WLIB Blows Off CEMOTAP

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Dopson and McIntosh said that Deon Levingston “insulted the Black Community by failing to show up as agreed.� Dopson said that earlier in the week she received a terse email from Levingston’s secretary canceling his promised appearance at the meeting, alleging a schedule conflict.

Deon Levingston, Vice President and General Manager of WLIB 

More than 150 community residents waited patiently for 2 hours last Thursday, October 12th, for Deon Levingston, WLIB Vice President and General Manager, to show up at a community meeting sponsored by CEMOTAP at Bethesda Baptist Church in Jamaica Queens.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the new 24 hour Gospel Format change at Radio Station WLIB AM and to discuss dissatisfaction with programming on WLIB’s sister station WBLS FM.

Attendees included  Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Vice Chancellor of The New York State Board of Regents, Reverend Charles Norris, of the Southeast Queens Clergy for Empowerment, Reverend Henry T. Simmons, pastor, St. Albans Congregational Church,  Nana Camille Yarbrough, Kermit Eady, Founder of the New York Black United Fund, Reverend Joe Bragg, Ph D., former news analyst at WLIB, John Branch, Director of the African Poetry Theater, Ron Daniels, Director of the Institute of the Black World , Minister Tyrone Muhammad of the Nation of Islam , Sister Nzingh Abena, Co-chair of Million Man And Woman Coordinating Committee of Queens, Betty Dopson and Dr. James McIntosh, CEMOTAP Co-chairs.

Both Dopson and McIntosh said that Deon Levingston “insulted the Black Community by failing to show up as agreed.� Dopson said that earlier in the week she received a terse email from Levingston’s secretary canceling his promised appearance at the meeting, alleging a schedule conflict.

“That’s not the way for a General Manager to handle a schedule conflict for an important meeting that was weeks in the planning. Courtesy demanded that he send a representative,� said Dopson. “We had booked a venue, invited community leaders and generated publicity to insure attendance by the community. -- The scheduling conflict was clearly a pretext,� said Dopson. He was afraid to face his own people.�

Did the WLIB Station Manager Lie?
 
“Levingston was afraid to meet the community face to face because he lied to us in a private meeting a few weeks ago claiming that the community was overwhelmingly in favor of a 24 hour Gospel format at WLIB. We had prominent ministers as well as other community leaders who were there to rebut his assertion. We also had mental health professionals and educators to inform him regarding the community’s perception that Inner City Broadcast Corporation has betrayed the very people who have supported the WLIB and WBLS through the years.
 
CEMOTAP Co Chair, James McIntosh, said, “Levingston in the name of making profits, has brought to Inner City Broadcast the very worst aspects of the major white media conglomerates such as Disney Capital Cities and Emmis.  Disney Capital Cities used to bring us the likes of Shock Jocks, Bob Grant who called Martin Luther King “That scumbag Marty� and Hate Radio host, Jay Diamond who called a Black Woman a Black Bitch over the airwaves. Emmis a few years ago had a Shock Jock on WQHT FM, Star, who asked a 16 year old boy over the airwaves, ‘When was the last time you got your Ass ploughed. ’ On other occasions he is alleged to have mocked the singer Aliyah after her fatal air crash and Betty Shabazz after her death in a fire. We fought that, and we defeated that at Emmis and Cap Cities ABC said McIntosh, but now we have WBLS doing those same things.
 
WBLS Broadcasts Smut In Time For The School Bell

A couple of weeks ago in the middle of the day a WBLS host told a listener in street language that her private parts smelled  “like dead cats.� We expect that kind of filth and cruelty from our enemies but we don’t expect it from Inner City Broadcast,� said McIntosh. I would have to hear what Percy and Pierre Sutton, owners of the stations, themselves, say before I would believe they think this is the proper use of the airwaves for our oppressed people�
 
“We fought the hypocrisy of Disney simultaneously cultivating a squeaky clean reputation as a family and children’s oriented corporation while distributing smut, such as the movie, “I got the Hookup� under other corporations they owned such as Miramax. Now, we have Inner City Broadcast doing the same thing, featuring Praise and Worship and pie in the sky on WLIB while simultaneously featuring Wendy Williams giving instructions in the middle of the day as children are exiting school and listening to their walkmans radios, on performing what she calls ‘The professional,’ her word for oral sex.� said McIntosh.
 
“We had no intentions of being hostile to Levingston,� said Dopson. “We wanted to give him an education.   We know he has worked out of town for the last 10 years for some current, Fox affiliates in North Carolina then for Emmis in Indiana, before Radio One picked him up, “We wanted to introduce him to some Black folks in this town who could help him improve the quality of the
content of his broadcasts and the quality of his service to the community but Levingston stood us up,� said Dopson.
 
Is WLIB Station Manager a Trojan Horse From Emmis

“I could be wrong,� said McIntosh, who in addition to being CEMOTAP Co Chair, is also a psychiatrist.  But judging from Levingston’s speech, mannerisms, attitude at out first meeting and his avoidance of this meeting, I really don’t think he is comfortable around people with grassroots African consciousness. I actually get the feeling that Levingston either consciously or unconsciously was sent from the other community to wreck conscious Black Radio.�

According to McIntosh, “Deon Levingston came to Black radio as a Trojan Horse when Cathy Hughes outfit, Radio One, bought an Emmis station in Indiana.  Was he was left behind for Black Radio by the media conglomerate Emmis, (the Yiddish word for Truth) when Radio One bought their station? He came with the equipment and he can be called an Emmis—sary,� said McIntosh, “perpetuating the worst of white radio via Black radio. The same tactics that he used at Radio One in Indiana, he is trying to use here.

In Indiana, after a popular Black talk host named Willie Frank Middlebrook, was fired from Gospel station WTLC, Levingston stone walled the community. When the Community held protests he refused to comment on the firing saying only that “It was a personnel matter.�  When the FCC came down on smut radio in Indiana, Levingston claimed in an interview that “its difficult to predict what the FCC finds objectionable. Perhaps this is why he doesn’t know what’s proper for WBLS.  A few years ago it was Emmis who had Shock Jock Wendy Williams. Now it’s Levingston who is keeping this objectionable stuff on WBLS while taking African Consciousness programs off the air.
 
Clergyman Dr. Joseph Bragg denounced the notion of all gospel music in a time of emergency.  “This is a critical time in our struggle,� he said.  “Discussion of the type we got from Imhotep Gary Byrd and Carlos Russell, we need now more than ever.� Speaker  after speaker repeated this thought..
 
A visibly angry Betty Dopson said, “Mr. Levingston is not familiar with the New York Black Community. We gave him an opportunity to meet us, to learn from us and to discuss with us peacefully our issues of concern.  He has rejected it. We do not want to resort to the methods we have used through the years against persons such as Bob Grant, Jay Diamond and Tom Kane at ABC, or Star at WQHT, all of whom lost their jobs, but we will." CEMOTAP has already begun circulating petitions complaining to FCC about Inner City Broadcast. The community is invited to meet regarding the follow-up actions to be taken against Inner City Broadcast and their sponsors on Saturday October 28 at 1PM at 135-05 Rockaway Boulevard, South Ozone Park New York. The film American Blackout featuring Cynthia McKinney will be shown at 2PM immediately after the meeting.

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