New York’s most popular radio station, KKRO, announced on Tuesday that it would close its entire online operation and shut down its radio station as a result of allegations that it sexually harassed and demeaned female staff.
The station’s chief executive, Tim Friesen, confirmed the news in an email to The Associated Press.
“The allegations against KKRI [Kirk Kincaid’s Radio-Korean Institute of Radio] are extremely disturbing and troubling, and we are deeply sorry for their impact on our staff and listeners,” Frieson wrote.
KKOR and its sister radio station KKTV, which is affiliated with the New York Post, had operated as a digital music station since January.
The move follows a separate complaint from a former KKKR staffer, which Friesesen said he would review.
Friesens said he did not have a timeline for the closures and said that KKLR’s online operation would be shut down “in the near future.”
KKCR, the largest KKRL in the world, was one of the first stations to announce it would shut down.
KKR and KKRK were among the stations that had shuttered or moved to new digital platforms when the allegations surfaced.
KCR was owned by the family of former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston.
KKCJ-FM, a KKGR affiliate in Dallas, also announced Tuesday it would shutter its online operation.
The stations that remained online will remain online through the end of this year.
Johnston, who was fired last month after reporting on allegations of a culture of sexual misconduct by dozens of prominent figures in the entertainment industry, had said KKR had a “culture of sexual violence” and a “toxic environment” that made him feel like “there was no place for him.”
Johnston said he was fired in retaliation for exposing the culture at KKR.
Johnston said that while he had heard rumors of inappropriate behavior from KKR staff, the station had not engaged in sexual harassment or demeaning of female employees.
The New York Daily News reported last week that Johnston had filed a lawsuit alleging he was “harassed, assaulted, and bullied by a number of KKR employees in the last six years,” including two former KKR executives.
KLR’s website had been up since March.
Johnston’s attorney, Brian Levin, told The Associated News that KKR was not the reason for his client’s dismissal.
“He was a great employee,” Levin said.
“It was not because of anything he said.
It was because he was too outspoken and too vocal.
That’s what drove him away from the company.”
KKR, which has been owned by Friesened since it was founded in 2010, was the first KKR radio station in the country to be shuttered.
“This is a difficult time for all of us, for us all, but especially for Tim and his family, who have invested a lot of time, energy and hard-earned money in KKR,” Frysen said in a statement.
KKS-FM and KKSU, which were both acquired by WQXE in 2016, also shuttered their online operations, according to The AP.
The AP’s source said the shutdowns were expected to last through the summer.
In a statement, Friesengs said he had spoken with the family and that the station would continue to operate as usual.
The news comes a week after former KKNX radio station WQZ-FM announced it was shutting down.
The company’s news director, James Hirsch, said that the news was shocking and that it was too early to say what would happen to the station.
“We are working hard to make sure that our staff will not be impacted, that the stations community will be safe,” Hirsch said in an interview with The Associated AP.
WQG-FM will continue as a news source, according the station’s Facebook page.
The Associated Washington Press contributed to this report.