Radio station cancels show after host says ‘nice school shooting’ would interrupt impeachment coverage

Posted at 10:39 AM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 12:39:01-05

DENVER (KDVR) - Denver radio station 710 KNUS canceled its "Chuck & Julie" program after one of the show's hosts said a school shooting would help break up coverage of impeachment proceedings.

On Tuesday morning, Chuck Bonniwell was complaining about media coverage of what he described as "the never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump."

Then Bonniwell said, "You wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt the monotony."

Bonniwell's co-host and wife Julie Hayden immediately admonished him.

"No, no. Don't even say that. No, don't even say that. Don't call us. Chuck didn't say that," Hayden said.

Bonniwell then said he was hoping for a shooting in which "no one would be hurt."

Later Wednesday, Bonniwell issued the following statement:

"I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke. I'm sorry it was not received in that light."

Wednesday evening, KNUS said the "Chuck & Julie" show had been canceled. It posted the following statement on its website:

"Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck & Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell. A programming decision was made to end the program immediately. Starting tomorrow, December 19, the 710KNUS, 1-4pm weekday time slot will feature the Salem Network show, America First, hosted by Sebastian Gorka."

As of 8 p.m., the web page about the "Chuck & Julie" show had been removed from KNUS' website.

John Castillo, the father of STEM School shooting victim Kendrick Castillo, said he was appalled by Bonniwell's comment.

"Making a statement like that is just unbelievable to me, especially our family. I couldn’t believe it," Castillo told KDVR.

He went on to say the supposed joke was not funny.

"People always say they’re sorry -- we’re sorry for your loss, sorry for the statement we made -- make it your life work to prove it. Do something different. Advocate for good. I don’t know why we focus on the negative or have to come up with rhetoric for politics or other things when there’s an open book, a canvas out there waiting for legislative change, for laws that do good for mental health -- for suicide prevention. You know, focus on those things," Castillo said.

In November, the station faced criticism after then-host Craig Silverman was fired mid-show after criticizing Trump. However, the station said Silverman was fired in the middle of his program because he said he was interested in working for competing stations.

KNUS is owned by Salem Media Group, which specializes in Christian and conservative content.