You probably wouldn’t know it if you tuned in to the cable news networks or if you read major national or international publications lately, but Chicago isn’t the only American city dealing with an onslaught of gun violence.
Somewhat similar to what Chicago’s urban stations are doing to combat the epidemic, Indianapolis’ radio stations are banding together in support of public safety and to honor a police officer who was slain in the line of duty.
The shootings and killings have frustrated residents in both cities with no answers – or end in sight.
Nineteen stations belonging to Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Radio One, and independently owned WTTS and WEDJ are participating in Indy United On The Circle, being held this Saturday (July 12) at Indianapolis’ Momentual Circle at 9 a.m. The city’s mayor, community activists, clergy, and other representatives are expected to attend.
It is not yet known if any of Indy’s radio stations plan to offer special programming to address the violence epidemic plaguing the city.
“This event shows the power of radio in a local community to reflect listener emotions and lead community dialog, says Emmis Senior Vice President Charlie Morgan, whose company is based in Indianapolis. “In my 30-plus years in Indianapolis Radio, I have never seen more immediate and universal support for an event than we have seen for Indy United.”
Last weekend was a violent one for the Circle City, which saw seven people shot in the Broad Ripple entertainment area and the murder of police officer Perry Renn. CBS affiliate WISH-TV made national headlines (at least in the trade press) by interviewing the murder suspect’s family, which drew widespread criticism – so much so that WISH’s news director Steven Bray had to address the issue on the station’s website.
Meanwhile, stations targeting Chicago’s African-American audiences aired a second “Put The Guns Down” roadblock Sunday night, on the heels of another violent weekend in the Windy City, which saw 84 people shot and 14 killed.
And as of this writing – Friday night – there has been already been one murder and six shootings in Chicago.