What if You Had a Joe Rogan Problem?


A montage of Joe Rogan using the ‘N’ word on previous episodes of his podcast has been posted to social media. It led to India.Arie’s pulling all of her music from Spotify, and to Rogan apologizing. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has not gotten involved.

How would you handle a situation like this if it was taking place at your station?

Rogan apologized in a video posted to Instagram Rogan said his use of the word was the “most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.” He also said the video montage showing his use of the ‘N’ word was taken out of context. “It’s not my word to use. I am well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner. I never used it to be racist because I’m not racist.”

Over the weekend, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent a letter to Spotify employees that said he spoke to Rogan and his team but had no plans to pull the show from Spotify or end the relationship with the most popular podcaster on the planet. Here’s a portion of that letter: “There are no words I can say to adequately convey how deeply sorry I am for the way The Joe Rogan Experience controversy continues to impact each of you. I think it’s important you’re aware that we’ve had conversations with Joe and his team about some of the content in his show, including his history of using some racially insensitive language. Following these discussions and his own reflections, he chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify. While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more. And I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”

Arie said even if what Rogan said (using the ‘N’ word multiple times) was taken out of context, he never should be using that word. “Don’t even say it under any context.”

Rogan has been hosting his podcast for 11 years. Spotify has also been taking a lot of heat as of late for Rogan’s guests critical of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you had a Joe Rogan issue facing your radio station right now, what would you do? If you had a star morning show host, you were paying a lot of money, and, that person was bringing in HUGE ratings, and revenue, for your station would you fire him over this latest controversy?


  1. There is no Joe Rogan problem.
    There are however some who object to what’s left of free speech and won’t be satisfied until the only speech they hear is what they agree with.

  2. First of all, internet podcasts, in all their perceived glory, are not radio “stations” and podcasting is not broadcasting. Podcasting is narrowcasting. Real radio stations push their service to the general population without charge to the listener. Podcasting requires the listener or viewer to purchase the internet service for a monthly fee, and in many cases, pay a subscription fee to purchase a series of episodes. So, the purchaser is paying to receive the service and if it is offensive, the subscriber simply unsubscribes.
    Rogan’s taboo utterances happened long before Spotify was on his radar screen and it was up to Spotify to decide if his baggage was too heavy for them to carry and load.
    I saw this happen to Don IMUS and I was the only licensee that had the guts to stand up for his First Amendment right be offensive.
    Folks, we are on a very slippery slope. The First Amendment is first because all our other rights and freedoms come from it. We are killing the First Amendment with a thousand small cuts, and if this cancel culture is not ended, we will live to regret it.

    • Read the first amendment. It only applies to congress. Radio stations, podcast platforms and social media are not required to follow the first amendment. It says “Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech….” All others have the freedom to abridge in any way they see fit.

  3. If anyone on my staff had been using the language and saying the dangerous things he had, on the air or in the hallways, he would have been gone in an hour, no matter how high his ratings. I sure as hell wouldn’t throw tens of millions of bucks at him and then be astonished when somebody finally complained.

  4. If his sizeable amount of black comedian friends don’t have a problem with what he said, then you can assume he himself is not a racist. If he were I’m pretty sure they’d shun him and be on this cancel bandwagon. If he’s therefore not a racist, but a comedian who used a word that his friends use relentlessly but he’s clearly not allowed to and very much the actual root of the problem of the word’s usage nowadays, then it’s a lapse in judgement or a bad call on comedy. That’s pretty much it. Plus it was years and years ago. Spotify wasn’t involved at all. And…why is it only coming out now? With 10-11 million listeners, why didn’t anyone have a problem in all those years. Sure he has black listeners. That’s a fact Perhaps they just understood it all in context when they heard it. This is about vaccines, not his N word use. I’d have him apologize like he did, take the heat like the Spotify CEO and move on. He’ll end up like Kevin Hart bashing gay people. People forgive and they move on.

  5. First, Spotify isn’t a Radio station. It is not subject to FCC rules. It really isn’t subject to any rules concerning content, except those that are self imposed. The issue of whether online platforms should be regulated is for another day, but if they were treated as “Common Carriers,” able to provide the platform and support themselves with ad sales but unable to control content…like the phone companies…a lot of issues would go away. Second, It is a little late to be asking the “what do we do now” question. If Spotify has rules about content, who has been listening to the content, enforcing them, and where have they been? Repeated use of the “N” word? Now they are in the position of having to choose which is exacerbated by politics on both sides. Putting aside Rogan’s lack of common sense, and the big dollars, aren’t the politics really the issue here? Do they go with the Mob, or rehab Rohan and keep the dollars? Your choice.

    • “but if they were treated as “Common Carriers,”

      You don’t understand the difference between a private business and a common carrier. The internet is a common carrier. Anyone has access to the internet, and there is no content control. But if you want to use a private site, one that requires you agree to terms of service, then you’re subject to their rules. So if you get banned from YouTube or Spotify, you can set up your own site on the common carrier, which is the internet. Understand?

  6. I think you’re asking the wrong question. The real question is what do you value and what are you committed to. If your answer is numbers i.e. money, ratings, then that will drive your decisions. If it is to serve your “city of license” community, humankind, then that will drive your decisions. Why does your company exist? That is what you have to answer first.

    • “Serving the community” is for the Lion’s club. Broadcasters are in it for the cash, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  7. Please clarify and expand in the why…

    A problem being a racist or the fact that he said it out loud?

    In either case asking such a question does not speak well of Radio Ink.

    • According to Mike McVay, we all need to say that these posts are just our “opinions”… Just don’t want anyone to mistakingly think we’re experts and do something because they thought we were the all-knowing forces of the universe.

      What other disclaimers are we supposed to give and what else should we apologize for?


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