The Radio One Indianapolis cluster marked World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) by stopping the music on its stations and instead opening dialogue and providing resources for those affected by or contemplating suicide.
From 10am to noon, urban AC WTLC-FM (106.7), urban gospel “The Light” WTLC (1310), CHR “Radio Now 100.9” WNOW-FM, rhythmic “Hot 96.3” CHR WHHH and Spanish CHR “La Grande 105.1,” which broadcasts on the Indianapolis-licensed translator W286CM at 105.1, turned off the music and turned up the conversation.
“For World Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day, we are going to stop the music for two hours. Suicide is impacting teenagers, young adults, the Hispanic and African-American community at alarming rates and we're going to address it,” Regional VP Deon Levingston told WRTV-TV. “The stigma in the African-American and Latino community is real. And as people are addressing more and more mental health issues, we have to break through that stigma so people realize it’s OK to talk to a counselor. It's OK to tell people this is happening in your life.”
The on-air acknowledgement is extended with postings on radio station websites that provide suicide prevention and mental health resources.
“I have a 24-year-old and a 20-year-old and, unfortunately, they have seen several members of their class attempt suicide,” Levingston continued. “That's something at that age, you're just beginning your life. You shouldn't be ending your life at 20 and 24.”
Radio One joins other radio groups to recognize and devote programming toward suicide awareness and prevention. Entercom presented its annual two-hour, commercial-free broadcast “I’m Listening” on Sept. 8 across its 235 radio stations.