By Davy V.
In January 2012, I did what many in Rochester, NY have always talked about but never had the COJONES to do... put Rochester's 103.9 WDKX Radio Station on Blast!
For almost 40 years, WDKX has turned their backs on the very same community (African-Americans and Latinos) they have claimed to "represent."
In an op/ed piece I wrote, titled "Calling Out Rochester's 103.9 WDKX Radio Station", which was published in Minority Reporter and La Voz Newspapers, two publications I regularly write for, as well on on this blog, I wrote about how the station, who interestingly enough chose their call letters after three great African-American leaders, D: Frederick Douglass, K: Martin Luther King Jr. and X: Malcolm X, has essentially abandoned and turned their backs on Rochester's minority population, especially the African-American community.
My op/ed piece was well received by thousands here in Rochester as well as on the internet, who felt it was about time someone publicly called out Rochester's only "so-called" minority owned radio station.
I immediately followed up the article, with a short video in which I went to WDKX's offices located on East Main St. in downtown Rochester, to see if the radio station had any comment regarding my article.
Once there, an older African-American woman, representing WDKX came to the door and told me I was not allowed on their property and asked me to leave.
She then tried to hit my producer's video camera, and then slammed the door in my face.
By her actions, the woman proved what I had written in my article, that Rochester's 103.9 WDKX Radio Station is arrogant, rude, extremely unprofessional and does not care about the community.
The same community who has supported them since they went live on Rochester's radio airwaves 38 years ago.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, a WDKX listener calls in to the station and in the middle of her asking the on air personalities about the station's lack of supporting local talent (the same thing I addressed in my piece) WDKX staff hangs up on the woman live on the air.
A few days later, Iyanna Abrams, a woman claiming to be part of a group called "ROC 4 Change" and a facebook group called "WDKX Boycott", reached out to me via facebook asking for my help in starting a boycott of WDKX.
As a filmmaker, writer and activist who has been exposing police misconduct, specifically the corrupt Rochester, NY Police Department since I was a teenager rallying with my Dad Mario Vara and Al Sharpton on these bricks, people regularly reach out to me for assistance regarding different issues.
And, I always ask them what their exact goal and/or objective is. I don't just walk in or join something until I first have a clear understanding of what exactly it is that they are trying to accomplish, and most importantly, what is it they want me to do.
I then reached out to some other members of "ROC 4 Change", as well as members of "WDKX Boycott" and asked them to post the links to my article and my video about WDKX.
I thought that, since these groups were interested in boycotting WDKX, in order to get support from the community, which is what you want especially when calling for any sort of boycott, it was important to show the community just how WDKX treats the minorities here in Rochester, NY.
In other words, I thought it would be a great way to "Rally the Troops!"
I messaged several members of the groups and never got a reply.
At one point, I even attempted to post the links myself and realized that I was not "allowed" to post any comments.
Several days passed and no one got in touch with me, despite the messages I sent to several people.
I quickly realized that ironically, even though I was the first to put WDKX on blast, some members of these "so called" groups, which are attempting to boycott WDKX, were "shutting me out", alienating me if you will, despite in many ways me starting this "movement" against WDKX.
And I also realized that as is usually the case with many of these fly by night, "so called" groups and organizations, there is alot of division among their own members, and no real leadership, which usually is what leads to them falling apart from within, and not succeeding.
In short, they start to fall apart on their own.
I then made a decision not to get involved.
Then, today, Iyanna Abrams, the woman I had originally spoken with, sends me a message on facebook which read: "We really need your assistance."
My reply to her was a simple and short message explaining to her that I had done my part in exposing WDKX and I wished them luck, but I would not be assisting them in any way.
The group's reply?
A member, Darrell Brown, sent me a very disrespectful message putting my work down.
He wrote "With all due respect WDKX is a radio station that has been around for 40 years I believe so I HIGHLY DOUBT you were the very FIRST person to express your unhappiness with the station."
But perhaps the most interesting part of his message was this...
"Your very vocal for what you believe in... We sir are not receiving death threats or any back lash from ANYONE that would create the level of controversy attached with your name."
Ok. Let's break this down. First of all in his message, Darrell Brown starts off by disrespecting not only me, but my work in this community.
He is definitely entitled to his opinion.
But he's wrong.
No one has ever publicly called out Rochester's 103.9 WDKX Radio Station, like I did in my article.
No one has ever made a video where they go to WDKX offices and get a door slammed in their face, proving what I wrote in my article about WDKX.
Call me cocky.
But it's the truth.
Now, let's break down Darrell Brown's next sentence. "Your very vocal for what you believe in... We sir are not receiving death threats or any back lash from ANYONE that would create the level of controversy attached with your name."
As humans, it's human nature, when we don't get what we want, we tend to put down what we wanted, as in a "Oh, whatever, I didn't want it in the first place" kind of attitude.
And that is exactly what Darrell Brown did, in attacking me because of my controversial work.
The difference here however, is that most of us did that when we were children, not as adults.
We would get mad, then act as if we didn't really want something, when the truth was, we did.
At some point or another, we have all done this, again when we were children.
Not as adults.
But here is the part where I laugh.
My work is controversial.
Everyone knows that.
And until I decided not to get involved, this group was fine with "the level of controversy attached to my name", in fact they welcomed it!
That's why they reached out to me in the first place.
My advice for this "group"?
First of all, never, ever disrespect, offend or alienate anyone who can help your "movement."
It goes against your cause.
For example, instead of this piece being about blasting these groups, "ROC 4 Change" and "Boycott WDKX", instead it could have been a piece helping them.
Also, educate yourselves on rallying, protesting and boycotting.
Because frankly, your group's obvious lack of knowledge, when it comes to organizing, rallying, protesting and boycotting is embarassing.
And lastly, ask yourselves: Are we really built for this?
Because the very act of rallying, protesting and boycotting is controversial.
Therefore, for Darrell Brown to attack me for being controversial, clearly shows his ignorance, and gives these groups, "ROC 4 Change" and "WDKX Boycott", a bad impression.
After all, what could be more controversial than calling for a boycott of a radio sation who has been in business for almost 40 years?
Note: While at first my intention was not to give these groups, "ROC 4 Change" and "WDKX Boycott" any exposure by mentioning their names, I quickly realized that it was important for people to know not only their names but also their logo, so they can stay away from them and their unorganized, divisive hot mess!
Link to my piece: "Calling Out Rochester NY's 103.9 WDKX Radio Station"
Link to my video: "104 WDKX Staff Confronts Davy V."