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WHLM DJ Suspended Without Pay Amid Controversy Surrounding Charlottesville Rally

BLOOMSBURG — A radio station personality in Bloomsburg at the center of a controversy over his participation in the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesvil...

BLOOMSBURG -- A radio station personality in Bloomsburg at the center of a controversy over his participation in the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia is currently off the air.

Late Tuesday night, the general manager of WHLM announced that David Reilly has been suspended without pay while the station investigates the allegations against him.

Reilly, who does an evening show on WHLM, posted video of himself attending this past weekend's rally on YouTube, sparking outrage and protests outside the station, as well as prompting several advertisers to pull their ads from the station.

Joe Reilly, general manager of WHLM, released the following statement Tuesday night:

"WHLM and the Columbia Broadcasting Company denounces, detests, disavows, condemns and has never condoned any form of racism, white supremacism, bigotry or political violence towards anyone or any group.

"WHLM is currently conducting a full internal investigation regarding allegations brought against David Reilly, an employee at the Columbia Broadcasting Company.

"We are taking this matter seriously, and since it will take time to investigate this situation, we, the Columbia Broadcasting Company, have suspended David Reilly without pay until further notice."

Joe Reilly
General Manager

Prior to the announcement, protesters were outside the station for about two hours.

Demonstrators say the problem goes far beyond one radio host and say they still have fears about race relations in their community and country.

The demonstrators who packed the sidewalk in front of WHLM made some music of their own, singing the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" on East Main Street in Bloomsburg.

"This is something that is not going to be swept under the rug anymore. This is going to be out there where everyone can see it," said Deedra Raper of Bloomsburg.

The protest, part of the furor over the station's evening host David Reilly and his role in promoting right wing demonstrations that turned deadly in Virgina over the weekend.

During the rally in Bloomsburg, the street-front studio sat empty as the station played on.

The crowd included some of the station's fans.

"They had been in many ways model, I mean terrific, like when the flood hit," said Jerry Stropnicky of Danville.

Stropnicky knows Reilly and held a sign saying, "David step back from the dark side."

But others in the crowd maintained Reilly is beyond redemption.

"I learned a long time ago if someone is really against something you are not going to change their mind," said Rosemary Brash of Espy.

Over the past two days, a number of advertisers--including Bloomsburg University--canceled their spots on the station. There is no word whether some or all of them may return now that Reilly has been suspended.