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DJ Caught In MLK Controversy Speaks Out

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Brett Reese (left) of Pirate Radio (credit: CBS)

Brett Reese (left) of Pirate Radio (credit: CBS)

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GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) - A Greeley School Board member said he is getting death threats from people angered by his radio commentary.

Brett Reese has been reading a viewer’s letter critical of Dr. Martin Luther King twice a day on the Greeley radio station 104.7 Pirate Radio.

The station claims to broadcast to 40,000 people per day. With the recent commentary, more people than ever before are paying attention.

Reese is even receiving death threats and carrying a gun.

The commentary is quite controversial. It calls King a sexual degenerate, plagiarist and an America-hating communist. Reese said the commentary was sent by a listener three years ago and he aired it after doing fact-checking.

“All we are doing is airing something that a listener gave us complete with a disclaimer saying we might not even agree with what this guy is saying. We are putting it on the air and people are having a fit,” Reese said.

Reese said that he is not a racist and that he agrees that King was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He maintains that discussing King’s personal life should not be off limits.

Some residents are very unhappy with the decision.

“It’s very disappointing and I know he stands behind the freedom of First Amendment rights and speech, but in this case there’s no tolerance for that in our community,” Greeley resident Mike Johnson said about the broadcasts.

Reese said after a school board member called the local paper, the board voted to condemn the commentary. The school board voted 6-1 Monday night to adopt a statement distancing itself from Reese. Reese voted “no” and then walked out.

“They’re pompous, they’re arrogant. I tell that to them and I’m not afraid to say that kind of stuff on the camera, which is why they want to see me go down,” Reese said.

Reese said that calls to the station are split in half between supporters and opponents. He also said that he has lost advertisers but will continue to run the commentary.

“I believe in journalism and I don’t believe in bowing down to pressure of any kind, ever,” Reese said.

Reese has been reading the letter over the air for the past three years. It went unnoticed until the school board complained. He will continue reading the letter until Martin Luther King Day.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the radio station described above was the No. 1 rated station in the area, which does not appear to be true after a check of the Arbitron ratings.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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