The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

17 May 2006

Troi Torain, Power 105, Hot 97, DJ Star, New York City

OFF THE HOOK?

Distracted Public Largely Overlooks Hip-Hop Violence



(*** Fresh updates and new items below***)


With hip- hop- related violence on a dramatic upswing in New York City, why aren't urban radio stations at the center of more than 50 documented incidents facing a greater public outcry?

Between shootings and fights outside Hot 97 FM's studios, to the now- infamous threat against a four- year- old girl by former Power 105 FM morning jock DJ Star (aka Troi Torain), the situation has become critical.



In my latest Inside Radio column (click here after 18 May), we examine why a busy news cycle may have diminished outrage over Torain's on- air threat to sexually assault his crosstown rival's young daughter. Compared to Janet Jackson's Super Bowl breast- baring incident, which generated months of controversy, isn't this far worse?

Unfortunately, it isn't just rappers, hip- hop performers, fans and jocks that are to blame. Turning a blind eye to the increasing danger are corporate station owners Emmis Communications (Hot 97) and Clear Channel (Power 105).


After dozens of disturbing incidents outside Hot 97's West Village studios, the building's owner has filed suit to have the station evicted. But rather than pack up and move, Emmis has instead chosen to fight it.

From today's Washington Post:


NEW YORK -- The entrance to 395 Hudson St. looks like any other in its tame and corporate stretch of the West Village. Down the block there is a chocolate factory selling, among other goodies, a creme brulee bar. Next door, there's a gym with five squash courts.

You don't look at this neighborhood and think "rap-related violence," but occasionally you should. According to a tally kept by the New York City District Council of Carpenters, the union that owns the building, there have been more than 50 "acts of violence" here in recent years, all of them connected to the world of hip-hop.

Lil' Kim went to jail for lying about a shooting involving her posse outside the Hot 97 studio in New York. (By Louis Lanzano -- Associated Press -- shown top right)

The first of three shootings outside the station was in 2001, when 21 bullets were fired as the crew of Lil' Kim faced off against the crew of a rapper named Capone. (She's in jail today for lying about that particular episode.) The latest melee came in late April, and ended with a bullet in the rear end of a rapper named Jamal "Gravy" Woolard.

The blame for all this, the union says, falls on Hot 97, aka WQHT, one of the most influential hip-hop stations in the country and a destination of choice for music luminaries such as Jay-Z, DMX and Diddy, who want to talk directly to their fans. The fans, it turns out, like to talk back, and often show up at the entrance of 395 Hudson. Take rap stars, add posses and fans, and the union says you've got a highly volatile mix.


If the public really doesn't care, why is that the case, especially when innocent children are caught in the crossfire? In the comment section below, feel free to leave your thoughts.

UPDATE: Torain faces a likely civil suit from DJ Envy and his family, according to numerous reports today.

Elsewhere:

--- peculiar anti- Americanism on a Clear Channel- owned billboard in South Africa.

--- lefty attacks against Tony Snow are kicking into high gear, according to NRO's Media Blog.

--- at Isn't It Rich, why liberal talk radio isn't working.

--- lots of interesting Air America updates at Bore America. Watch for more on our end as well, coming soon.

--- Google continues to fund extreme-left causes.

--- during a guest appearance on a Philly radio show, Alec Baldwin made a fool out of himself wondering out loud why he didn't have any callers. Is he still looking to break into talk radio? It seems that way. Expose The Left has the sad details.

Thanks for your continued Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of your ultimate purchases. Thanks again!

Lil Kim (top right image): AP, Baldwin: Expose The Left

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