Tampa radio host Tedd Webb unleashes profanities on Ron Reagan Jr. during interview
Tedd Webb says it is the first time in a 40-plus-year radio career that he has called someone this name during a broadcast.
But when Ron Reagan Jr. visited WFLA-AM’s top-rated AM Tampa Bay show Wednesday morning to discus the book he wrote about his dad, My Father at 100: A Memoir, Webb couldn’t resist.
So he called the youngest son of America’s 40th president an “a—hole” in mid-interview.
“This has nothing to do with political discourse, this has nothing to do with left vs. right…it’s about family,” said Webb, 61, a staunch conservative. “He’s a little spoiled Hollywood brat who was given everything (and) has a history of making his father look bad...It hit a nerve.”
Webb apologized on air Thursday morning. Reagan, who was traveling, could not be reached for comment. Hear the audio by clicking here.
While uncomfortable with the curse word -- WFLA program director Steve Versnick said he had no idea whether the FCC might levy a fine over it and Webb won't use it again -- Webb's colleagues also seemed to enjoy the fighting spirit of the conflict. Co-host Jack Harris said he "loved" the exchange, noting that Reagan kept his publicist from ending the interview and slung the word back at Webb before the talk was over.
“It defines Tedd as a no-nonsense kind of guy," Harris said, laughing. "He's about the most politically incorrect guy on the planet."
The younger Reagan has upset some conservatives with his book, which suggests that President Reagan was showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease early in his first term. It is not a new claim – 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl made similar observations in her memoir – but critics have accused the self-admitted liberal son of profiting by the tarnishing his father’s legacy, including elder brother Michael Reagan.
On Wednesday, when Ron Reagan tried to explain he wasn't saying Reagan had dementia while in office, Webb challenged him, saying “If I was your brother Michael, I would kick your a—from here to next Tuesday.”
Sounding bemused, Reagan sniped as him for criticizing his book without actually reading it; the two traded barbs and Webb countered with “well, you’re an a—hole, how’s that?” Later, when Reagan suggested he might visit Florida to see Webb in person, the host snapped ,“The day I get my a—whipped by a ballerina (Reagan once was a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet) it will be a long day in hell.” He also said he would buy Reagan’s book to use it as toilet paper.
The Federal Communications Commission only fines radio stations in reaction to complaints. But in 2006, the agency released an “omnibus” decision in which the use of profanities such as “a--,” “damn,” and “b----“ were found not to be indecent or obscene; a source at the FCC could not recall a case involving the word Webb used.
Webb, a hardcore conservative, has a history of saying what’s on his mind. When newspapers reported that the Treasury Department was tracking the money of terrorist organizations in American banks, he said any journalist making such revelations in wartime should be convicted of treason and shot.
And though people some may talk of toning down extreme rhetoric in media these days, Webb isn't one of them. “If I disagree with you, I’m going to get in your face,” he said. “I’ll never use that word again (on air). But if (Reagan) comes on my show I’ll tell him what a d--- he is.”