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Radio stations add anti-violence message to regular programming



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Updated: June 11, 2014 6:10AM

Chicago’s urban radio stations and personalities agreed Friday to join forces in an anti-violence campaign that will urge listeners forcefully and repeatedly to “Put the guns down.”

At the behest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, nearly a dozen participating stations have agreed to open and close every show with the anti-gun message and air public service announcements featuring radio personalities and celebrities.

Participating stations also have agreed to host a monthly simulcast to drive home the need for community responsibility and accountability and host weekly community affairs segments to spotlight community organizations that offer violence prevention programs.

Clear Channel’s seven participating stations are: 107.5 WGCI-FM, V-103, Inspiration 1390, 103.5 KISS-FM, 93.9 MY-FM, 95.5 El Patron and 97.5 ESPN Deportes.

The campaign also includes Power 92.3, WVON and Univision Radio.

The decision to enlist “pop culture,” as Emanuel put it, emerged from a meeting that took place a week ago in the mayor’s office.

“We have seen over time in three areas — smoking, seatbelts, drug use — where a consistent message has changed behavior and attitudes,” Emanuel told a news conference Friday at the KLEO Center, 119 E. Garfield Boulevard.

“This is not gonna be done because, one Saturday, somebody said, ‘Put the guns down.’ But when you say it a thousand times from every other angle and you constantly hear it, it starts to penetrate the conscience. It starts to raise the expectations. It starts to change your view of yourself and your role.”

Frankie Robinson, a personality at Power 102.3, got choked up when she looked around the room at mothers and fathers of gunshot victims.

“I cannot think of myself being in the position of these mothers who have lost their children. My son is 16, 4.0 G.P.A. But all of these children belong to me. This is our city. We all have a responsibility and an obligation for the safety of our children,” Robinson said.

“It is no longer that it doesn’t apply to my child. It does. What about the 76-year-old woman who just got shot the other day? She wasn’t a gang-banger. What about the four little girls Easter weekend? They weren’t gang-bangers. It’s our responsibility. If you see something, say something. The whole no-snitching rule? It doesn’t apply. The whole retaliation is unacceptable. We have to be accountable for our children’s lives. This is unacceptable. It has to stop. It’s one voice. If radio stations in a city can come together, you can too. You are obligated.”

Tony Sculfield, who does the “Morning Riot” show on WGCI, said he is “tired of hearing the news every weekend” about the bloodbath on the streets of Chicago.

“As a radio personality, I’ve grown weary of having to interview mothers like Annette Holt and Pam Bosley, who have lost one of their children and have to share the pain of losing a child with the city of Chicago,” Sculfield said.

“Enough is enough, Chicago. The message is simple. Put the guns down.”


Twitter: @fspielman

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