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Tim Benz leaves 105.9 The X Morning Show over gun control debate

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 3:40 p.m.

Tim Benz, co-host of the Morning Show on alternative rock radio station 105.9 The X, left the air Friday after arguing with listeners about his support of stricter gun laws.

“There was a flare-up about gun control on the show, which included a good deal of flashback against the station,” Benz said. “I wasn't able to walk away from the fight ... (so) I decided to step away from the Morning Show.”

The argument stemmed from a Pittsburgh gun shop's recent giveaway of hundreds of rounds of ammunition, high-capacity magazines and an AR-15 military-style rifle on its Facebook page.

Erik Lowry, owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms, which bills itself as “America's Largest Online Firearms Mall,” gave away the gun and ammo. He said he did not hear the show but heard about Benz's decision.

Benz's comments on guns drew predictable reaction for this part of the country, Lowry said.

“When you're a morning show host in a town of blue-collar workers who love their guns and the Second Amendment, you're going to (anger) a lot of people,” he said.

Benz concedes he is passionate about the issue of gun control. He said his polarizing opinions seem to be misunderstood.

“It's a personal battle that I may have waged on the airwaves too often for the format. It's a topic I feel passionately about,” he said. “And that passion has gotten in the way of doing the show in the manner in which it should be done.”

John Moschitta, program director for Clear Channel Communications, the station's parent, did not return calls seeking comment.

Benz said he did not resign and plans to honor his contract however the station sees fit — on the air in a different capacity or off the air.

Benz is the husband of Kate Benz, a social columnist for the Tribune-Review.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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