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WNYC suspends Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz



Mr. Lopate told The New York Times he was "baffled" and "really quite shocked and upset" by the suspension, which he said was unannounced at 11 am Wednesday as he prepared for the midday broadcast of his show.

It does not make sense to me, "he said." I'm sure any honest investigation will erase me completely. "That's the only thing that worries me: the damage to my reputation"

WNYC "did not even give me a track "on the nature of the accusations, said Lopate. He said he had been asked to meet Wednesday morning with Dean Cappello, executive vice president and chief of content at WNYC and New York Public Radio, joined by the head of human resources and a union representative.

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Jonathan Schwartz, an accessory on New York radio for more than 50 years, is known as an authority on Frank Sinatra.

Credit
James Estrin / The New York Times

Mr. Lopate said he had pressed for details, but had only been told that "there were many" complaints, including from the guests, and that a quick investigation would be conducted.

"I've never done anything inappropriate at any level, that's not the way I do my job," he said. "This may be the current environment, but this is an excess."

Later, when asked if he remembered a specific incident that might have been problematic, he said he had once used the word "testicle" in a presence colleague when explaining that the avocado derives its name from the Aztec word for part of the body – a fact that was the subject of an NPR piece in 2006. But he was incredulous that such a statement would have resulted in a complaint to superiors. [19659010] Sir. Lopate and Mr. Schwartz have been part of the fabric of New York's cultural life for decades.

"The Leonard Lopate Show", with its frequent interviews with politicians, authors, composers and chefs, has presented guests such as Joseph R. Biden Jr., Catherine Deneuve, Ang Lee, Alice Munro, Barack Obama, Stephen Sondheim and John Updike.

Mr. Schwartz, once a cabaret singer who has published fiction and critics in his time away from the microphone, first appeared on the radio in New York City in 1958, when he performed a Frank Sinatra song on WBAI. He is known as an authority on Sinatra and on the standards of jazz and pop. For four years, he served as artistic director of the American song books series at Lincoln Center.

Another WNYC presenter, Mary Harris, will replace Mr. Lopate and start with the broadcast on Wednesday. "That was the hardest accommodation I've ever made", he wrote on Twitter after the segment.

The New York Public Radio has not yet determined a substitute for Mr. Schwartz, said spokeswoman, Ms. Houlihan Roussel. (Mr. Schwartz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

In addition to WNYC, which uses NPR to syndicate many of its shows, New York Public Radio owns WQXR, NJPR and Jerome L. Greene. Performance Space in Lower Manhattan.

The allegations against Mr. Lopate and Mr. Schwartz followed allegations of misconduct against other powerful men on public radio, including Michael Oreskes, who led the NPR news division; Garrison Keillor, the creator and retired presenter of "A Prairie Home Companion" for the Minnesota Public Radio; and David Sweeney, news editor of NPR.

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