Controversial actions by DJ cause BU to terminate contract with WHLM

Jake McDonnell, Sports Editor

     A couple weeks ago, as most of us continued our summer adventures, terror struck Charlottesville, Virginia, when the “Unite the Right” rally took place in the city streets. The attacks, which occurred on Saturday, Aug. 12, left three dead and several others injured. The Charlottesville mayor declared a state of emergency, and this incident marks what could be the largest gathering of white nationalists in over a decade.

     The Charlottesville riots impacted countless areas around the United States, including Bloomsburg. David Reilly, now a former DJ at WHLM, the radio station located on Main Street in Bloomsburg, was in Charlottesville during the protests. Reilly, who hosted an evening show on the station, posted a controversial YouTube video that included clips of the white supremacist march.

     In the video, large groups of men with torches are shown marching the streets of Charlottesville. Towards the end of the video, a fight breaks out. A participant is shown defending the actions of the protesters. The hashtag #UniteTheRight, along with the handle @DaveReillyMedia, appear throughout the entire video.

     Reilly also tweeted some suggestive statements, but the tweets are no longer available online.

     To go along with all of this, a few days before the tragic events took place in Charlottesville, WHLM hosted an interview with “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler. In the interview, Kessler goes into detail about why he organized the riots, citing the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue as a motive. Kessler believes that there is currently an “ethnic cleansing” against white people going on in the United States.

     After the video by Reilly made its way to the airways of YouTube, Bloomsburg residents noticed. A group of over 60 protesters gathered outside the station on Main Street, holding up signs that included statements such as, “Turn off Racism.”

     In response, Joe Reilly, general manager of WHLM and the father of David, announced the suspension of his son on Aug. 15.

     “The following message is of the utmost importance in starting the process in repairing the bonds between Columbia Broadcasting Company and our local community,” the elder Reilly said in a statement.

     A day later, David resigned from his duties as both a DJ and director of new media for WHLM. Despite his removal from WHLM, David released a statement claiming that “the accusations that I am a White Supremacist, Nazi, Racist, or anything of this kind is pure slander.”

     The fallout of Reilly’s involvement in the riots caused several sponsors to terminate their contract with the station. The list of names to cut the cord with WHLM includes Bloomsburg University.

     The Director of Media Relations and Content Strategy for Bloomsburg, Tom McGuire, released a statement, saying; “Based on the values of Bloomsburg University, we need to end all advertising with WHLM.”

    Previously, WHLM was the radio home of Bloomsburg University football and basketball games. The timing of this situation came at an extremely inconvenient time for Bloomsburg, because the first football game of the 2017 season was just over two weeks away. The athletic department scrambled to find a new broadcasting partner, which turned out to be WBUQ, the student-run radio station on campus. On Sept. 2, WBUQ carried the 2017 Bloomsburg football season opener against Stonehill. For the time being, WBUQ will continue to broadcast Bloomsburg football games this fall.

WBUQ is located in the McCormick Center for Human Services.