By DAVY V.
You've probably heard his whiny, annoying voice, and racist, hateful speech that spews from his mouth on any given weekday on Rochester's WHAM 1180 am radio.
For well over a decade, Bob Lonsberry has poisoned Rochester's radio airwaves with his racist rhetoric and insults. He has used the power of radio to put down everyone including African-Americans, Latinos, Gays and Lesbians. Making the 45 minute commute from his home in Mt. Morris, New York to Rochester, Lonsberry injects his racism, divides our city, then drives back to his little town.
And Lonsberry knows exactly what he is doing. In 2003, after an orangutan briefly escaped from it's cage at the Seneca Park Zoo, Lonsberry played chimpanzee sounds over the air and made comments about then Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson, who is African-American, suggesting that Johnson was the orangutan who had escaped.
The incident drew local media attention, and me and my brother organized a protest at WHAM's offices in downtown Rochester, demanding that Lonsberry be fired. At one point, Susan Ashline a WHAM reporter, called the police on me and tried to have me arrested, saying that she felt threatened by my "angry tone". The police told her that I was well within my right to protest, and as the saying goes she had to go kick rocks! The next day the newspaper's front page featured a color photo of me leading the protest, with the headline: "Radio station fires Lonsberry as host". Below my photo, a smaller photo of Lonsberry and his two daughters.
As expected, Lonsberry's firing was nothing more than a PR move on the part of WHAM, to do some "damage control" and let things cool off, rather than risk losing advertisers. Less than one year after Lonsberry's firing, WHAM rehired him, after he completed what they referred to as "sensitivity training".
Not that there was ever any doubt that WHAM would rehire Lonsberry, but just in case they hadn't, Lonsberry knew exactly what he was doing all along. You see, Lonsberry had another "vehicle" to transport his filth. That "vehicle" was the internet. In 1999, long before the incident with Mayor Johnson, Bob Lonsberry launched his website, where he writes a new column pretty much on a daily basis.
Approximately one year before the incident with Mayor Johnson, Lonsberry wrote a very hurtful, insensitive letter, on his website regarding Craig Heard, the 14 year old African-American honor roll student who was executed by Rochester Police officers Serge Savitcheff and Hector Padgham.
On a June morning in 2002, Heard was joyriding in a car that some of his friends had stolen the day before. Unfortunately, as many young people do, Craig Heard had made some poor choices in deciding who his friends were. Rochester Police had spotted Heard several times but intentionally waited until they could corner him in a dead end street where both Savitcheff and Padgham shot him two times in the head. Heard was unarmed. Lonsberry starts off his letter by saying: "Bang, Bang. Dead as hell." he repeats this several times throughout his letter.
In his letter, referring to African-Americans, Lonsberry writes: "They are raised like animals, groomed as predators from their very earliest years" before stating that Craig Heard "was genetically a man, but socially a wolf." Lonsberry's comments show his racist and sick obsession with comparing African-Americans to animals, and his letter foreshadows the comments he would later make suggesting that Rochester's African-American Mayor was an orangutan. Later on, again referring to Craig Heard, Lonsberry closes his letter by saying: "He was cursed from birth" and insults Heard's mother, by dismissing her pain over the loss of her son as nothing more than "crocodile tears."
Most recently, Lonsberry can be heard on the air disrespecting the President of the United States by using the term "F.U.B.O." which stands for "F... you Barack Obama" , in addition to using this term on a daily basis, Lonsberry also endorses the brand, by giving away F.U.B.O. merchandise to listeners who call in to his radio show.
Lonsberry's racist and hateful views are not just limited to African-Americans, he has shown that he is an equal opportunity racist by also going after Rochester's Latino, and mostly Puerto Rican community, where he has written: "Serious thought should be given to cancelling the Puerto Rican Festival." And in a letter he wrote about Mt. Morris, New York, Lonsberry expresses his disgust that Puerto Ricans and African-Americans have moved into his small town. Lonsberry writes: "They have been paroled out of prison." and "The vast majority go immediately on welfare." Lonsberry's letter then goes on to say: "We've imported a ghetto."
I wonder how the Puerto Rican and African-American residents of Mt. Morris feel about Bob Lonsberry's disgust of them living in his town. I wonder if they have become complacent and simply don't care. After all, that's exactly what has happened here. Rochester has become complacent, and it seems as though African-Americans and Latinos simply don't care that every morning, as they are getting their children ready for school, Bob Lonsberry is making his commute here with a mouth full of poisonous hate and racism, ready to inject it into Rochester!