April 20, 2010

Cathy Hughes' "One Station for the Black Nation"

Cross promotion is a must in the world of Radio One, including promoting upcoming "booty jumps" on TV One during Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference like... this.

There's no secret that Radio One looks at Clear Channel as the business model of success when it comes to media.

Even though Clear Channel is having financial difficulties, Radio One is hellbent on becoming a media conglomerate like Clear Channel. It's syndication come hell or high water.

Many say they are well on their way with the many companies they own that distributes content throughout the country.

Radio One's television presence comes through TV One. On the Internet, there is Black Planet, websites for their various radio stations, along with other websites such as Giant, NewsOne, Hello Beautiful! and The Urban Daily. But their bread and butter is radio.

In radio, they are quickly becoming the only source of African American news and information. Each morning they bring you The Tom Joyner Morning Show, which they have a majority owner stake in through Reach Media. They syndicate Yolanda Adams, Rickey Smiley, and Russ Parr morning shows also to urban radio. On talk radio Warren Ballentine and Rev. Al Sharpton shows are heard on many stations across the country.

The only thing that Radio One has not been able to do is have radio ownership in the top two radio markets (New York and Los Angeles) and sign on with Michael Baisden. But if Baisden ever left Citadel we know Radio One would be on the his doorstep.

But everywhere else from Houston to Dallas to Detroit and from Philly to D.C.; there they are. So is there danger in the media monopoly that Radio One is building with African American listeners? (In most cities, if African Americans aren't listening to a Radio One station then they are listening to a Clear Channel urban formatted radio station.)

Some may say yes there is a danger in a monolithic view as witness by the information presented to the public via the airwaves of Radio One in regards to the Performance Royalty Act. Cathy Hughes has convinced many that if the performance act passes in Congress, it will mean the end of Black Radio. That has yet to be determined... but where can listeners hear a view that favors the artists that created the music radio plays everyday.

As far as politics goes, it seems that Al Sharpton's views have become Radio One's views nationally. Which means that ultimately the Democratic Party via Sharpton becomes the agenda for Black America. There is no room for an independent discussions on Radio One stations. Although Radio One's local DC talker 1450 WOL provides a well balanced lineup with morning host Joe Madison and afternoon host Bernie McCain.

This issue regarding Radio One's influence is explored in a blog by Paul Porter on the media watchdog site Industry Ears.com. In his blog Porter examines a real WTF question posed by CNN's Don Lemon on a recent broadcast: "Are today’s radio personalities Black America’s new civil rights leaders?

Read Paul Porter's blog here.

We credit Porter with coming up with the apropos phrase "One Station for the Black Nation." Is it a format we're ready for...

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