September 16, 2009

New "Urban Music" Formats that Don't Serve the African American Community

If only we could report a NEW urban radio station is coming to your city... this is about as close as we could ever get.

Clear Channel Radio's KFMK-FM, the former Jammin' 105.9 in Austin drops Rhythmic AC after two and half years; turns to Hip Hop as "105.9 The Beat." The move puts "The Beat" in a head to head battle with Hot 93.3 KDHT-FM. The station plays a mix of artists like Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Drake, Rhianna and Jay-Z. However Ryan Seacrest will remain on the station as the syndicated midday host.

Market Manager Pamela McKay said, "As the makeup of Austin's population grows in diversity, we know this mass appeal format will super-serve our growing community as well as the needs of the advertisers." I almost have to laugh at such a "politically correct" statement. What you mean is- "We play Black music but we don't have Black listeners."

Last week in Detroit, Clear Channel flipped it's Country music station “106.7 The Fox” to the Rhythmic AC format as "106.7 The Beat." Same deal with this "Beat" except it appeals to an older demographic. Here's some of the songs they play: Madonna – Into The Groove; Rihanna – Pon De Replay; Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough and Mary J. Blige – Family Affair.

In an advertising world that secretly dictates "don't buy commercials on Black radio stations", a practice that continues to go on year after year despite high ratings for many urban stations around the country; it's safe to say we won't ever see another new Black FM radio station in a major city. That's right. Ever again.

What's the most likely senario? New corporate owners will take the format of a Black radio station and change it to something they feel will make them more money. There will be minimal protests from the public and bye-bye it's gone.

The only company able to do radio with music made by African American artists for the African American community in the past was Radio One. However during this economy and because of some of their past financial decisions, we can hardly expect Radio One to buy a new station any time soon.

Pittsburgh could use one and Boston could use one on FM. But don't hold your breath... In the past President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III said that while Boston was a “wonderful” radio market, “it is not of great strategic importance to us.” That would probably apply to Pittsburgh as well.

Meanwhile radio corporations keep looking for that "magic" formula that will bring in great ratings and strangely enough it includes a lot of Black music.


  1. I don't think Alfred Liggins is even thinking about pittsburgh at all, gotta remember radio one is sitting on a billion dollar debt and growing, plus radio one has failed black radio by buying into the corporate mindset of their white counterpart clear channel, in many circles in radio, radio one is reffered to as the browner version of clear channel, the well atleast the sistah is black rational won't make it, because the history is right there front and center for us to see clearly.

  2. Yeah, it is these faux "black music" stations that are popping up left and right. You would think that somebody would care enough to create a true Urban.


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