Black Community's Radio Killed

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Congressman Charles Rangel, State Senator David Paterson, Councilwoman Yvette Clark, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, and former Mayor David N Dinkins and many others in positions of supposed influence in the power structure, must be listed amongst the traitors and “misleaders� of our people.

 

(RIP: Remains of BUFNY's radio station).

On October 22nd, 2006, at 115 Route 23 in GreeneCounty’s Catskill, New York, I witnessed something that would bring tears to anyone who cares about Black Empowerment.


Laying on the ground in front of the small, but adequate, building that Black United Fund of New York had rented for $625.00 a month to house WCKL 560 AM Radio, bought by BUFNY, early in 2003, under my leadership, as founder and CEO were the total contents of the radio station.


The landlord, a Mr. Moon, on October 21st, had reluctantly evicted the Black United Fund's radio station, which was then under the control of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's latest appointed Black board of directors. The cause: non-payment of rent. The landlord said BUFNY owed him rent from December 2005 through October 2006, totaling $6,875.00. The rains also came the night of October 21st, and all of the equipment had been thoroughly soaked —drowning good works and more hopes and dreams. 


On the door of the quaint red building was the sheriff's notice which showed that the seized building had been turned back over to the landlord on the above date. Some of the station's removed equipment included: cabinets, microphones, receivers, transmitters, CD-players, computers, tape decks, speakers, clocks, cables of various kinds, operations manuals books, and other radio broadcasting equipment that I am not familiar with enough to name. In other words, an entire radio station worth many thousands of dollars, including a $6,000 dish, was thrown on the ground and exposed to the elements, much like trash. 


The station signal catchment areas are: Pittsfield, Massachusetts to the east, Cooperstown, NY to the west, Lake George to the North and Poughkeepsie to the South. At BUFNY, we had, prior to my abrupt termination, in August 2003 by Spitzer’s first appointed board of Black Republicans, already begun negotiations with WBAI FM in NYC, and stations in Detroit, MI, Chicago, ILL, Pittsburgh, PA and Columbia, SC to carry our programming; and, in addition, for WCKL to carry syndicated programming from well-known radio personalities.

We also had in place and ready to go radio streaming for all who would have preferred or had to listen to WCKL via the Internet throughout the USA and all over the world, and since there was no AM 560 programming from Catskill into New York City, we were prepared to immediately petition the FCC to bring WCKL's diversified programming into the media capital of the world and the center for Black culture.  This was to be a unique experiment in Back empowerment radio under the control of the first black owned not-for-profit radio station in the State of New York. 


Looking at a complete radio station on the ground, soaked from rain, I began, again, to wonder what kind of people Spitzer and his Black board and other supporters are, that willingly, or by their silence, endorsed, such a mean spirited and unnecessary act of destruction. This country talks about freedom and democracy in Iraq and other parts of the world, yet here, in New York and around this country, Black and brown people, as well as “non-rich� whites, are repeatedly disenfranchised and economically raped.  


While reflecting on the program format emanating from GreeneCounty, with a population of only 2% Blacks, we knew that the residence of GreeneCounty and other surrounding counties would have been well served by WCKL’s programming.  Some of the programs already scheduled included: starting early Sunday mornings with Dr. Fredrick K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith Ministries, followed by other local and national ministries, and Christian music; Monday through Friday it was Kermit Eady’s Empowerment Seminars to teach community empowerment techniques and strategies; Lloyd Strayhorn’s Numbers and You; The Economic Development Forum, whereby all businesses in Green County with a budget of less than $750.000 would get 10 minutes free radio time to talk about their business. This would be on a rotating basis and would, undoubtedly, help build the economy of GreenCounty, and we could then ask these businesses to purchase advertising time as well. 

There was also From the Steps of the Capitol, a show designed to have two of our down-State legislators, like, Assemblyman Keith Wright and State Senator David Paterson, bringing information from Albany that would let the community know instantly what was going on in the State legislature, e.g., what new legislation was being introduced that would be helpful or harmful to our community. Much too often our community is in the dark. By the time we get the news out of Albany, it is much too late to take action; and other communities have laid claim to the grants and other subsidies. At night, The Bev Smith Show was scheduled at 10 pm. This would have brought to the Community in that area issues concerning Black people throughout the African Diaspora. Throughout the day, we scheduled different kinds of music formats. For the youth, we scheduled The Student Forum since there are 8 high schools in GreeneCounty. We scheduled from 10 AM to 12 Noon students from four different high schools to discuss issues that affect their lives as students. This was to be on a rotating basis.
 
Starting at 1 PM, we scheduled high school football. During the winter, we scheduled high school and Columbia-Greene Community College Basketball. What better way to help bring together people and communities in small towns than through sports and building the economy. Plenty of time remained for other innovative formats and program content. This initial format had something for everyone. 


Keep in mind that the Black United Fund was fully approved by the FCC, with working agreements in place, and with one week before going on air, again Spitzer stepped in to wreak even more havoc and destruction. 


As I moved throughout GreeneCounty in early 2003, and on renowned

Warren Street
in ColumbiaCounty, explaining our program format and securing advertising contracts, the local merchants were excited and expressed their support for what we were bringing on WCKL 560 AM Radio. The local newspaper, the Daily Mail, gave BUFNY great kudos for taking over this station. One local resident secured a position with us and had begun to sell ads for the station on a commission basis. We had also negotiated advertisement from the local Dodge auto dealership in the town of Catskill. On 
Warren Street
, we began
marketing WCKL with all of the antique shops. It is interesting to note that
Warren Street
is the number one Antiques location in the State of New York. Antique buyers from all over the world come to
Warren Street
, including, it has been reported, Oprah Winfrey.  


It is shameful that Spitzer's originally appointed Black Republican board from Nassau County consisting of Judge Lance Clark, Betty Easley, Delores Kershaw, Briding Newell and William Davis, Jr., and those that followed (Niles Stewart, James Simmons, Glenda Grace, and Renee Tirado), who served as Spitzer’s henchman and did his bidding and dirty work, have not been fully exposed and and punished for the atrocities that they have committed against the Black community.

Congressman Charles Rangel, State Senator David Paterson, Councilwoman Yvette Clark, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, and former Mayor David N Dinkins and many others in positions of supposed “influence� in the power structure, must be listed amongst the traitors and “misleaders� of our people. 


While we are rightfully concerned about the lack of media outlets to carry our message, it is tragic that those previously named have aided and abetted in the destruction of BUFNY, its more than $100 million assets base, and, particularly, its Black-owned radio station WCKL. It cannot be denied the fact that our independent leadership and institutions have been attacked, co-opted or outright destroyed has contributed greatly to our position of powerlessness.  Attorney General Eliot Spitzer heads the list of those that have lead the charge with the support of the false leaders in the Black community —the enemies within.    

In light of the blatant acts of favoritism and gratuitous leniency of Eliot Spitzer in his treatment of the leadership at the World Jewish Congress, the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club and Air America Radio, and his covering for and, simultaneously, regulating the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Family Trust in his capacity as the Attorney General, there is an identifiable bias towards members of the Jewish community and its institutions.  This is in direct and stark contrast to the discriminatory treatment by Spitzer of the leadership and institutions in the Black community. 


The situation cries out for an investigation. The trail of evidence, betrayals, and abuses of power are there for all to see. We call upon the Attorney General to hold accountable and administer justice to the BUFNY board that has allowed the peoples assets to be squandered and destroyed.


Let none dance upon the graves of those who have gone before us and died for our freedoms today. No one in the Black community should rest until justice is done.

 

Kermit Eady is president and CEO of Eady Associates and the Empowerment Institute, also Founder and former president and CEO of Black United Fund of New York. Contributing to this article was Larry Barton, former vice president and general manager at Black United Fund of New York. 

 

For further information, please contact: Kermit Eady at (kermeady@aol.com / www.kermiteady.com) Larry Barton at (lbperf@juno.com)


 

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