Before we went on air in 1997, my father and I sat down to discuss the direction of this station, WCCG 104.5. That discussion covered myriad number of subjects; community development, the effect of rap music on younger kids, journalistic integrity, etcetera. We were primarily concerned with how to give back. One of those ways was to have a free concert every year for our listeners or anyone who wanted to come experience live music, especially those who couldn’t normally afford to pay concert ticket prices.
In June, we will celebrate our 20th year on-air, serving Fayetteville, Ft. Bragg and Cumberland County. This year, that celebration will not include a concert in July. We requested a permit from the city of Fayetteville but that request was refused. The refusal included a written explanation, detailing the reluctance of the police department to provide security and the risk the city felt was larger than they wanted to handle. If anyone reading this statement has been to any or all of our free yearly concerts over the years, then you would know most years were virtually problem free. Sometimes there were fights or disruptions but generally, no real issues. Last year I would consider an exception. Half the crowd, which was enormous, were not directing their attention to the stage or the musical acts and at one point the police asked for the event to end because people were getting out of hand. I do not want this statement to diminish the fact that people were causing trouble and the police had absolutely no choice but to request a shut down. The sole difference between the concerts I have personally attended this year and our yearly Summer Music Festival was the price of the admission. In the paid concerts, there were no altercations, irrespective of the musical genre. Henceforth, if the opportunity to bring a musical act or acts to our hometown arises, we will have no choice but to charge a fee for entrance. This fact affects me personally and everyone who works for WCCG. The outlets for kids, especially those who do not have access to disposable income, can be described as either scarce, if you’re an optimist, or non-existent, if you’re a realist.
I do not want anyone to take this statement as a call to action or use it as an excuse to cause trouble. WCCG has always been inclusive, not divisive and we will continue to have an effect in a positive manner. I also want to thank every listener we have. WCCG is the only locally owned FM station in this market and we appreciate every listener, whether they listen for 2 minutes or 20 years.