Radio host Benz may be off the job

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Friday may have been Tim Benz's last day as a drive-time morning radio host for 105.9 The X, after his position on gun control became the subject of heated debate on the Internet.

"One thing I didn't get into radio for is to kick up controversy over gun ownership," Mr. Benz said in an interview at his home. "I guess I did that by accident."

Many gun advocates became angry after a post appeared on 105.9 The X's Facebook page that criticized Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms for promoting the giveaway of an AR-15 assault rifle and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

The original post, whose authorship remains unclear, states "let's take a time out from our usual shenanigans and get serious for a sec...is this the BEST way to contribute to the GUN CONTROL debate?"

After Mr. Benz's show Friday morning, Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms claimed credit on its Facebook page: "Wow, so Tim Benz from the 105.9 morning show is resigning because of retaliation from negative comments made about my company Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms and the 2nd amendment. Goes to show you what happens when you bash the constitution on air!"

Erik Lowry, owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms, said he didn't hear Mr. Benz's comments first hand, but some of his customers expressed dissatisfaction toward Mr. Benz.

"You're the radio host of a show with a blue-collar following and you bash their Second Amendment rights. You're going to get canned," he said.

Mr. Benz declined to comment on the details of his gun control position or his contract with the radio, but said in a statement, "It's a personal battle that I may have waged on the airwaves too often for the format. It's a topic I feel passionately about. And that passion has gotten in the way of doing the show in the manner it should be done. I care too much about it and my opinions seem to be misunderstood and polarizing. I plan to honor the remaining terms of my contract with the company in whatever way the company best sees fit, be it on the air in a different capacity. Or off the air."

Clear Channel Communications declined multiple requests for comment.

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Alex Zimmerman: azimmerman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @AGZimmerman


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