Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Stop the music -- if it demeans women


Citing the influence of the recent Million Man March, urban radio station WXYV-FM (102.9) says it will no longer play songs with lyrics that are derogatory to women, and is asking listeners to offer their opinions on the policy.

"We are taking this stand because we care about the messages that are being sent to our youth," said V-103 operations manager Roy Sampson in a statement Wednesday.

"In response to the spirit in the community following the Million Man March," he said, the station will not play music in which women are referred to by certain offensive slang terms and will also be alert for sexually explicit content.

The station is operating a 24-hour telephone number listeners can call to voice their opinions on the issue: (410) 602-8103.

"This is not censorship; we're allowing the listeners to voice their opinions," said Lorenzo "Ice-Tea" Thomas, V-103 music director and the station's 3 p.m.-7 p.m. air personality, who announced the policy during his show Wednesday.

He said the station had immediately removed any offending songs from the air. He cited two songs previously played that no longer will be: "Player's Anthem" by the group Junior Mafia, which contains slang derogatory to women, and "Freek 'n You -- The Re-mix" by the group Jodeci, which contains an explicit sexual lyric. He said the station would revert to playing the original version of the song without the line.

What if a majority of listeners ask to hear popular songs that contain material deemed offensive?

"That's a hard one, because we are a business and want to play the hits," he said. "Mr. Sampson and I would sit down and consider that kind of situation."

Earlier last week, also citing the Million Man March as his impetus, 2nd District City Councilman Carl Stokes introduced a bill that would set up a task force to urge radio stations to stop playing songs with suggestive lyrics.

Maternity clothes

Phil Donahue once wore a dress in a ratings stunt, and Geraldo Rivera disrobed altogether in a visit to a nudist camp. But Gordon Elliott has made a real stretch for the November "sweeps" period that begins this week: He got pregnant.

Actually, the tall talk-show host from Australia will be seen wearing an "empathy belt," a weighted harness that allows males to simulate the awkwardness of being heavy with child, during all of this week's programs (9 a.m.-10 a.m. on WMAR, Channel 2).

And WJZ-TV personality Marty Bass donned a similar rig for a series of reports on Channel 13 in the May sweeps.

Tomorrow's "Gordon Elliott Show" installment, about men who are not involved in their wives' pregnancies, explains the stunt. The host says it stemmed from a challenge from his wife, Sophie, who is expecting the couple's first child in January.

'War of the Worlds'

It wouldn't be Halloween week without Orson Welles' dramatization of "War of the Worlds," now, would it?

The live radio broadcast of Oct. 30, 1938, sent thousands of listeners into a panic, believing the actor-director's adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic was an actual report. Broadcast historians cite the incident as among the first demonstrations of the reach and power of the broadcast media.

"War of the Worlds" can be heard in its entirety at 9 o'clock tonight as part of a collection of Halloween-related audio nostalgia on Washington's WAMU-FM (88.5).

R.E.M. on WIYY

R.E.M. is the featured band tonight in the weekly "98 Rock Sunday Night Concert," at 10 p.m. on WIYY-FM (97.9).

Local roots

Look for the local angles in the CBS Sunday romantic sitcom "Almost Perfect" (8:30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13): Actor Kevin Kilner, who plays the male lead opposite Nancy Travis, sometimes wears a T-shirt that says "Towson State Lacrosse."

Oddly enough, however, the Baltimore native is a former lacrosse player at (and graduate of) the Johns Hopkins University, not Towson State University.

Why the cross-campus reference? His publicists say the character was just written that way, as a Baltimore native from a lesser-known school.

The show's executive producer is also familiar with the Baltimore scene: He is Ken Levine, who was an Orioles broadcaster several seasons ago.

Mr. Kilner, who went to Dulaney High School, was back in town last week in a benefit appearance on behalf of the Students Sharing Coalition. He spoke Friday at the fourth annual music festival held by the charity, which involves high school students in community service work.

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