Saturday, March 4, 2017

iHM Gets Bad Press For Honoring Talk Host Michael Berry

Houston-based and Nationally syndicated talk host Michael Berry, who makes fun of Chicago homicide victims on his show is being honored by his bosses iHeartRadio as the "Talk Personality of the Year."

According to The Chicago Tribune, Texan Berry mocks homicide victims in his regular feature, "Chicago Weekend Crime Report," which includes a shooting victim bingo game in which listeners are supposed to guess where in the body victims were shot.

"He won't have to live with that name anymore," Berry chortled not long after 14-year-old Tyjuan Poindexter was the unintended and blameless victim of a September 2015 drive-by shooting.

Media Matters, a liberal media-monitoring organization that tracks conservative media, wrote about Berry online this week, and provided the Tribune with 10 clips from his shows. Those clips and others found online suggest that riffing on the fatal shootings of Chicagoans, particular African-Americans, is a routine part of the white 46-year-old former Houston council member's shtick. He refers to the segment as his "Butcher's Bill" and has been successful enough to have scored a 2015 interview with President Donald Trump, and to have become the nation's 16th highest-rated radio talker by the trade magazine, Talkers.

Berry last week said on air that he had won the award, saying "to be named the top radio personality in the country is rather humbling." He added that he was grateful to have an employer that gave him "room" and that didn't tell him "this is offensive — I don't like this."

He also tweeted last week that he was "honored to be named top talk radio personality by @iHeartRadio nationally in the 1st award for this. It's a testament to our team and listeners."

Berry will receive his award in a televised ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles.

But Berry and his producer did not respond to calls from the Chicago Tribune this week. Nor did bosses at Berry's Houston station, KTRH 740 AM in Houston, nor did representatives of its parent company, iHeartMedia.

Berry, who has referred to Chicago as "Thuglandia" and makes frequent sarcastic references to a black character he calls "Pookie" and the character's run-ins with the "po-po," has been making Chicago gags for at least a year and a half, accompanied by the "Peter Gunn" theme from "The Blues Brothers."

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