Radio talk-show host Steven St. John returned to Kansas City from a vacation earlier this week and was dismayed to hear people criticizing his station, WHB (810 AM).
A remark by St. John’s colleague, Kevin Kietzman, about Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his family upset listeners locally and made headlines nationally. Kietzman was suspended indefinitely from his show on WHB, and some have said they would quit listening to WHB altogether. So St. John made a passionate appeal to listeners while also offering a rebuke of Kietzman, who was an initial investor in the station.
At times during the Thursday morning segment, St. John was yelling as he talked about his love of the station while also apologizing to listeners.
“Kevin has to do a show, does a show that he wants to do and that he lives with, that he has to be proud of,” St. John said on “Border Patrol,” which he co-hosts with Nate Bukaty and Jake Gutierrez. “I do a show with these guys right here, the three of us. That’s what we’re responsible for from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., but I feel like I have to come on this radio station and apologize, because I was pissed off about it.
“And delving into someone’s private affairs or private life is not OK with me. ... That crosses the line. We’re not responsible many times for what our family members do. We feel like it, but we’re not. At some point people are on their own and they do what they’re going to do.”
St. John apologized to Reid and anyone who was offended.
“Even though I’m not an owner of this radio station, I take ownership of this radio station, because this has been my life for over two decades and I love this radio station and I love the people who listen to this radio station and listen to our show. All I can ask you is this: Judge us on what we do. Judge us on what we do on this radio show. I can’t be responsible for everyone else’s show and I’m not going to be. They’re adults, I’m an adult.”
Kietzman was interviewed Wednesday night on Fox 4 and KCTV-5 and indicated he would return to the air Friday. However, when asked if Kietzman would be on the air Friday, WHB president Chad Boeger wrote in a Thursday afternoon email: “Kevin continues to be off the air until further notice.”
At issue is this comment Kietzman made Monday about Reid: “It did not work out particularly well in his family life and that needs to be added to this as we’re talking about the Chiefs. He wasn’t real great at that either. He’s had a lot of things go bad on him: family and players. He is not good at fixing people.”
Kietzman has denied that he was referring to Reid’s son Garrett, who died in 2012 at age 29 of an accidental heroin overdose while at the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp, where he was helping the team’s strength coach.
St. John said on his show Thursday he’s all too familiar with drug addiction. As a kid, his uncle died of an overdose. As an adult, a cousin died of an overdose as well, and St. John still feels guilt
“I empathize with anyone that has had to go through that. If you’ve lost someone to addiction, I can’t tell you what your experience is like. All I can tell you what my experience is like. It still breaks my heart to this day, but I can empathize, I understand, I don’t live in a bubble and cast stones at people about things that I don’t understand. If I don’t understand it, I don’t talk about it or I try not to. ...
“It’s very important for me to let you know that we get it. We understand why you’re mad. Hell, I was mad. As I told you earlier, I spent the last three days of my vacation pissed off because I’m having to deal with something I had nothing to do with. And I have to watch the radio station, my radio station, I don’t own it, but I’ve put my life into this radio station, I have put all my love into this radio station, it is my career, it is the way I support my family ... and when my radio station gets dragged through the mud, it pisses me off. And it hurts me because there are a lot of good people here. This building is filled with good people that work their ass off, that have tried to build this radio station into something to be proud of and I believe that. And I believe in that.”
You can listen to all of St. John’s comments here.