Peoples Drug Stores Inc., one of the largest companies in the Washington area, this week pulled its advertising from WWDC-FM's morning show with announcer Doug (Greaseman) Tracht.
*"We had been getting a lot of complaints that our customers just don't associate his remarks with the reputation of our store," Joseph Pollard, vice president of advertising and public relations for Peoples, said yesterday.
Goff Lebhar, president and general manager of WWDC, could not be reached yesterday afternoon for comment on the impact of Peoples' decision.
Tracht, 35, who has the second most popular radio show in the mornings, has been a member of sk,2 sw,-2 ld,10 the WWDC staff since 1982. He came to the station from Jacksonville, Fla., where he tackled many of the same topical issues he does here. His program routinely includes skits involving sex, homosexuality and various ethnic groups -- routines that some have found offensive.
Pollard said Peoples had received complaints about Tracht for some time, but that complaints had increased after Tracht suggested on Jan. 20, the commemoration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, that if one assassination of a black leader was cause for a day off, then killing "four more" would result in getting the rest of the week off.
Tracht apologized twice on the air for the remark.
"In the past we didn't want to step on free speech, but this built up," said Pollard. "When we started getting calls from customers, we asked, 'Do we really need to be on that show?' "
Pollard said he did not know how much advertising Peoples was currently buying during the 6-to-10-a.m. show.
"It would vary from week to week and month," he said. The last time Peoples pulled its advertising from a radio show, Pollard recalled, was from the Gary Dee program on the old WPKX in 1983. Dee was also considered controversial and offensive to many blacks and other ethnic groups, as well as to homosexuals and women.
On Monday, when Tracht returned from a six-day vacation, a group of Howard University students picketed the station. Tracht referred to the protests during the program, saying at one point, "I don't want to resign. I'm sorry. I want to go forward."
At another point he referred to the students, saying, "Hey, you all -- can I get you a cup of coffee?" Then there was the sound of crashing glass, an apparent sound effect, in the background.