Black-owned Chicago station pulls R. Kelly off the air

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R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Center on September 25, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. | Mike Pont/Getty Images

Chicago’s 95.1 FM Clubsteppin station will no longer play any music by R.Kelly because of the controversy that resurfaced after Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series.

Lamont Watts, CEO of the station that launched in August, said he made the decision because the station’s audience is primarily African-American women.

RELATED: R. Kelly ordered to allow inspectors inside rented Chicago warehouse

“As a leader of a team where women contribute unselfishly, in a business where the majority of our audience is women, as a son, a brother and a husband of a devoted family, and to hear and see the pain and suffering that is real for so many, effective immediately, we will no longer play the music of R. Kelly,” Watts said in an announcement posted on Facebook.

Watts said watching the documentary gave him “mixed emotions.”

“I don’t want to pass judgment, I just look at women at a larger scale. This is bigger, bigger than the women who were saying something about the R. Kelly situation,” Watts said. “As you look at both sides and everything going on, and the #MeToo movement, we felt it was the right thing to do.”

Watts said he’s gotten mixed reactions from listeners, some who’ve thanked him for pulling R.Kelly’s music and others who said they’ll no longer listen to the station.

“I say that everybody has a right to their own opinion, and we respect that,” he said.

Repeated attempts to reach a spokeswoman for iHeartRadio stations, which operates V103, WGCI and 103.5 KISS FM, among others, have been unsuccessful.

Springfield concert canceled

Meanwhile, the Springfield Spring Break Jam, a concert scheduled for April 6 at the Springfield fairgrounds, was set to be hosted by Kelly. However, Capitol Fax reported Friday that the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of issuing permits for the concert, denied the organizer’s request.

“Unfortunately, we cannot control when organizers start promoting an event – in this case, there was never a signed agreement to host the event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, only an application,” an IDOA spokesperson told Capitol Fax.


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