A student group at Howard University announced yesterday that 12 more advertisers had withdrawn sponsorship from controversial WWDC-FM disc jockey Douglas (Greaseman) Tracht, but three of the companies later denied it.
Spokesmen for two other companies named would neither confirm nor deny pulling ads from Tracht's morning radio show, and four others could not be reached for comment. Only three of the 12 listed confirmed that they had withdrawn ads.
Howard's Black United Youth organization has picketed the station periodically since Tracht said on Martin Luther King Day that if killing "one" was cause for a federal holiday, then "killing four more" might extend the holiday to a full week. He later apologized repeatedly.
Two major advertisers, Peoples Drug Stores and WDCA-TV (Channel 20), withdrew sponsorship earlier this month to protest the remarks.
At a news conference yesterday at Howard, BUY spokesman Steven Jackson said, "We have recently confirmed that an additional 12 companies have withdrawn ads from WWDC."
He identified the companies as Amoco, Amstel Beer, Grizzly Beer, Heineken Beer, Kay Jewelers, McDonald's Restaurants, Subway Sandwich Shops, Town & Country Buick, the U.S. Army, U.S. Shoe Co. (Hahn Shoes), Woodward & Lothrop and High's Stores.
However, only Kay Jewelers, U.S. Shoe and Town & Country Buick would confirm pulling ads.
"We did not pull any ads from Tracht's show , because we weren't running any," said U.S. Army spokeswoman Maj. Martha Cavaiani. The Army, she said, runs ads on WWDC but not on the Greaseman's show.
Subway Sandwich Shops President Larry Feldman said the company hasn't run any ads on WWDC since last October. "I don't know where they got this information but it's bad information," he said. "We're going to take this up with Black United Youth. If they're not as irresponsible as the Greaseman, they are certainly catching up."
Jackson said BUY discovered the sponsorship changes by monitoring the Greaseman's show and calling sponsors apparently advertising no longer.
When told his statements had been denied by some advertisers, Jackson said, "I was misinformed about Subway." He said he obtained his information about the beer companies from a "gentleman called Mr. Winter" whom he could not further identify.
A spokesman for Van Munching & Co. Inc., which distributes for Amstel Beer and Heineken, could not be reached for comment. A phone call placed to High's main office in Richmond was not returned.
Amoco spokesman Richard Fox said the oil company "didn't cancel because we weren't doing any running" of ads.
McDonald's and Woodward & Lothrop refused to confirm or deny pulling ads. Jackson said he learned about McDonald's from Jim Rohls, security manager of the restaurant's Washington region. Suzy Hawkins, regional advertising manager for McDonald's, said Rohls "would not have access to that kind of information," which she termed "proprietary."
Officials at WWDC would not comment on any aspect of the Greaseman controversy.