August 23, 2009

Unity Day Event Rescheduled for 2010 According to Local Group

Today was to be "THE DAY", The group issued this statement: “Unity Day On The Parkway” for August 23, 2009 must reschedule the Unity Day Event for 2010, due to Clear Channel and the City of Philadelphia creating interference and delay. Preparation for Unity Day 2010 is moving forward without delay.

The above statement seems unprofessional or sour grapes if you will in light of the resources and effort needed to pull off an event the magnitude of Unity Day. An event that was so much a part of the fabric of the African American community in Philadelphia each summer. The blame placed squarely on the shoulders of Clear Channel radio and the City of Philadelphia seems to be uncalled for.

The Unity Day concept began under the leadership of then WDAS General Manager Cody Anderson. After several ownership changes during the past 30 years, Clear Channel now owns the station. They're in charge of the direction of the station. CC changed the format on 1480 WDAS AM to a Spanish music station a couple of years ago. They decided to take Unity Day off the parkway in 2008 and make it a concert and not a community gathering. CC doesn't just own the studios, equipment and pay the employees; they own "the legacy" of the station. Despite CC's objections, the City of Philadelphia did issue a permit to the group. Ultimately whose fault was it if they were unable to pull it off?

The cost of such an event must be enormous! Just think of how much it would have cost them to have the police department maintain a level of security during the event and for city workers to clean up after the event. Were they just expecting donations to come flooding in to pay for the utilities for the event? In order to pull off such an event you need sponsors, let's re-phrase that, you need major corporate sponsors.

Without major sponsors; local TV, radio, or newspaper advertising; media awareness; endorsements from elected officials or other community organizations; no known musical guests or celebrities; maybe the Unity Day on the Parkway 2009 group should have organized a smaller event like a picnic in the park. It's what WDAS did with the "Unity Picnic" some 30 years ago.

Maybe starting off small would have been best.

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