Wednesday, April 20, 2005 1:00 am

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Lex & Terry morning show pulled from UF


Alligator Writer

Rock 104 may be digging a grave for mornings with Lex and Terry sooner than expected.

In just a few days, the entire show, not just “Drunk Bitch Friday,” the most popular morning radio segment in the Gainesville area, will be taken off the air even though the segment was not found to violate Federal Communications Commission standards of decency.

However, Syndication Director for Cox Radio Peter Welpton said FCC regulations were never the problem.

“This isn’t an issue of FCC law. This is an issue with the president,” Welpton said of UF President Bernie Machen. “At some point, we are going to be forced to hold the station in breach of contract and be forced to remove the show from the radio station. We’re talking about a matter of days. Not just Friday’s segment — we are removing the show.”

WRUF came in breach of its syndication contract with Cox Radio when it stopped airing “Drunk Bitch Friday” earlier this month because selective airing of shows is not allowed. Selective cancellation of show segments also sets a troublesome precedent of censorship, so Cox cancelled the entire show.

Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes told the Alligator they both disagreed with UF administration’s decision to cancel the “Drunk Bitch Friday” segment about two weeks ago.

Lex said it violates the First Amendment.

“Nobody is doing anything against their will,” he said. “This is done by a college that has a school of journalism? What are you teaching these kids?”

UF spokesman Steve Orlando sees the situation differently.

“If you’re talking about underage alcohol consumption, that is something we cannot tolerate,” he said. “Certainly, I don’t think the framers of the Constitution had ‘Drunk Bitch Friday’ in mind when they wrote that.”

Both hosts said they were upset about the action taken by UF administration.

“It makes me feel sad,” Lex said. “I have a past in Gainesville. I went to Santa Fe (Community College) for a while. It’s a great station, and it always has been. This is a dark day in the history of the network.”

“I think that if you lined up all 40 of our stations that would cancel ‘Drunk Bitch Friday,’ Rock 104 would be the last one on the list,” Terry said. “I am just going to follow the president around for a year and make sure he doesn’t have a cocktail.”

Welpton said the cancellation was not a consequence-free one for the university.

“[UF] just signed a three-year deal six months ago, and this will cost the station a lot of money,” Welpton said.

Welpton would not say how much money will come out of UF’s pocketbook for breaking the contract. He added that the syndication of “The Lex & Terry Morning Show” helps pay for the salaries of WRUF staff members.

Orlando said the university is prepared to suffer monetary losses for the decision.

“If they choose to cancel the entire program, then that is their decision,” he said. “[Machen and College of Journalism Dean Terry Hynes] spoke with each other when they made this decision, and I think they understood the potential consequences. A monetary price compared with the life of a student — there’s just no comparison.”

Larry Dankner, general manager for WRUF, said he thought the station had more time before a decision was made about the show.

“They have been trying to work with us,” he said. “I thought that we had a couple more Fridays to work with.”

Lex said he feels the decision to cancel the show was more personal than well-informed.

“While I understand what it must be like to be the president of a university, I don’t think there has been adequate fact-finding,” Lex said. “That pretty much tells me that this is of a political nature. I really don’t think that the show’s content offends anybody but one person.”

Terry echoed his co-host.

“I can’t wait for [UF] to stop the world’s largest cocktail party,” he said of the annual bash at Jacksonville Landing for the UF-Georgia football game. “I’ve got my sights set on that. If that doesn’t relay the hypocrisy of all this, I don’t know what does.”

Relatedly, a UF student fell to his death from a parking garage at the event last year, allegedly due to alcohol-related reasons.

Neither considered the show indecent.

“I don’t think that we can stand on a soapbox and say that the show is a public service,” Terry said. “It’s up to the person to decide. We give people more credit for being smart.”

Both Terry and Lex said listeners can make their own decisions about how to behave.

“I think this is pretty over the top,” Lex said. “Not everybody is a moron.”

Terry noted that numerous women apply to be on their show.

“The facts are we have over 2,500 women that apply to be a drunk bitch,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of them we cut off by 9 a.m. They’ve had an equivalent, at that time, of about three to four drinks.”

Terry said he does not want to see the show leave UF, but said he might cancel “Drunk Bitch Friday” to make a statement. They encouraged outraged listeners to take the mic and speak up.

“I would tell them to do what suits them best,” Lex said. “If it means anything to them to show the outrage of this, they should contact [the administration]. That seems to be what gets people’s attention.”

“If they are going on sheer volume,” Terry said, “there are a hell of a lot more people who would love to hear it.”

Orlando said that UF is in charge of the radio station that makes its home on campus.

“The station is part of the university. What the station chooses to air reflects the values of the university and its leadership.”

Orlando called the actions on the show “clearly irresponsible.”

Lex and Terry disagree.

“I don’t think a radio show has an impact on whether somebody drinks or not,” Lex said.

Terry, who said he doesn’t usually drink, offered the bright side of what listeners can do when the show is canceled.

“The good news is it kind of frees up everybody’s time to have sex,” he said.