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Conservative San Francisco Talk Show Host Fired

February 16, 1995

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Just six weeks after he went on the air with anti-homosexual remarks and comments about AIDS that offended the gay community, KSFO’s talk show host J. Paul Emerson has been fired.

Station management informed Emerson on Wednesday that he would not return to the air, Capital Cities spokeswoman Julie Hoover said.

``It hasn’t worked out and he is not returning,″ she said today.

Emerson was hired in January as part of the station’s switch to an all conservative talk format called Hot Talk, an unexpected move in notoriously liberal San Francisco.

The change was an effort to boost consistently low ratings KSFO had with its previous lineup of progressive, female and minority talk show hosts.

Instead, it won the station reams of negative publicity.

Most of the outcry has been the result of Emerson’s morning drive-time comments, including statements that people with AIDS should be quarantined and that homosexuals are ``sick″ and ``pathetic.″ He also has attacked the city’s Board of Supervisors and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Emerson’s firing followed a decision by management at KGO television, Channel 7, not to air a Phil Donahue show on which Emerson appeared with several other talk show hosts from around the country to discuss shock radio.

KGO General Manager Jim Topping said the show, which had been taped several days earlier, contained inflammatory statements about quarantining AIDS victims. The statements went unchallenged.

``We didn’t think that was appropriate for airing in this market, so it was a fairly easy decision,″ he told the Oakland Tribune. ``We’re here to provide adequate sensitivity and balance for our market.″

Emerson was fired by radio station KFRC in the fall after he used the term ``stinking Japanese″ on air during an exchange with a listener about the dropping of the atomic bomb during World War II.

Emerson’s 26-week contract will be paid in full, Hoover said.

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