Across social media sites yesterday, the tweets and status updates appeared: “Cross Dressing Man Defeats Delegate Bob Marshall.” “First ever open cross dresser wins House Of Delegates seat.” “Cross dressing man elected to Virginia’s House Of Delegates.” All of these posts originated from the same source — Jeff Katz, the afternoon drive-time host for WRVA 1140 AM, Central Virginia’s oldest and most powerful radio station.
The posts all linked back to a particular podcast hosted on the website for WRVA’s parent company, IHeartRadio. These podcasts host segments of Katz’s afternoon radio show after they’ve aired, so it seems that listeners to Katz’s radio program yesterday afternoon may have heard whatever this podcast contained live on air. We can’t listen to it now, as the actual sound file was quickly removed. However, the headline remained in place as of yesterday afternoon:
At this point, the headline has been removed, but the link, complete with offensive language, is still live.
These posts were quickly screen-captured and passed around the internet, to widespread fury. When GayRVA sent a direct email to Katz for comment, the response came from WRVA’s Senior Vice President of Programming, Zac Davis, and read in part, “WRVA is aware of complaints regarding Jeff Katz’s recent reference to elected official Danica Roem. The remark was thoughtless and insensitive, and we deeply apologize to those who are offended. Please know we have addressed it with him. Jeff also apologized when he realized the impact of his remarks. Jeff has been a public supporter of the LGBTQ community.”
That’s an interesting interpretation, considering Katz’s actual record where LGBTQ issues are concerned. The closest he’s ever come to expressing a positive view towards the community that we were able to find was in a 2014 Richmond Magazine profile of the radio host, written on the occasion of his arrival in Richmond from his previous radio home in Boston. When asked by Richmond Magazine about legalization of gay marriage, Katz said, “I don’t lose any sleep over those issues.”
Meanwhile, one has only to dig into Katz’s online record at WRVA to find many occasions in which he has had flagrantly negative things to say about the LGBTQ community. “What was the most important part of Halloween according to the Washington Post? Promoting this man who is a gay, vegan witch!” reads the text accompanying a podcast posted on October 30. A March 29 post entitled “Now They’re Making Santa Gay!” appears in google searches, though it is old enough to have disappeared from IHeartRadio’s website. Neither of these two podcasts is still available for streaming, though the subtle negative attitude both express towards gay people can certainly be inferred from the brief text that remains.
A podcast post entitled “The End Of The Boy Scouts,” which laments the youth organization’s recent decision to allow girls to join, features text reading, “After deciding to fully admit gay youngsters and adults along with girls dressed as boys, the Boy Scouts of America have now decided that they will be a completely co-ed program by admitting girls to all levels.” Not only do we see a reference to trans boys as “girls dressed as boys,” there’s the clear antipathy expressed towards the idea of the Scouts allowing gay youths and scoutmasters.
A post from four months ago referring to Trump’s trans military ban, headlined “President Trump Bans Transgenders From Military”, features dodgy enough language in the headline itself. But the podcast file is labeled slightly differently: “President Trump Bans Cross Dressers From Military.” Sound familiar? Seems this gambit of referring to trans people as “cross dressers” (always two words) is a familiar trope in Katz’s lexicon. While I’m not particularly interested in a 56-minute expansion on the views these headlines betray, this episode, unlike all of those previously mentioned, is still available for streaming.
So is Jeff Katz really “a public supporter of the LGBTQ community”? Or does he just throw us the occasional half-hearted non-condemnation when speaking to the general public rather than his fanbase? Decide for yourself, but my personal opinion is that his recent smearing of Danica Roem — who is, need I remind you, now an elected Virginia public official — indicates a pattern of persistent hatred and denigration towards members of the LGBTQ community, one that neither needs nor deserves further airtime on the area’s most longstanding and easily-heard radio station. Hey WRVA, get this creep off the air.