And it’s the second time this year for the Heidelberg Broadcasting Urban Oldies and local talk station: On the night of 4/11, vandals threw bricks through the station van’s windows. WVOL host T.J. Graham said the next day, someone called the station and asked if they’d fixed the shattered windows yet, reported WSMV-TV in that market: “I’ve found that people who make threats like that and vandalize property know how far to go, because those are cowards,” he told the station.
The first time, which occurred in February, all six of WVOL’s towers in North Nashville were vandalized. Wires were cut in each. GM John Heidelberg estimated there was $1 million in damage. The vandalism forced the station off the air for hours.
Heidelberg said he believes vandalism is connected to a daily open-air forum show. T.J. Graham is known as the “king of controversy” on the radio. The call-in show has recently become intense, discussing issues such as President Barack Obama, health care and religion. WSMV reported the show includes racially charged language used by callers, both black and white, as well as a lot of profanity. Death threats have been sent to radio hosts.
RBR-TVBR observation: On the first vandalism, the station contacted the local police and the FBI, so the case is open and ongoing. Many times with emotionally-charged radio, vandalism to stations can be quickly traced down to a recent caller losing their temper the day or even night before. Tapes or digital audio can be used as evidence in an investigation, along with phone records.