July 16, 2009

98.7 Kiss FM Breaks the News, D.L. Hughley is the new Morning Host

Emmis Radio's Urban AC station WRKS 98.7 Kiss FM (New York) has named comedian and TV personality D.L. Hughley its new morning show host.

Hughley will be joined on his show by Jacque Reid (former news anchor at BET, co-host Steve Harvey Morning Show and contributor on the Tom Joyner morning show); comic Steve Wilson; Raquiyah Mays; and the news voice of New York's Black community, Bob Slade. The show debuts on Monday, July 20th from 6-10a. "I always wanted to do radio and having the opportunity to do it with KISS FM is truly exciting!" Hughley also stated, "I am going to work hard for the audience of New York... they may not always like what I say, but I promise to never play down to them and I promise to always work hard to keep them entertained."

D.L. Hughley previous stop was as host at CNN on "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News." His show to say the least caused much controversy on both sides of the political agenda. The Freddie Mac bit showed Hughley interviewing "Freddie Mac" the mortgage lender, portrayed by comedian Donnell Rawlings as a pimp causing the financial crisis in America. Also causing a stir was RNC chairman Michael Steele who said he and not Rush Limbaugh was the head of the Republican Party. OH BY THE WAY, Did you hear Steele has given all negroes an open invitation to join the Republican Party? He has all the fried chicken and potato salad you want. (Video) Mmmm... sounds like a KFC deal to me ...and smells like a mindless racial stereotype from an out of touch political party leader. But that's a whole other story.

One thing for sure, a story like this Michael Steele one would definitely garner attention from Hughley. In fact any issue that is politically and socially charged in nature, will be brought to the table with D.L.'s socially conscious comedic style. However I'm not sure how that style of humor will play out on morning radio in the long run. But for sure New Yorkers will let you know.

Now we all can figure out why 98.7 Kiss FM tapped Hughley to go up against fellow Kings of Comedy tour member Steve Harvey over on WBLS. As David Hinckley columnist at the NY Daily News puts it-- "Hughley's arrival marks the latest move in the long-running morning chess match between WRKS and WBLS to win the urban radio audience. Both stations hired syndicated hosts a few years ago when WBLS had Doug Banks and WRKS had Tom Joyner. WRKS then dropped Joyner to go with the local Jeff Foxx show and pulled ahead until WBLS hired Harvey, who recaptured the lead. Now Kiss has dropped Foxx to counter with Hughley. The only certainty is the match will go on."
But for the life of me I can't figure out why they need five, f-i-v-e people in the studio to do a morning show. Haven't we been there and done that. This style of radio was introduced by Howard Stern many years ago and radio executives/program directors have continued to copy this formula for the last 25 plus years. CBS Radio is still trying to find a solution to replace the revenue lost after Stern jumped over to Sirius Satellite radio.

When will radio executives stop trying to bring in stand-up comedians to do morning radio. The track record for Black comedians haven't been so great from Whoppi Goldberg, Mo'Nique, Guy Torre, Paul Mooney, and others. But then again there's always the chance you might hit gold with Steve Harvey and (some might say, but I'm not) Rickey Smiley.

All of these people are extremely talented, but doing radio, especially morning radio is just simply a different kind of grind. Many comedians know after a few months that it's a tough job, and hitting the road for the comedy club tour, movies and TV are always a viable option for them. I wish D.L. Hughley all the best, but how about giving a radio personality the opportunity to build a following and do what he or she is trained to do.
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