissioners meeting where Young had predicted there would be a “drastically different” planning commission in July.

The two went on to talk about the fact that Forrence’s term would be up next year and said it was unclear whether she would reapply for her post.

Stup said she had heard complaints about Forrence’s demeanor on the commission.

“I’ve seen her in action before, and she can be just a … she can be a bitch,” Stup said of Forrence, according to an audio clip provided by WFMD.

The uncensored statement was broadcast, leading to a surge of online postings debating whether Stup’s remark amounted to bullying. In addition, because the station has a seven-second time delay, some faulted Young and the station for failing to censor the comment.

The recording of the Dec. 21 show indicates that when Stup insulted Forrence, Young immediately addressed the station’s program manager, Frank Mitchell.

“Hold on. All right, I hit it, Frank,” he said.

Mitchell said Young thought he had edited out the seven-second segment of conversation that included the comment.

Young said that although he didn’t condone Stup’s statement, at least she didn’t hide behind a screen name, as he said his critics often do when insulting him in online posts.

On Wednesday, Stup admitted the name-calling was wrong.

“Obviously, I had a slip of the tongue. I think I was incorrect when I said it,” Stup said in a phone interview.

Stup also apologized on the air Wednesday for the remark.

Mitchell added that at this point, he believes barring Stup from WFMD shows will not be necessary.

“She’s been talked to,” he said. “She’ll understand that that’s not tolerated.”

However, he said the word “bitch” isn’t technically banned by the FCC, and in rare cases, the station might allow it to air depending on the context. Airing the term wasn’t acceptable in this case, he said.

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