Urban radio broadcasts hope for youth
By Donald Barnes
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Urban Nation Radio is a web-based radio station that looks to lend a helping hand to urban communities around the country by providing information on becoming successful, staying healthy, and keeping youth focused on study and out of trouble.
UNR founder Jason Dixon explained how the station emerged out of a mentoring program at Cass Technical High School.
College-bound freshmen and sophomores preparing to graduate in 2013 “wanted to do a business from the ground up,” Dixon said. “We went through a process of choosing businesses and they said wanted to do something that gives out information to help people grow.”
Dixon’s mentoring program, Behavior Dictates Your Balance Sheet, allows students to learn the ins-and-outs of becoming an entrepreneur and provides them the tools to succeed in a business world. The program has been at Cass Tech for three years now.
At the age of 25, Dixon started his own homecare company along with a medical supply store located on the west side of Detroit.
He says he uses his entrepreneurial background to help students who are a part of the mentoring program prepare for their own ventures.
So far, Dixon says the students have really enjoyed the work they are doing with Urban Nation Radio.
“We make decisions together. They are really engaged and to see we actually got some things done — from gaining a tax ID number, to making a logo, to finding a location — has driven them to make this as big as possible,” Dixon told the Michigan Citizen. “It feels good to let them create ideas and to watch them see it actually come to life.”
University Prep Academy sophomore Troy Simmons-Brown worked at Dixon’s medical supply store during a summer internship for the youth program Teen Hype (Helping Youth Provide Education). He is actively involved with Urban Nation Radio and says it’s a great place for him to be.
“I want to gain a lot of experience as far as working with a radio station and controlling media equipment. This is ideal for me,” he said. “We just need to make sure the youth is provided with knowledge.”
Urban Nation Radio’s content is widespread and will include material for people of all ages.
“We have a health show with a lady who has a master’s in heath care and is the CEO of the Institute for Population Health, and we have a show with a young lady who talks about dementia, (as well as) a show called the ‘Money Project’ with an ongoing guest from Morgan Stanley,” Dixon said.
The program lineup also includes among other things, a mentoring program for college students called “The College Plan 101;” a music education program with world-renown techno/house DJ Bruce Bailey; and a program with Lucky D, a former YBI member who served jail time but is now doing positive work in the community.
Lucky D, whose given name is Derek Samples, says he isn’t proud of his past and in turn wants to help youth to not make the same mistakes.
“Once we get on the air and start going into communities, I believe we can have a positive impact. I’m predicting that we have a bigger impact than the big three radio stations in the city,” Samples told the Michigan Citizen. “I feel if you make it to the top and become successful, for one, you need to tell people how you did it, show people how to do it and embrace those who are already trying to advance.”
Urban Nation Radio recently launched their website and will be launching the radio station sometime before the summer.
Cass Tech senior Kawanta Cason has been with Urban Nation Radio since its inception. Recently Cason was accepted to Michigan State University and says the opportunity is unlike any other.
“You can do so many things with a radio station,” Cason said. “A lot people don’t understand how important it is to succeed when you’re out here on your own. Ttuning into Urban Nation Radio can prepare kids for their future.”
For more information on Urban Nation Radio, visit urbannationradio.com