BOSTON – The Don Imus producer who first uttered the racial slur that got the radio host fired will not be on the airwaves in Boston -- at least for now.
WRKO-AM and its parent company, Entercom Communications Corp., on Monday said it had decided against having Bernard McGuirk on the air for three days this week as a co-host on "Finneran's Forum," a show with sagging ratings hosted by former House speaker Tom Finneran.
The decision came a day before a group of black community leaders planned to protest outside the radio station for considering McGuirk, the "Imus in the Morning" producer and on-air jester who took part in the exchange of racist banter that led to his and Imus' dismissal.
The station gave no reason Monday for the change of heart by Julie Kahn, vice president and market manager for Entercom, and Jason Wolfe, the station's program director.
Just last week, Finneran had called McGuirk a "talented guy" and said he looked forward to working with him. Wolfe had said McGuirk was "entertaining, very witty" and that he would present himself in a different way on Finneran's show.
In the April 4 on-air exchange with Imus, McGuirk offered the initial slur against the Rutgers women's basketball team, which Imus then expanded upon. Both were eventually fired from the nationally syndicated show, which also was televised on MSNBC.
McGuirk could not be reached for comment Monday; no phone listing for him could be found in the New York area.
Wolfe did not return a call seeking comment Monday, and Kahn's office referred calls to him. George Regan, a spokesman for Entercom, declined to discuss the reasons for the decision but said there was a possibility McGuirk could be on the air some other time. "Maybe in the future, but not at this time," Regan said.
Sadiki Kambon, director of The Black Community Informational Center, said his group had canceled its plans for a protest.
"Our position was we didn't want him coming on at all," he said. "We're very pleased. This is the end result that we wanted."