Robert Pittman

Chairman and CEO
iHeartMedia, Inc.
125 W 55th St.
New York, NY 10019

March 24, 2017

Dear Mr. Pittman,

As civil rights and community leaders, we are writing to ask that iHeartRadio come forward and
break its silence about honoring racist syndicated radio host Michael Berry with its “talk
personality of the year” award.

For the past several years, while hosting ​The Michael Berry Show​, Berry aired a weekly
Chicago Weekend Crime Report segment, which he dubbed “Butcher Bill,” dedicated to
mocking the city’s victims of gun violence. Berry used the segment to assert that “black people
don’t believe black lives matter,” and to mock Tyjuan Poindexter, a 14-year-old bystander who
was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. [1] Berry sarcastically said the young boy was “shot
in the head and died at the scene. He won’t have to live with that name anymore.”

Berry started playing “bingo” with the victims’ injuries and encouraged his listeners to play along
as well. [2] While talking about a 54-year-old man who was shot in the right thigh, Berry
reminded his listeners that “the way to score these at home … right thigh is a point and a half.”
Offering up sarcastic advice, Berry warned his listeners to buy some “earmuffs” if they’re driving
through Chicago, because they don’t want to “hear shots and feel pain.”

After ​Talkers Magazine​ announced that Berry would be awarded “talk personality of the year” at
this year’s ​iHeartRadio Music Awards​, local Chicago media reports about Berry’s “Butcher Bill”
segment and petitions from Coalition To Stop Gun Violence and MPower Change telling
iHeartRadio not to reward hate quickly appeared. [3][4][5][6] Despite the controversy,
iHeartRadio has repeatedly declined requests for comment from ​Media Matters​ and the ​Chicago
Tribune​, and refused to confirm whether or not Berry actually received the award at the event on
March 5. [7]

While iHeartRadio remained silent, Berry announced during the evening edition of ​The Michael
Berry Show ​on Friday, March 10 that he would discontinue the “Butcher Bill” segment because
of “valid criticism,” and said he needs “to make better decisions” with the words he uses. [8] But
Berry has a well-established history of using other hateful rhetoric, including hoping somebody
“blows up” a proposed mosque in New York City, hosting a comedian in blackface, and referring
to black UCLA students as “pack animals” who need to “get the f over themselves.” [9]
In light of these events, we are asking that iHeartRadio concretely and definitively confirm
whether or not it honored Berry as its “talk personality of the year,” and to rescind the award if it
was given to him.

If iHeartRadio decided to honor Berry in secret, it suggests the company is comfortable giving
an award to someone who ridiculed gun violence victims, but doesn’t want to face public
backlash over giving a platform to hate speech. However, if the award was rescinded -- or if
iHeartRadio told Berry to apologize and discontinue his “Butcher Bill” segment -- iHeartRadio
should explain its rationale for withdrawing the honor.

iHeartRadio’s ongoing silence flies in the faces of millions of families who have been impacted
by gun violence, racism, and other forms of hate. We expect better from one of the biggest radio
platforms -- especially one that prides itself in “recruiting and retaining diverse talent by creating
an environment that integrates diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our business.” [10]


Oscar Chacon, Executive Director
Alianza Americas

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Campaign To Unload

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Color Of Change

Emerge USA

Equal Justice Society

Guns Down

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

Leslie Gersicoff, Executive Director
Jewish Labor Committee Western Region

Angelo Carusone, President
Media Matters for America

MPower Change
Muslim Advocates

National Black Justice Coalition

Alex Nogales, President/CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition

Po Murray, Chairman
Newtown Action Alliance

Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence

One Pulse for America

States United To Prevent Gun Violence

United Church of Christ, OC Inc.

WAVE Educational Fund


[1] “Syndicated Radio Host Michael Berry Has A Weekly Segment Devoted To Mocking Victims
Of Gun Violence” ​Media Matters for America, ​September 30, 2015
[2] “iHeartRadio's ‘Talk Personality Of The Year’ Is Conservative Radio Host Who Mocks
Chicago Gun Violence Victims” ​Media Matters for America​, March 1, 2017
[3] “WGN: iHeartRadio Giving Award To Conservative Radio Host Who ‘Makes Fun Of Shooting
Victims With Racially Charged Commentary’” ​Media Matters for America​, March 3, 2017
[4] “Talk Radio Star Who Mocks Chicago Shooting Victims Wins National Award” ​Chicago
Tribune​, March 2, 2017
[5] “Tell iHeartRadio: Do Not Award Shock Jock’s Mockery Of Gun Violence” Coalition To Stop
Gun Violence,
[6] “iHeartRadio: Don't Honor Hate” MPower Change,
[7] “iHeartRadio Won’t Say Whether It Honored Conservative Radio Host Who Mocks Chicago
Gun Violence Victims” ​Media Matters for America​, March 7, 2017
[8]​ “​Conservative Syndicated Radio Host Ends Segment Mocking Chicago Gun Violence
Victims” ​Media Matters for America​, March 13, 2017
[9] “Texas Right-Wing Radio Host Michael Berry's Long History Of Offensive Public Comments”
Media Matters for America​, June 11, 2015
[10] “Recruitment” iHeart Radio, ​