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KJLH’s Pivital Role During the LA Riots Garned the Community Station a Peabody Award


KJLH's Pivotal Role During the LA Riots Garnered the Community Station a well deserved Peabody Award but would corporate urban radio be able to handle and cover an event of this magnitude today? I'm sure we all know the answer.

I had just been in LA for two years when the "Not Guilty" verdicts of the four white policeman who used excessive force during the videotaped arrest of Rodney King were read. I was working at Urban Network which was in Burbank California miles away from Crenshaw and Florence and Normandie where the rioting began. I remember we were glued to the TV at Urban Network watching the developing coverage of the riots. It was endless, when I got in my car to go home I tuned into the various radio stations KKBT, KFWB, KACE, KFI and then kjlh.

At the time, I was working for KKBT when it was THE station to work in LA. KKBT was in the process of embracing the LA Gangsta rap culture and the station wanted to appeal to a multicultural audience with that genre of music so KKBT was not in a position to cover the riots.   None of the stations in LA did as good of a job covering the riots as KJLH. The community station came through with flying colors to give nonstop coverage and a much more in-depth account from all sides of the riots.   Here's more coverage of the Riots from J.J. Johnson and Isidra Person Lynn.   kevRoss

The 1992  L.A. Riots

 /><p>I never liked doing the all-night shift. I did it for awhile at KFRC/San Francisco and I'd hated it. Then, I did it as a form of once-a-week training at KMPC/L.A. in 1976-77. That was mostly <strong>OK</strong> in that I was on full-time at 1580 <strong>KDAY</strong> and was getting ready to take the morning shift. It was limited, so it was alright, though I never liked the

In 1992, I was working the all-night shift at the Stevie Wonder-owned kjlh (102.3). My ex-KDAY colleague, Lee Michaels, was the programming consultant/Operations Manager for the station at that time and he hired me with what he had, which was overnights. I was grateful to him as I needed a gig. But, I still didn't dig the all-night aspect.

The LAPD cops involved in the Rodney King beating had been tried and the world was awaiting the verdict. On Wednesday, April 29, it was announced: Acquittals all around. L.A. was not in the mood for this, evidently.

I received a call that afternoon requesting that I come to the station ASAP. So, I got in my car and drove in from Sherman Oaks. The full-tilt violence had not yet started, though there was activity and tension in the air. At the station, which was located at Crenshaw Boulevard near 39th Street at the time, fellow air personality George Moore and another staff member or two were standing outside the front door watching what was happening across the street: Looting.

People had torn down the protective grating on the front of the liquor store and were climbing in, grabbing whatever they could, then climbing back out and leaving. I turned to George and asked;

"How long has this been going on?"

"About a couple hours."

"Where are the cops?!"

"No cops."

It was on. Station management knew it and was preparing for the worst, which was about to happen. We received our marching orders, which boiled down to; "Open the phone lines and let people express themselves."

For the next three nights, the worst nights of the rioting in my recollection, I would mostly work the phones, then intersperse the talk with an occasional song pertinent to the moment; the music being a kind of relief. I would arrive at the station before sundown and would not leave until sunrise. I wasn't afraid of the rioters, though perhaps I should have been considering the collective state-of-mind. I didn't wish to encounter LAPD or the National Guard at night. Not by myself in the darkness.

Larry Milov, my friend and business manager, urged me not to go into the "˜hood. He was concerned for my safety. But, as I pointed out to him, the disturbances  - which is to say the burning and looting - contrary to revisionist myth, were not limited to L.A.'s Black community. Most of those arrested were not Black. And, on the other end, I was driving through an area wherein I'd long been known from my years on L.A. Black radio. Plus, I was traveling in the daytime. Most importantly, as I pointed out to him, this was when the job became truly important.

Driving in, I saw burning buildings as far west as Robertson Boulevard. The disturbances, apparently, were citywide, though I saw only a limited area. L.A. is vast. And, I imagine that the situation provided perfect cover for insurance scams. But, that's a cynical guess.

On the air, I talked to people. One young woman was in her apartment with the power cut off. She was terrified. She could hear gunshots and sirens (I could hear them on the phone) and could see at least the glow of fires. And, she was in the dark. The only comfort I was able to provide was to point out that the darkness couldn't hurt her. She calmed down, we chatted a little longer, then I went to the next caller.

Given our position in the community and the irresponsible, and ultimately incendiary, content spewing forth on certain other broadcast outlets (There. I said it.), kjlh was the Voice of Reason. We expressed to our listeners our dismay at the verdicts and that we felt the same anger that they felt. But, wanton destruction was no solution.

I received calls from rioters:

"Yeah, I looted! I'm mad about Rodney King!"

"So, that makes it OK to loot and burn?"

"Hey, man, I'm real mad about this!"

"I got that. So am I. But, here's my question; is it ever OK to steal from somebody - anybody - and burn their place down?"

"What they did wasn't right!"

"Agreed. Now, is it OK or not to steal from a person and burn their place down?"

"Well"¦ Uh"¦" (Pause)

"Hey, man, just do what you know is right. And, thanks for calling."

I had given him relief and had vicariously spread a modicum of relief to others by our on-air exchange. That's what we did for three solid days and nights. All of us. In addition, we provided a forum for opinion leaders from State Senator Diane Watson to Jesse Jackson to the comedian, Sinbad, among numerous others.

We offered to receive any loot from anyone feeling bad or having had second thoughts, no questions. We ended up with a lobby full of loot waist-deep from people who'd gone crazy, returned to sanity and felt bad for their actions.

By Saturday morning, the worst was over. Disturbances were not entirely concluded, but the big explosion was done. The clean-up along Crenshaw was about to begin. People in the area were out with their brooms and shovels. People shuttled in from the predominantly white San Fernando Valley, where I lived, equipped with clean-up gear and ready to help their neighbors.

I once saw a nice little movie where the alien, in a human body, observed that humans are "at your best when things are the worst." Black people had taken it upon themselves to rescue their non-Black neighbors, including the severely injured Reginald Denny, when the disturbances began. Some had stood in the path of firebomb-armed looters intending to burn down non-Black-owned businesses whose owners were known to be good people; "Not here!" And, in the Valley, white people who lived miles from the violence thought they should throw in and help to get things back together for their fellow Angelenos. That's real.

The following year, kjlh received the prestigious Peabody Award for its "timely, exhaustive and important coverage of the Los Angeles riots."

It was well-deserved. I was part of that.

(Follow me on Twitter @jjsradioblog)
Visit J.J. Johnson's blog at https://jjsradioblog.tumblr.com/post/21931099221/the-1992-l-a-riots

Isidra Person Lynn's video account

The Huffington Post has an Excellent entire write up about the riots here...

GUESS And Republic Records Join To Launch Guess Music

GUESS And Republic Records Join To Launch Guess Music

guess And Republic Records Join To Launch Guess Music WORLD EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE OF ARIANA GRANDE'S NEW SONG "SIDE TO SIDE" ON GUESS.COM [caption id="attachment_175002" align="alignnone" width="1500"]Republic Records Logo (PRNewsFoto/GUESS?, Inc.) Republic Records Logo (PRNewsFoto/GUESS?, Inc.)[/caption] GUESS, the global lifestyle brand famous for its iconic ad campaigns and trendsetting denim has teamed up with the nation's #1 record label and industry market share leader Republic Records to co-create guess Music. The first guess Music joint project will launch this Sunday, August 28th with a 24 hour premiere on GUESS.com of Republic Records artist Ariana Grande's latest song "Side to Side," featuring Nicki Minaj—which they will perform at the VMAs. Ariana wears and introduces GUESS' new athletic line in the music video. Viewers will have the chance to shop looks inspired by Ariana's outfits in the video on GUESS' "get Ariana's look" merchandise page. guess Music is a high energy platform that pairs two industry powerhouses to bring together the world of fashion and music. guess Music will connect established artists from Republic's roster and beyond, and young emerging talent with designers to create accelerated artistic inspiration and exposure. This collaborative effort yields the unique opportunity for new content to be seen by the millions of followers and hundreds of industry leaders associated with guess and Republic Records. In addition, guess Music collections will be sold worldwide to celebrate the release of new music by this group of diverse artists, further exposing their art to a larger audience. This innovative talent discovery program represents the collective vision of both Republic Records and guess to elevate the next vanguard of superstars into the global spotlight. Paul Marciano, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer for GUESS? Inc. has been discovering new talent for years such as Claudia Schiffer, Elsa Hosk, Kate Upton, Anna Nicole Smith, and Gigi Hadid, launching their careers as international supermodels. Now, he is adding music talent discovery to his portfolio. Together, guess and Republic Records will identify up-and-coming artists who can cross-collaborate. "Discovering new talent has always been a passion of mine. I have been blessed and lucky to discover so many new faces within the modeling world. I am thrilled to experience this new venture with my friend Charlie Walk," says Paul Marciano. "Co-creating this new type of artist discovery platform with Republic Records, the music industry's #1 record label group for multi-platinum, award-winning legends, is such an honor. I am confident that this unique partnership of music and fashion will bring attention to up-and-coming musicians and launch careers in the same way that our iconic advertising campaigns have done in the past." "I came to Paul and was inspired by his love and understanding of how music and fashion drive each other," says President of Republic Label Group Charlie Walk. "So, we created guess Music, an open door music and fashion platform that gives the ability to collaborate with the biggest artists in the world, while additionally helping to launch the next generation of superstars. We wanted to create the opportunity to discover new music together globally." GUESS, the official Title Sponsor of the Republic Records VMA after party will commission their very own GUESS models to recreate the opening scene of the music video at the party. This exciting partnership is only the beginning of what's to come for GUESS Music.
Beyonce' Is Full of Surprises: She Buys Gift Cards for Every Customer in Walmart

Beyonce’ Is Full of Surprises: She Buys Gift Cards for Every Customer in Walmart

Radio Facts: beyoncewalmartBeyonce' drops a surprise album and sells over 1 million copies within a week. I guess she was feeling good because the "Drunk in Love" artist stopped by a Walmart in Tewksbury, Massachusetts to surprise some lucky shoppers. She copped a few toys for Blue Ivy and then bought $50 gift cards for everyone in the store. I'm sure her fans will love her even more for this and her haters will find a way to hate.