A pair of Maine high school radio broadcasters were fired after a hot mic caught them body shaming girls basketball players.
The comments were circulated on social media, and you can probably find them if you really want to. Travis Lazarczyk of the Portland Press Herald had the story of their immediate firing:
WHOU-FM owner Fred Grant said he fired Jim Carter and Steve Shaw on Thursday night after they completed their broadcast of a high school basketball game in Caribou. Grant said he began seeing complaints almost immediately after the announcers made their comments. Shaw, a former athletic director, and Carter, a former coach, had broadcast games for WHOU for about a month, Grant said.
The broadcasters, who didn’t realize their microphones were on, made the derogatory remarks about players in a girls’ game between Central Aroostook and Easton that they were watching on a monitor while they prepared for their game at Caribou.
In a 40-second video posted to Twitter, the two are heard making derogatory comments about the weight of some players. One of the broadcasters was heard to say, “two girls out here extremely overweight. Awful.” Other derogatory comments were followed by laughter.
These weren’t men unfamiliar with working with children, either, which somehow makes the story even worse.
Shaw, a former athletic director, and Carter, a former coach, had broadcast games for WHOU for about a month, Grant said.
Shaw worked as athletic director at Easton High School until his retirement in 2019, and in August was inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in the Legends of the Game category. Carter is a retired teacher and coach at Caribou High School, and has written three books about high school basketball in Aroostook County.
A couple of adult men who had made professional careers out of working with teenagers feeling comfortable discussing girls’ bodies that way is obviously appalling. That they felt safe and secure enough to do it around microphones probably tells you a lot about the kind of people they are in even more private situations.
The only real positive thing about this story: how the radio station owner responded.
All announcers hired by WHOU are trained to keep the focus on the game action, and refrain from commenting negatively about players, coaches or officials, Grant said. The games are broadcast to highlight good things happening in the communities, he added.
“It’s in writing. It’s verbalized. It’s repeated,” Grant said. “They knew the deal. It’s a colossal failure by them.”
This is the key with broadcasting, whether you’re doing local high school games on the radio or calling one of the major professional sports on television. You’re going to get judged based on what you say, and that’s more than fair as that’s the entire point of the job.