On the last day of a job, plenty of people will throw back a few drinks with co-workers when the shift is over. But this is a riskier proposition in certain professions -- such as an announcer on live radio. Paula White, a presenter on BBC Radio Stoke, a news and entertainment program based out of central England, was pulled off the air Friday after sounding a bit tipsy to listeners, the BBC has confirmed.
The radio host's time slot had been moved from Friday afternoons to Saturdays, according to the central English newspaper, The Sentinel. And on Friday, only 30 minutes into her last day on the shift, White was called out by a listener for slurring on air while shouting comments like, "It's a P-A-R-T-Y because I said sooooooo." The viewer had texted in, asking if she was drunk, and White said, "I sound drunk. I'm not drunk. I've had a couple of drinks. I'm not drunk. I'm sad."
She was taken off the air by the show's producers, and replaced by colleague Denholm "Dan" Siegertsz. "Paula is not feeling well with it being her last afternoon show and has gone home," was all he said upon taking over. A BBC spokesman said that she was taken off the air because she was "under par."
White had hosted the Friday afternoon segment for the past six years and has a total of 16 years with the BBC.
White can be heard tripping over her words throughout the half-hour she was on air. At one point, she even broke from the show's format and invited listeners to send in music requests for the show's playlist. "For the last time on lunchtime let's ssssssay you pick the music. ... I don't care. Whatever you want to hear this afternoon, it's like you can hear it."
On-air blunders by broadcasters seem to go instantly viral these days. In recent months, two broadcasters have been fired after on-air slips of the tongue. Chicago television reporter Susannah Collins was fired after she mistakenly referred to the Chicago Blackhawks' "tremendous sex" -- she meant "success." (Her bosses said they fired her due to "unrelated" circumstances.) Two weeks earlier, a 24-year-old North Dakota television anchor, A.J. Clemente, was fired after he used expletives during his first day on the job.
So far, White has not lost her job (or at least the BBC has not announced it). And White has her defenders. "Even if she had a drink, I don't think it should overshadow what a great radio presenter she is," Fred Hughes, a columnist for the British newspaper, The Sentinel, was quoted by the BBC as saying. "I think it would be unfair is she was remembered for something like this."
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