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Chavis gets a weekly radio talk show


The Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., ousted last summer as executive director of the NAACP, will begin a weekly radio talk show in Baltimore this weekend.

"The Freedom Journal" will air from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturdays on WOLB-AM (1010) in Baltimore and on WOL-AM (1450) in Washington, a sister station in the NewsTalk Network of Radio One Inc.

"This is my first talk show as such," said Dr. Chavis yesterday. As executive director of the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (before taking the NAACP post in 1993), he wrote a weekly column, "Civil Rights Journal," which he read for use on radio stations across the country.

Dr. Chavis said his radio program would cover a range of topical national issues.

The board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People fired Dr. Chavis last August after an investigation of his management of association funds, including secret payments to a former aide who accused him of sexual harassment. He dropped court efforts to regain his job in a settlement with the association last October.

"I don't expect any controversy" from listeners regarding the NAACP events, he said yesterday. "That is behind us. People want to move on . . . and I have often said I still support the NAACP. I have just changed hats."

Since his severance from the national civil rights group, he has traveled the country speaking to groups, "and the response has been really tremendous."

Dr. Chavis said he also wants to continue his efforts with the National African American Leaders Summit, which he launched in Baltimore when heading the NAACP. Two summits were held in Baltimore, another in Chicago, and a fourth is planned for Houston later this year.

"The Freedom Journal" was promoted to WOLB/WOL listeners yesterday, as Dr. Chavis appeared on the daily afternoon talk show of Cathy Hughes, owner of the Radio One group of stations, along with frequent co-host Dick Gregory.

On the air, he offered a sampling of his opinion on the topic his debut show is likely to raise: the Republican Contract With America.

"How can they have a contract without having contact with the people?" he said.

"The Cathy Hughes Show" was also seen on the C-Span cable network yesterday.

Dr. Chavis said he hopes the new program will eventually be syndicated to stations across the country, and perhaps even to the Caribbean and Africa. He also plans to distribute a weekly "Freedom Journal" column, based on his radio show commentary, to African-American newspapers.

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