SAN DIEGO - A radio host who's poised to make his San Diego debut apologized Tuesday for a promotional tweet that centered around a gag about suicide jumps off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
Kevin Klein, who is scheduled to begin a new show Thursday on 97.3 FM, tweeted a photo of the bridge overlaid with text urging listeners to "JUMP... to a new morning show." The tweet, which was posted Monday night and deleted by late Tuesday morning, resulted in swift backlash from many San Diegans, including San Diego Padres officials, who said the station that broadcasts the team's games, along with classic rock and talk programs, owes the city an apology.
The tweet came hours after state transportation officials had unveiled prototypes designed to prevent suicides off the bridge. More than 400 people have jumped to their deaths since the bridge went up five decades ago.
"I'd like to sincerely apologize to San Diego and listeners of 97.3 for a distasteful and insensitive social media post," Klein said in a statement posted on his Twitter page. "The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable. I've failed at making a good first impression, but I hope that you will give me another chance to provide entertainment and good-natured laughs when I go on air on Thursday morning."
In a joint statement, Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler said that station owner Entercom owes San Diego an apology. They also apologized for Klein's behavior but said they have no control over the station's programming beyond baseball broadcasts.
"We find the comments made last night by Entercom's employee offensive, insensitive and completely unacceptable. Mental illness and suicide are not joking matters. Additionally, we've expressed our concerns to Entercom about the tone and direction of the station they have chosen to create," the executives wrote. "It's important for our fans to know that our agreement with Entercom to move to 97.3 was an opportunity to expand our pre and postgame coverage and was done well before we knew the format, the tone or the talent lineup."
Klein's show was broadcast on the Bay Area's Live 105 from 2014 until last month, when the station underwent a format change.
Suicide crisis hotline: 888-724-7240 or up2sd.org