October 7, 2009

Rob Redding talks about Talk Radio

Rob Redding talks about being in the program director's chair at Monroe, Louisiana's KMLB "Talk 540" and his approach to balanced programming that includes Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

You've moved into programming; how did that move come about? Is it something you've aspired to do or something that came up in some other way?

Celebrating 15 years in radio in November, I can say I have never made the mistake of thinking that programming would be easy or have said it was something that I have always wanted to do. Still, when Bob Holladay, KMLB's owner, confirmed that the station's former program director was taking a job with a television station and offered me the PD job at his heritage station of 79 years I could not turn down the opportunity. I was aware that few blacks -- if any -- hold the position at a mainstream conservative talk radio station.....

You're a rarity, an African-American PD at a mainstream talk station. Why do you think that there are so few minority PDs in talk radio? Why aren't there more minority hosts in the format as well?

Blacks are a rarity in mainstream radio because mainstreams have not sought out blacks, which discourages many blacks from seeking out mainstream stations. My first job in talk radio was supposed to be at a mainstream station a few years ago, and, once I moved into town, I was told that I was too black for the job....

You're an independent in a field in which everyone tends to identify with one side or another. How does that play into your thoughts on programming? Do you look for balance or are you "playing the hits" of one side or another?

My being an independent has no bearing on how I program KMLB. I position the station as the heritage station with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity - the winning talk radio combination. My syndicated news program, RNR, is as balanced as it gets on KMLB.....

Including the shows you have on the station right now, what syndicated shows are your favorites? What's good radio to you?

I enjoy Moon Griffon's show. He represents the average angry white guy who pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He is syndicated on 13 great radio stations and KMLB is honored to be his flagship. I am obviously not a white guy, but I think he is successful because he is the voice of the angry southern white male who does not have an authentic figure in talk radio outside of him.....

You've been at the vanguard of Internet news sites and you've done radio and worked for newspapers; where do you see the news media in ten years? What will become of "old media" like papers and radio? How will journalists get paid?

First, radio will be around for a while to come, as long as we push the jump to new media platforms like the iPod. Second, newspaper journalists will not get paid anything above pennies unless they revise their model of what it is to be a journalist in 2009's Internet age. Journalists have to get back to being feisty freelance investigators who see the Web as an asset and not an assault to their profession...

Your syndicated show continues to grow; what niche does the show address in the crowded radio marketplace? What's the show all about?

Redding News Review is a provocative independent news and comment show that has mass appeal and can also be considered in the realm of black talk radio - because I am black. Most of our listeners are a 50/50 split between whites and blacks. Currently, the show deals with the fact that there is an overrepresentation of white guys in mainstream talk radio telling people what they think about the nation's first black president and a growing nation of color. Frankly, it helps to have a black guy like me, who is not a sellout, in your stable of syndicated talk talent that can dissect what is going on in a bizarre political and social climate. As America's Independent Voice, you can tell right away by listening to my show that I have never met a politician that I like. Partisans who call in with their same tired political rhetoric and ideological doldrums find themselves hopscotching across the airwaves away from my whip -- yes, I have a whip which I use to whip callers of all colors off their political and ideological plantations. Let me let you in on a secret: You have not lived until you have heard a black guy on the radio whipping a white guy off the radio....

Rob Redding is a syndicated host and programs radio station Talk 540 online at kmlb.com and provides African American news on the web at Redding News Review.

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