Jan. 19 2011 12:00 AM

After a month back in the local news biz, she is packing heat

Wednesday, Jan. 19 — Broadcaster Cheryl Fritze has only been back on the air in Lansing for a month, but already she’s embroiled in enough controversy that she went out and got a permit for a concealed weapon.

Fritze says she obtained the permit after she received an e-mail from political analyst Bill Ballenger when she tried to interview him about the Waverly Road controversy.

After requesting an interview with Ballenger on her show “Fritze and Friends” on WILS-AM, Fritze received this response from Ballenger. It reads:

“Ms. Fritz: I understand you have been trying to get ahold of me. This is my final statement: ‘Because of his inability to to make a coherent argument defending his actions, Mayor Bernero has used your radio station to try to silence me by fanning the flames of racial hatred. As a result, I have received threats. With the events of last Saturday in Arizona fresh in our minds, I am forced to consider getting personal security to protect myself. If anything happens to me, it is on him, and on you ...’ --- Bill Ballenger.”

Frize wrote back that she was trying to balance her Waverly Road coverage and wanted to include Ballenger, along with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and Clergy Forum of Greater Lansing, on her show.

“The strong tone of your email surprises and alarms me,” she wrote to Ballenger.

Fritze took a weapons training course in 2009 following circumstances with her ex-husband, she said. Together with her ex-husband and the fact that she is a woman “now leaving the studio alone at night,” the Ballenger e-mail prompted her to get her CPL license.

“Do I think Bill Ballenger will hurt me? Of course not,” Fritze said. “It was a convergence of three different events. It’s simply about personal protection.”

The whole situation is reminding Fritze, who was an anchorwoman for WLNS-TV in the 1980s and who has also worked for WKAR and WJIM-AM, what it’s like to be in the public eye.

“It’s becoming clear to me that when you do a radio or talk show not everyone likes what they hear,” she said. “There’s some interesting characters out there.”

Fritze hosts “Fritze and Friends” on weekdays from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on 1320 AM. She replaced Jack Ebling on Dec. 16.

“I try to be a nice dinner guest in your home: news, current events, lighter stories to end the show,” Fritze said. “It’s been great.”