By John Montone, 1010 WINS
If you’re one of the millions of listeners who wakes up each morning to 1010 WINS, you’re likely familiar with the voice, and tone, of the station’s intrepid reporter John Montone.
Best known for his no holds barred, man on the street reporting, Montone has been getting in the faces — and ears — of New Yorkers for what seems like an eternity.
Montone has added to his repertoire by bringing his unique reporting style to print.
So please take a look and listen to John’s new venture: Radio Free Montone — a weekly blog where Montone takes you behind the scenes of news radio in New York City, and gives his observations on reporting in the greatest city in the world.
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Have the city council and the courts handcuffed the NYPD by ruling and voting to curtail the police tactic known as “stop and frisk,?” That will take years to answer, but by then…we’ll…listen up.
In the late 1980’s as a reporter for 1010 WINS, I often felt my beat should have been called “memorials,” because it seemed that every week I was in an inner city church listening to family and friends wailing in grief and to a clergyman denouncing the senseless violence that had taken another young life.
Sometimes in terms of pure justice, the victim was just an unlucky bad guy. But on other occasions the body up at the altar belonged to an innocent, a little girl or boy. And the memorials did not always take place in a church filled with the sound of gospel music.
Often they were make-shift memorials, graffiti on the side of a vacant building. Great big multi-colored murals that said , “So long,” rest in peace and good-bye forever,” to the young fellow whose life had been blasted away.
One day I remember driving to a story before dawn under the El on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. There I passed by an open-air drug market with gun-toting thugs guarding their turf and, well, I can’t put this delicately so … crack whores peddling themselves.
It was a hellish sight. Another morning out in East New York, I noticed a guy on a street corner holding an object under his jacket. I knew it was a gun, a big one. Then I turned to the opposite corner and another guy, same type of jacket, holding an object with the same outline in the same manner. I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes because it wasn’t until I began writing my story that I thought, “Uh-oh, time to find another parking space.”
Now a days when I pass through such neighborhoods I still see people out and about well before sunrise. But they’re usually folks heading to work or to the corner deli for coffee. This city is a far, far better place than it was a quarter of a century ago.
And if any one institution deserves credit, it is the NYPD — from top to bottom.
The main objective of “stop and frisk,” is to get guns out of the hands of violent criminals, so one gang-banger with a “beef” against another doesn’t put a bullet through the head of a baby. Just last week in Brownsville, we had baby boy, a stroller and four shots. Antiq Hennes took his last breath at the age of 16 months.
In the debate over “stop and frisk,“ there are legitimate concerns about racial profiling and privacy rights. But if the result of the court and city council’s actions is stopping police officers from using their training and intuition to prevent crimes before they happen, well there’s a place where the police department has not been quite as effective.
It’s called Newark.