Norman Seabrook’s Media Strategy Stays in High Gear
May 15, 2012
By Samantha Saly
“Real Talk, Real Time,” a radio show hosted by the President of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association brings unionpolitics, support for working men and women, and a love of the city to the airwaves.
The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association is the largest municipal jail union in the nation and the second largest law enforcement union in New York City. The radio show on WWRL 1600 AM brings President and show host Norman Seabrook into discussions with union allies such as Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, whom Seabrook endorsed for New York’s 6th Congressional District on his April 20 show.
Seabrook’s belief that a lack of public and political attention to corrections officers had led to deficient wages and benefits in 1995, when he was elected to union leadership, is a driving force for the radio program at a time when unions across all sectors are losing ground. This focus on increased visibility for the corrections officers has been part of Seabrook’s agenda since his election, leading to active union campaigning to address the city’s social concerns.
One such concern, a subject of frequent discussion on “Real Talk, Real Time,” is continued gun violence. “We live in communities where kids are pulling out guns and shooting each other,” said Seabrook. COBA has “a responsibility to make sure our members and their families are safe.”
The Benevolent Association’s campaign to halt gun violence on city streets has been a hallmark of Seabrook’s tenure — and not just on his radio program. COBA members’ experience with gun violence led to a union public safety awareness campaign to promote the NYPD’s Operation Gun Stop program, including union member distribution of posters at sites of gun violence where lives were lost.
While the show aims to bring to light issues that impact the wellbeing of officers, their families, and their communities, it also seeks to involve city residents, particularly men and women civil servants, in shaping the political future of the city. The show’s feature segment, “Ask the Next Mayor,” allows listeners the opportunity to ask questions of sitting Councilmember guests, so that “city workers can start to prepare now to elect someone who is not going to make us … the villain,” said Seabrook.
“Real Talk, Real Time” airs live every Friday on WWRL 1600 AM from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.