Best Community-Oriented Radio Program - 2012
In 1991, a young MC Hammer appeared on KMEL 106.1 FM with a one-off show called Street Soldiers. Named for one of Hammer's songs, the show was something far different than his massive pop hit "U Can't Touch This": a community discussion on how to improve inner-city life. The station later recruited a permanent host, Dr. Joseph Marshall, the co-founder and executive director of Omega Boys Club in Potrero Hill, and ever since Dr. Marshall and Lady Estell have provided a weekly Sunday evening respite from KMEL's misogynist-leaning hip hop playlist. They're intelligent and compassionate voices for listeners to talk about issues such as violence, drugs, and prostitution — concerns that have only deepened since Street Soldiers came on the scene. The nationally syndicated program airs in 12 markets, meaning its potential for engendering positive actions extends even beyond the Bay Area.