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EASTSIDE : Activists Criticize Station's Billboard

October 16, 1994|MARY ANNE PEREZ

Eastside activists Tuesday criticized Power 106 Station Manager Doyle Rose about the station's recent "2 Fat Mexicanz" advertising campaign touting its morning disc jockeys.

They learned that the billboards, which depict brothers Eric and Nick Vidal, the Baka Boyz who host the four-hour morning program, will be taken down permanently in one week. Rose said the station received a number of complaints regarding some of the original billboards that showed the two sitting on toilets eating pizza and immediately yanked those ads.

But he said the slogan, which was changed to say "2 Fat Proud Mexicanz," will continue until the campaign completes its full run next week.

"I still don't feel today, nor do the Baka Boyz, that the boards were done in bad taste," Rose told about two dozen members of the East/Northeast Networking Roundtable, who had gathered at the American Red Cross, 5051 E. 3rd St., for their regular meeting. "I would suggest that you listen to them. They present a very positive image in the community."

He added that any future advertising for the station will endeavor to be more sensitive to community concerns.

But the members of the Roundtable group, mostly social and health workers and educators who meet monthly to share information and hold educational seminars, were not satisfied and demanded a public apology.

"Keep in mind that we're going to be monitoring your station and the suggestions we make to you here, we hope you take them to heart," said Raul Estrada, director of the substance abuse treatment center at El Centro Human Services.

Several members decried the billboards, saying they reinforce stereotypes about Latinos held by the general public. More importantly, they added, Latino children and teen-agers need to see positive images of themselves and their culture rather than the depictions presented by the station.

"You're promoting negativity, and that I find offensive," said Sylvia Lopez-Olmos, a domestic violence and substance abuse counselor for El Centro Human Services Inc. "I was a listener every day until this ad."

The Roundtable joined in a letter-writing campaign started by the county Human Relations Commission in response to the billboards. Rose responded to the members' request that he meet with them and discuss their objections.

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