Residents of Englewood had seen and heard enough. Stories on violence, foreclosures, and school closings dominated media coverage of the area. Missing were the positive stories, like neighborhood families turning abandoned land into farms and residents gaining technology skills and starting local businesses.
Members of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) decided if no one would report on the good in their neighborhood, they would do it themselves. And to make sure those stories reached their neighbors, their city, and an online audience, they came to CAN TV.
“If you just rely on the mainstream you would think that everyone in Englewood was the same,” said Rashanah Baldwin, co-founder of R.A.G.E. “CAN TV has continued to give us the outlet to show the variety of personalities – the moms, the dads, the stakeholders – who actually care about the community.”
CAN TV gave R.A.G.E. members the training and tools to host a live, weekly call-in show that connects them to a million cable viewers in Chicago, and a global audience online.
“We wanted a way for our message to be in your face and direct,” said Baldwin. “The show has increased our membership. It’s increased people coming out to our events, and it’s increased people being actively involved in the community.”
Baldwin says the organization has to be creative with its limited budget. Besides hosting the live call-in show, R.A.G.E. engages community members by posting important community events and educational opportunities on CAN TV’s interactive bulletin board channel.
“It’s a way to get to folks that we wouldn’t typically reach through social media or other means,” said Asiaha Butler, President of R.A.G.E. “We survey anybody who attends our events and meetings and we’ve heard of quite a few who said they saw it on CAN TV, or they’ve called us and said they saw it was posted.”
And R.A.G.E. members are now seeing a difference. More positive stories are being highlighted by local media. And people who were once not involved in the neighborhood are finding ways to make a difference.
“If you don’t see value in your community you’re not going to care about it- but that perception is slowly changing,” Baldwin said.
Returning for a second season, RAGE airs Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21, and online at cantv.org/hotline, until September 25.