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NEW YORK -- Days after the nation's largest owner of radio stations fired a controversial New York deejay, an alliance of media watchdogs, consumer groups and community organizations called on the Federal Communications Commission to hold Clear Channel Communications accountable for its record of broadcasting racist and hate-filled speech on the public airwaves.

"Clear Channel is peddling hate for profit," said Kat Aaron, co-director of Radio Rootz, a radio training program for kids in New York. "They don't need corporations trying to warp hip hop to make them think that racism is cool. What kids need is to tell their own stories on the radio. That's why community radio is so important - it gives regular people a voice."

These groups, including Prometheus Radio Project, Youth Media Council, Media Tank, Radio Rootz and Free Press, are urging their activists to file informal comments at the FCC about Clear Channel's broadcasts and encourage the expansion of diverse, local voices on the radio dial. Allies have set up a Web page at to help individuals file complaints directly with the FCC.

Last week deejay Troi Torain, Star of the "Star and Buc Wild Show" on New York's Power 105, attracted national press attention for broadcasting overtly violent, racist, and sexually explicit comments concerning the 4-year-old child and the wife of DJ Envy, a rival at Hot 97 in New York. Not until New York City Council Member John Liu organized a press conference with the family did Clear Channel act to remove Torain – who since has been arrested and charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.

"Prosecuting Troi Torain is not the issue," said Joshua Breitbart, Communications Director of Media Tank in Philadelphia, where Star and Buc Wild aired on Power 99 FM. "Clear Channel also must be held accountable. Consolidated broadcasters use personalities like Star for ratings. History suggests that the company will just replace this shock jock with another 'Star.' Hate radio is their business model."

Clear Channel owns nearly 1,300 radio stations nationwide, far more than any other company. The San Antonio, Texas-based giant is no stranger to controversial broadcasts. From 2000 to 2003, Clear Channel-owned stations were hit with 60 percent of the indecency fines levied by the FCC.

"Clear Channel's pattern of nationally broadcasting racist, sexist and homophobic content is hate radio," said Taishi Duchicela, Media Justice Organizer at the Youth Media Council. "We've been challenging Clear Channel since 2001, and we haven't seen any positive changes to how Clear Channel operates, in the Bay Area or nationally. On the contrary, Clear Channel has risen to new and outrageous levels of disrespecting and attacking our communities. The question is: Will the FCC give Clear Channel more eight-year licenses to attack us on our own airwaves?"

Last October, Youth Media Council filed a citizen petition to deny the license of KNEW-AM 910 for broadcasting racist, anti-immigrant and anti-gay content, including statements by radio host William Bennett's that "Islam is a religion based on child sexual rape" and "abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down."

"The Federal Communications Commission has a responsibility to regulate the airwaves on behalf of people across America," said Prometheus Radio Project organizer Hannah Sassaman. "We want more local ownership in our cities and towns, rather than the race to the bottom that inevitably comes with consolidation in broadcast media. The time is right to roll back media consolidation, and put these licenses into the hands of our communities."


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