Doug Tracht, the WWDC-FM disc jockey known as "The Greaseman," apologized again yesterday for a broadcast remark about killing blacks, but a group of Howard University students said they won't stop picketing the station until Tracht is off the air.
In a taped statement yesterday, Tracht said, "Every entertainer and satirist has at one time or another said something that he or she wishes he could take back. My attempted humor on Martin Luther King Day was reprehensible, and I'm glad I have the chance to look you in the eye and say that I'm sorry."
Though Tracht and the station have refused to confirm the exact wording of his remark, a number of listeners protested his sk,2 sw,-2 ld,10 assertion Jan. 20 that since Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is now a holiday, "killing four more" would mean a week off.
Tracht's latest apology was aired on WRC-TV, Channel 4, three times yesterday in response to an editorial broadcast by that station earlier this week. The editorial, by Channel 4 Editorial Director Angela Owens, called Tracht "the insensitive boob of the year" and suggested he and WWDC-FM go beyond apologizing.
"We urge the station owners to require the Greaseman spend six months working in the community to make amends," said Owens' editorial. "This way we'll know Capital Broadcasting Co. is serious about operating the station in a manner responsible and responsive to this area."
On Thursday night two Howard students, who have been organizing protests outside the station for the past two Mondays, met with Goff Lebhar, station president and general manager, and Jason Shrinsky, station attorney, to discuss their demands that Tracht be fired or suspended.
At a press conference yesterday, Steven Jackson, president of Black United Youth at Howard, said the station had offered to suspend Tracht for one week without pay, to have him give a formal apology at a meeting at Howard and to establish a scholarship for communications students.
The students said they rejected what they described as the station's "form of retribution."
"We, the black community, as well as respectable members of other communities, repudiate Mr. Tracht for his malicious, diabolical and reprehensible statements," said Jackson.
"We will not tolerate such blatantly disrespectful statements, and we demand that the Greaseman be terminated from WWDC radio. We will not compromise our principles for scholarships, superficial apologies, suspensions or anything other than what is right."
Officials of WWDC-FM were not available yesterday to comment on either Tracht or their meeting with the Howard students.
The students also announced they have started a "call-in and letter-writing campaign" to the Federal Communications Commission, the radio station and advertisers on the morning show. Earlier this week Peoples Drug Stores announced it is withdrawing its ads from Tracht's show.
The students said they were not urging a boycott of Tracht's advertisers. "We ask the metropolitan shopper to use discretion when you spend your consumer dollar," said Derek Grier, coordinator of the picketing. "And whether implicit or explicit, do not support in any way racist radio."
He said picketing would continue on Monday. "We want to get him removed by any means necessary. If it takes the station going bankrupt, we will do that. The bottom line is that we don't want him in Washington, D.C. Our efforts will not stop until we reach that."
In his televised response, Tracht said, "It's just a shame the way the media has blown this so all out of proportion. Anybody that listens to my show regularly and knows me personally knows that I'm not a bigot. I despise racism. It's just pathetic the way some competitors and sensationalists have seized on this for their own personal, as opposed to public, interest. I know as a public figure I am free game. But I'm proud of what I am and who I am. And I can't understand why my apologies won't be accepted."