Vote Yes "MLK" Radio Ad Stirs Valdosta Fires

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

Valdosta, GA -- October 18, 2011 --

Chris Beckham is the host of "The Chris Beckham Show" on 105.9 in Valdosta. He talks about the issues, but lately he's been bombarded by a flood of angry phone calls.

"People were upset about the content of the ad and the fact that people said it was misleading."

It's a paid advertisement by the "Vote Yes" committee on consolidation.

The advertisement, in part, says this.
"On November 8th, vote yes for a unified school system to keep Dr. King's dream alive."

But what really has opponents fired up is the use of Martin Luther King's name.

"They're using Dr. King as a marketing tool for a pro-consolidation stance," says Karen Knoll.

She's a parent who's kids are in the Valdosta City Schools.
Spurred by the commercial, she launched a campaign to flood the radio station with caller complaints.

"The radio station does not have to air those ads. They can choose to air an ad like that or not."

But Beckham loves it.
He's using the callers on his shows.
"But if we can get more input, more discussion about it, hopefully we can help folks see it better."

The voice on the radio ad sounds like Morgan Freeman.
But it's actually a paid actor in California.
However plenty of people around town say they were convinced it was him.

Reached for comment about using Martin Luther King in the ad, a "Vote Yes" representative says, quote, "We believe Dr. King's message was about unity and we currently have two school systems that are predominantly divided by race."

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