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Tribute To The Urban Scene And Host Don Frierson

Rep. James E. Clyburn

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Madam Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a radio institution in my hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. The Urban Scene is the first issue-oriented radio talk show in Columbia, and it remains a touchstone in the African American community today.

In 1988, WOIC radio began airing The Urban Scene with host Ben Scott. The next year, Gwen Foushee and Don Frierson took over the hosting duties, and by the end of 1989, Don was flying solo.

The next big change for The Urban Scene was its move from WOIC to WGCV/620 AM in Columbia in 2000. It is a testament to the popularity of the show that its loyal audience followed The Urban Scene, and many new listeners tuned in,

The Urban Scene quickly made its mark as the place to go for an in-depth discussion and debate of the issues of the day. Under Don's guidance, listeners feel comfortable to call in and give their opinions or ask questions, The topics covered on The Urban Scene run the gamut and are always entertaining and informative. Don has featured guests from all walks of life, including actor Danny Glover; House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt; former Miss America Kimberly Aiken; gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones; civil rights pioneer Modjeska Simpkins; and nationally syndicated talk show host Bev Smith. I have been known to make appearances on The Urban Scene from time to time as welL

I don't believe The Urban Scene would have enjoyed its longevity without the leadership of Don Frierson. He has done a tremendous job over the last 19 years in creating a midday talk show that is consistently the talk of the town. As a native of Columbia, Don knows the issues that are important to his listeners. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1983 with a degree in journalism, and continues to work full-time for the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.

Don maintains the pulse of the community by being involved in many activities. He has served on the board of Bethlehem Community Center, the Columbia Branch NAACP, and the South Carolina Conference of Branches of NAACP. He has volunteered his time with Big Brothers and Sisters of the Midlands, as a mentor, working with children in Richland School District One, and has assisted non-profit agencies and organizations in the areas of press and publicity. He is a volunteer docent with the South Carolina State Museum and has served as third Vice President of the Columbia Branch NAACP.

Don's many awards include the Living the Legacy Award, presented by the National Council of Negro Women for outstanding work in the field of Journalism; Certificate for Outstanding Community Service in the field of Journalism, from the Omicron Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Community Leader of Excellence Award, from the Cush Fellowship Ministries; Million Man March Appreciation Award, from the Nation of Islam, for work in promoting the Million Man March; Martin Luther King Award for Community Service presented by Zion Baptist Church No.1; Award for Community Service, presented by Masjid AI-Islam; Outstanding Service Award from the Alcorn Middle School Community Task Force; Community Service Award from the Sister Clara Muhammad School; Certificate of Honor from the Columbia Branch NAACP for service; and a commendation from the South Carolina House of Representatives for public service.

Madam Speaker, I ask you to join me today in celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Urban Scene and the outstanding work of its host Don Frierson. The show and its host are synonymous with intelligent and thought-provoking radio. I applaud the tremendous service Don provides on The Urban Scene, and I am proud to call him a friend.