By David Kenney
After the firing of Don Imus for comments he made about the Rutgers basketball team, there's been a conscious effort by radio stations to take a closer look at their programming. One radio station in Jackson is looking to make big changes to songs on their playlists that may contain offensive lyrics.
WRBJ-FM "Hot 97.7," a hip-hop station, is taking a closer look at what they put out over the airwaves. Their goal is to eliminate anything that would be offensive to listeners, whether it's violent, sexist, or racist.
"I understand it's art," said the station's general manager, Terrill Weiss, "but the message sometimes is so negative that young people listening to that music get the impression that it's acceptable to use that kind of language. And to have those kinds of attributes... we don't want to perpetrate that."
The station's entire playlists will have to be re-vamped and every song's lyrics examined to deterimine if it's acceptable to hit the air. Anything deemed too hard or offensive will be banned.
That goes for syndicated programming, too.
"We're looking at that right now -- whether or not we can continue with Russ Parr, because he tends to use some of that shock value on air, and we don't want him to represent us that way," Weiss said.
The changes at the radio station are being handed down from its owners, the Roberts brothers, who are African American. They plan to have their playlists edited by next week.
Listeners probably won't notice a drastic change in what they hear because the music is censored for offensive words, but now content is an issue.
"We want people to be confortable if they turn on the radio station, and not worry if their children are in the car, mom's in the car, grandma," Weiss said. "It's good music, but some of the lyrics are disturbing."