Something we love to do here at Radio Ink is to find and highlight stations that produce great content. 1010 WINS in New York City is a station that makes our job easy. About a year ago the station produced a series addressing the growing heroin epidemic that’s gripping the nation. Now the station has produced an 8-part series addressing cyber-bullying. It’s called Living in Live Time, and 1010 WINS Director of News and Programming Ben Mevorach tells Radio Ink said the phrase was coined by one of the psychologists they interviewed for the series. “It refers to the way young people now live. Everything is in ‘live time’ on social media.”
Mevorach says living in live time and on special media leads to instant judgments, the insatiable quest for “likes” and the growing inability to think about consequences before engaging in comments. “The too-frequent result, of course, is cyber-bullying. Not always the formal attack, sometimes it’s just ‘Wow, I didn’t notice how big a nose you had’ or ‘I can’t believe you went out in that ugly dress. It make you look fat’ etc.”
The series the team at 1010 WINS produced includes dozens of interviews with experts, boys, girls, and some celebrities who have been cyber-bullied. Mevorach says there was also a report on social surgery. “We found two young women who decided to have plastic surgery for the singular reason that they didn’t like the way they looked in selfies. We also interviewed the father of the 17-year-old who had the surgery. We followed them before during and after the surgery. We were in the operating room for both procedures.”
The station has also launched a campaign to empower young people against cyber-bullying. The campaign is called “I Decide Today,” and includes sister station AMP-FM in New York to give the campaign the opportunity to reach multiple generations. Singer Alessia Cara was so impressed by the station’s efforts, she agreed to join the campaign as the spokesperson.
We spoke to Mevorach about the campaign and why it’s important to continue to do this type of long-form reporting.
Radio Ink: Tell us about this latest series.
Mevorach: For the first time in our history, young people are living in LIVE TIME. Everything is instantly available. Everything they do and see and judge and comment on is done as it is happening. There is no time to reflect, to pause, or think things through…and there is no time to take something back because once it’s posted, it’s out there. Make a mistake and “the whole world” knows in live time. In addition, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, a nearly complete void exists between parents and their children. Parents don’t speak, understand, or relate to the lives their kids lead on social media. We took an in-depth look at this phenomenon and explored the impact these negative attacks on social media are having on the self-esteem of our young people, particularly young girls. The 8-part series name, Living In Live Time, is a phrase coined by one of the psychologists we interviewed who specializes in counseling young victims of cyber-bullying.
Radio Ink: What specifically did you go out and do?
Mevorach: We pulled together the perspectives of young girls and boys, their parents, psychologists, student-generated empowerment groups, young celebrities, cosmetic surgeons, law enforcement, and many others. Young celebrities like Disney star Laura Marano and local X-Factor contestant Bea Miller talked emotionally about the impact cyber-bullying had on them. One of the most powerful parts of the series came from a 16-year-old and a twenty-something woman we interviewed. They are part of a growing number of young women who are so unhappy with how they look on social media that they have chosen plastic surgery to improve their selfies and their self-esteem. Both said social media played a major role in deciding to undergo the procedures. Think about that for a minute. Young girls, so obsessed with getting “likes” on social media are willing to undergo plastic surgery to avoid negative comments when they post selfies.
Radio Ink: Were you all surprised to find out plastic surgery was being done because girls didn’t like the way they looked?
Mevorach: What surprised us was how widespread this is becoming. The plastic surgeons we spoke with said their businesses are growing an average of 10 percent a year because of young girls wanting to have “selfie surgeries.” We also saw the struggle their parents are having as they try to cope with these decisions in their homes.
One of the incredible quotes from the series is from Nancy Jo Sales who wrote a book on social media and the secret lives of teenagers. She told us that several girls shared that social media was ruining their lives but when asked why they just didn’t go off it, one teen answered, “Because we would have no life.”
Radio Ink: Is this a big problem in the New York community?
Mevorach: As we are having this conversation today, the New York state Education Department released figures showing a 19% increase in cyberbullying in the city’s public schools and a whopping 31% increase in charter schools. It is a major problem for our young people and their parents who are trying to understand it and help them.
Radio Ink: What is the campaign to empower young people?
Mevorach: There are some really great campaigns out there that promote anti-bullying but we believe one of the best ways to stop the negative attacks is to take the power away from the bullies by empowering their targets. We have teamed up with our sister station 92.3 AMP for a cross-generational public service campaign on empowerment. We are very happy to share that singing sensation Alessia Cara will also join us for this campaign. One of Alessia’s mega-hits, “Scars to Your Beautiful” has become an anthem for positive self-esteem and empowerment. The campaign is called # I Decide Today and will ask young people to post self-empowerment messages on their Instagram accounts. We will kick off the campaign in the next couple of weeks.
Radio Ink: Why is it important for 1010WINS to do these in-depth stories?
Mevorach: Part of our mission is to explore important issues but we also want to improve the lives and the communities we serve. The response to our last series on the heroin epidemic and the heroin summit we co-hosted (more than 600 people attended) was so overwhelming, it confirmed for us that we were connecting in a meaningful and powerful way. We believe Living in Live Time can be used as part of the curriculum in schools across America and as a discussion starter in every family that has teens and tweens.
Radio Ink: Do you believe this type of reporting helps you stand out over every other radio station?
Mevorach: I think all listeners want to feel a connection to their station, regardless of format, and I think stations must constantly evolve and reinvent themselves in meaningful and strategic ways to do that. I’m not sure we stand out over the other radio stations but I do think we deepen the relationship with our audience with this type of reporting.
Radio Ink: What do you have planned in the future?
Mevorach: We now have a program which promotes small businesses in our area by offering $10,000 each quarter to the business owner who best shows how they would grow their business with the money. We extended our radio brand into three franchise video shows for Facebook live and 1010 WINS.com, and we will soon be hosting a special event on race relations from the perspective of the college-aged generation.
Reach out to Ben to congratulate him and his team for making great radio [email protected].
Check out the 1010 WINS reports HERE
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