David “DAVEY D” Cook was on October 1st by Clear Channel Communications from his post as Community Affairs Director person at 106.1 KMEL-FM in San Francisco, CA.
Most of you may know his work as a committed young progressive activist of color and one of the most articulate, sensitive voices for young people out there today. He’s developed a national reputation in over 15 years of being on the radio, and his show and his activism have given voice to the unheard at some of the most important junctures in this generation’s recent memory: the LA rebellion and its aftermath, the deaths of Tupac and Biggie, and now the war. He’s spoken honestly and forthrightly for peace and for consciousness.
It’s really ironic that Clear Channel would fire him now. This is the company that, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks out of its west coast division, assembled a list of songs that whose lyrics were deemed “sensitive”–songs which reportedly included John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam’s “Peace Train” and the entire Rage Against the Machine catalog.
In its efforts to counter-spin media outrage about this alleged blacklist, Clear Channel helped coordinate a Relief Fund that has raised millions of dollars to go toward relief efforts and the families of those who are now jobless because of the attacks.
Clear Channel is now eliminating the Community Affairs Director position at KMEL, despite a requirement by the FCC that commercial stations have community affairs programming. The future of such programming is in doubt.
Make no mistake. While most commercial stations have treated community affairs as a stepchild in the early hours of the weekend, making it impossible for folks to reach an audience, Davey D set a high standard by making his show an open talk-oriented show geared towards young persons of color.
He took on controversial topics, hosted controversial guests (most recently Barbara Lee and Boots Riley of The Coup), even had folks like Hillary Clinton come and pay respect. It was a program people talked about on Monday morning, and many other urban stations modeled their community affairs programs after his.
Imagine a Rush Limbaugh type show, but geared towards a progressive, young set. Don’t progressives always moan and groan about how we wish we had this? Well, Davey’s been doing it, for over 15 years, around a decade at KMEL. In recent years, honest, reliable, truthful community radio outlets have been harder and harder to come by as media monopolization and community radio in-fighting has intensified.
If you’re as outraged as I am about the decimation of forward-thinking, challenging, truthful, youth-of-color-focused radio, you can call KMEL’s General Manager Joe Cunningham at 415.538.1061 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do send an email, send a hard copy of the letter to: Joe Cunningham, KMEL General Manager, 340 Townsend St SF, CA 94107 CP
Read Davey D’s interview with Barbara Lee.