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WHRB Officials Plan Tighter Security

Measures Necessary After Local Rap Group Enters Station's Studios

By Joshua W. Shenk

Officials of WHRB are planning increased security after members of a Cambridge rap group--one of whom was carrying a baseball bat--entered the station's studios seeking out an on-air personality.

The rappers were angered by a song that had aired the previous week, and were looking for the musician who produced the music, said WHRB President John A.E. Pottow '93.

But they did not threaten violence and left without incident after discovering that the musician--who had appeared on the station live--was not in the studios.

In the fall of 1989, five men ransacked the same WHRB studios, damaging equipment, threatening disc jockeys and forcing the station to go off the air for 14 hours.

And despite the lack of danger posed by the December incident, Pottow said "the image of two years ago crept into people's minds."

"What concerns us is how eaily these people infiltrated the station," said Jason A. Topaz '93, WHRB's station manager.

Pottow said that he hopes to install an intercom system and secure several windows, and will invite University police to conduct a security analysis.

But changes in WHRB's current location in Memorial Hall may soon become irrelevant, as the station is planning to move next year to the basement of Hillel's new home--Rosovsky Hall.

WHRB officials, including the disc jockey of the rap program "Street Beat," said they did not know the name of the offending song or the rap musician who produced it.

That musician, who lives in Cambridge and appears occasionally as a guest disc jockey on Street Beat had been in the studio on Dec. 14, the day of the incident, but was gone when the rappers arrived.

"It was basically a conflict between two people," said a Street Beat deejay who asked not to be identified.

"These people didn't have a problem with WHRB," the deejay said. "We just happened to have been in the middle."

WHRB officials said that insulting other musicians is common in rap music.

"It's a staple of rap that as part of the competition you insult other people to build yourself up," said the Street Beat deejay.

"I'm led to believe that this is a common practice in the rap genre," added Pottow.

The Street Beat program, which airs on Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m., is not scheduled for broadcast in January because of WHRB's scheduled "orgies"--extended programming blocks during which the station features a particular theme or musical artist.

Although Pottow said that the program is under review, he said that it would likely return in early February.

"I expect that it will be business as normal on Feb. 1," Pottow said.

"Everything is set to go on Feb. 1," the program's deejay said.

Pottow said that the station might consider screening music before it airs or eliminating local rap music entirely from its playlist.

But he added that that would contradict WHRB's goal of trying to be "a community station and an alternative station."

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