It is an ordinary afterwork drive home on Monday. On the car radio, WREC-AM 600 and Mike Fleming sputtering about the latest insult to his conservative crackpotness. (Seems the Dixie Chicks -- or the "Ditzy Chickens," as he likes to call them -- had questioned the value of patriotism.) Now it's time for a commercial break and a switch over to WWTQ-AM 680 to see what Leon Gray is yammering about this afternoon. But instead of Gray, it's Air America's Randi Rhodes, whose show is usually cut short for Gray's program.
But just like that, Gray is gone. The show is off the air, and links to his bio and blog have been removed from WWTQ's Web site. Details are murky as to what happened. Did Gray slander someone on-air? WWTQ's program director, Jerry Dean, is keeping mum. Dean also won't say if the station will look for a replacement.
Certainly, there are some local liberals who are glad to see Gray gone. Gray was sometimes a bit more red than blue in his politics. He angered members of the local gay community when he posited that being gay was a choice, and he all but forfeited his progressive rights when he said Intelligent Design should be taught in classrooms. But Gray also provided a forum for the candidates vying to replace John Ford in the state Senate. You know, the election that drew hardly any live voters but at least 13 dead ones. He had officials from MLGW come in to explain themselves (though he may have treated them too kindly). He was largely open to other views. He meant well and cared about Memphis. Most importantly, he provided an alternative to Fleming and his sputtering. We need another local voice. Doesn't have to be Gray, but there should be someone, and soon.
Susan Ellis, Managing Editor