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Radio Boycott Against New York's Hot 97 Underway, Advocates Protesting Judge Rotenberg Center Ads

Advocates are boycotting radio station Hot 97 in NYC and their advertisers due to ads running for Canton's Judge Rotenberg Center.

New York radio station Hot 97 may be in hot water.

Advocates opposed to the use of which is used at the Canton-based , are boycotting the hip hop FM station and the station's advertisers, including McDonald's, Popeye’s, and Hershey's Chocolate. The boycott is due to Hot 97 airing ads for the Judge Rotenberg Center.

The boycott started this week and is being organized by self-titled children's rights advocate George Deabold.

“There is no doubt it’ll be effective in the future,” Deabold said. “The station has a long history of running these ads and we think we can successfully put an end to it.”

Deabold, a New Yorker who refers to himself as a national children’s rights and educational advocate, and is the founder of School Watch, has rallied other advocates through email and online campaigns and reached out to executives at McDonald's, Popeye's, Hershey's and Hot 97.

“Hot 97 has been running these ads for the past two years,” he said.

The New Yorker started rallying his troops in June. Since the , Deabold has been working on ideas for advocacy. This included the radio station boycott and ultimately shutting the center down.

After reaching out to executives at Clear Channel Communications, CBS radio, NBC radio and other radio stations in Massachusetts and New York, he only found one station to be running ads for the JRC–Hot 97 in New York.

“Is hip hop the face of torture? Will artists be behind the Rotenberg tactics?” he said.

Emmis Communications, the owners of Hot 97, declined to comment specifically on the JRC ads.

"It is not the policy of Emmis Communications to comment on our advertisers’ businesses,” Ian D. Arnold, Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Emmis, said in an email to Patch. “We do, however, support the right of all parties, including our advertisers and their critics, to be heard."

“We’ve got people monitoring the airwaves,” Deabold said. “Boycotts of this nature have a history of being effective.”

Previously, Michael Flammia, the attorney for the Judge Rotenberg Center, told Patch that a radio boycott would have no impact on the JRC. The boycott by “an uniformed, unauthorized… person would not have any effect whatsoever,” he said.

Kate Gladstone August 23, 2011 at 08:52 PM
When George Deabold contacts McDonald's about the boycott, he should also contact Temple Grandin -- the autistic person who designed McDonald's current and more humane animal processing system. (She's the one that the recent HBO award-winning film was about.) She couldn't have done it if she'd been slowly fried alive at Rotenberg.

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