Local Politics

Radio Host Bumped From Air in Political Dispute

Posted October 29, 2007

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— A talk radio host involved in an on-air dispute with Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose has lost his job.

George Pope, who hosted a show on WGTM-AM, said he moved to Wilson from Virginia because of his interest in the James Johnson murder case.

Johnson is charged with the June 2004 kidnapping, rape and murder of Brittany Willis. The 17-year-old's body was found in a field near Brentwood Shopping Center in Wilson.

Kenneth Meeks pleaded guilty in April 2006 to killing Willis and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has said Johnson wasn't involved in the crime, and no DNA evidence from Johnson was found at the scene.

Johnson, who reported the crime to police, was arrested after a witness reported seeing a young blonde with two black men in the field where Willis' body was found. Johnson admitted that he helped Meeks clean fingerprints off of Willis' sport utility vehicle, but he said he thought Meeks still might have had a weapon.

He was held in prison for three years before a judge lowered his bond last month.

After questions were raised about evidence, the state agreed to have a special prosecutor from Forsyth County review the case to determine whether to proceed to trial against Johnson.

Pope has accused Wilson leaders on his talk show of failing to address community issues, especially among African-Americans. He was often critical of Rose, who is white, and Rose said Pope asked listeners during a recent show to show their displeasure with Rose.

"He was advocating that people in the community go pull up my (campaign) signs or deface them in some way. He specifically pointed out (putting) an X across the signs," said Rose, who is running for re-election on the Nov. 6 ballot.

At the Oct. 18 City Council meeting, Pope addressed Rose as the "ex-mayor" and asked for support in removing Rose from office.

WGTM owner Celestine Willis recently removed Pope from his talk show and had to call Wilson County deputies when Pope continued to host his show the following day.

Willis declined to comment on the incident. But she told deputies that Pope had kept a key to the station and got back on the air without permission.

Pope couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

No one has been charged in the defacing of campaign signs.

37 Comments

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  • wilsonmonkeekeeper Oct 30, 2007

    FASIZZLLE MY NIZZLE

  • NCAries Oct 30, 2007

    Enough will probably be enough when those who created the problem as well as the system to perpetuate the problem admit to the destructive nature of not doing unto others as we would have them do unto us and stop exacerbating an already bad situation.

  • Dominion Oct 30, 2007

    It's so sad when every little thing has to be turned into some kind of race war these days. I would really like to know, when will enoungh really be enough??

  • goatman Oct 30, 2007

    Wilson has several really good places to eat on the east side, one of them being Sylvias on Martin Luther King Blvd. Mitchell's Barbeque was there until he got in trouble with the IRS. There's also a Food Lion grocery store there!!! Also, lots of other small grocery stores. And how about Carroll's Grill. Plenty of whites eat at there. And also the Whole Truth Lunchroom. All these places are excellent and white people go there every day!!!!

  • Conservative Oct 30, 2007

    "As far as the NAACP getting involved, there is no need, he was not fired because he was an African-American, he was fired because of his foolishness."

    Except, that is not how the two Revs are going to look at it!

  • grant Oct 30, 2007

    Wilson is 100 miles form the beach. Why on earth is there any reason a City should offer transport to a select location 100 miles away to a certian vacation spot? Resturants and bussiness choose the location they want last time I checked. I heard that some certian individual came in asking about the reward and left before he said anything to the police. So what was this "disk jockey" on the radio whinning about on AM radio that has no auduiance anyway?

  • CestLaVie Oct 30, 2007

    I don't live in Wilson, but it seems to me like the mayor may have gotten too big for his britches, no matter his defenders on here. An ability to be "nice" does not always equate with being a good leader. And, I think the dj is probably on the right track in attempting to bring the issue to the forefront, but overstepped his boundaries by inciting such actions as defacing the mayor's signs, etc. And, his refusal to leave the radio building location & continuing to use the facilities after his dismissal was a bad choice too. So he'll have to answer for those actions.

    But, the bottom line seems to be a mayor that has not solved a lot of problems that are running rampant in Wilson. The dj is considered an "outsider" so he has that going against him. To be an outsider in the south is a BIG deal. Oh well - probably more of just politics as usual. Shame on everyone for not looking at both sides of this, and, helping to find a solution.

  • dadof2 Oct 30, 2007

    Pope is the poster child for racism. He cries and moans about racism yet he is the one who is always looking at life through diversity. Red, yellow, black or white, we are humans, Americans and the fact remains we are all different. Pope broadcast was a constant public announcemant of his ignorance and i am glad it caught up with him. As far as the NAACP getting involved, there is no need, he was not fired because he was an African-American, he was fired because of his foolishness.

  • Go Georgia Tech Oct 30, 2007

    just you wait you people of Wilson.. Jessy and Al will be there shortly to scream racial insults at you. Just let them finish up in Jenna and your the next stop... (give me a break)! when is this stuff ever going to end?

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 30, 2007

    Wilson.... Durham.... Its all the same! Its unfortunate that a great education institution like Duke, and a great Medical facility like Duke Hospital, can't reside in a decent municipality. And its VERY unfortunate that a great hotdog eatery, "Di ck's Hot Dogs", can't reside in the triangle. I personally don't like visiting any of them due to the rundown, crime-ridden areas where they reside. On a lighter note, would the owner of "Di ck's Hot Dogs" PLEASE open a Hot Dog Outlet near Cary? I'll guarantee you two visits a week. Maybe more. LOL!

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