November 25, 2015

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First Mediaworks

3/5/01 Taking Up The Cause
Every year, Radio Ink highlights the top broadcasters in the African-American community and, every year, someone complains. No, itís not what you might think. Itís rare these days that we hear from bigots, complaining that we are highlighting African-Americans. Usually, the complaints come from within the African-American community.
We hear from those who believe that we should not highlight African-Americans in just one issue, that we should make it our goal to give more universal coverage to blacks in all issues. We should place more African-Americans on our covers throughout the year. We also hear from those who do not want us to create a ďtokenĒ issue to placate the black broadcast community. And there are those who feel that highlighting blacks in special issues drives a larger gap between white and black. All are valid issues.
I would hope that, rather than being critical of what we are doing, perhaps the critics should look at the spirit of our effort. Radio Ink has made it one of its goals to highlight the efforts of African-Americans who have risen to success in our industry. We want to provide recognition for success in an industry where the odds have often been stacked against African-Americans. Recognition is an important factor to encourage continued success, and to provide mentors to those aspiring to success.
We also are criticized for highlighting prominent industry players, like Al Liggins, when there are many others who are cover-worthy. That is true ó many have been or will be our cover subjects. Yet we see Liggins as a shining light, a man who has accomplished significant milestones in what is often considered a white manís world. We think it is worth a little extra recognition in order to inspire others ó not just African-Americans, but anyone who needs to see that success can be accomplished, no matter what roadblocks are faced.
It is easy for those of us who are white to have an attitude about black issues, because we frequently see black leaders demand special treatment when they stand before the television cameras. That often has an effect opposite from the desired one. Even so, those of us in a position to make a difference must do so because itís the right thing to do. There are many differing opinions; and chances are that, no matter what you do, youíll upset somebody. But, at least youíll be doing something. If your heart is in the right place, some good will come from your efforts. What are you doing in your company or station?
ó B. Eric Rhoads

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