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March 29, 2011

Will Population Changes Mean Radio Formats and Music Charts Have to Change Too?

“The black urban experience has essentially lost its appeal with blacks in America.” - NYTimes Article.

What happens when "Urban" can no longer be used as a code word for Black people? ...When George Clinton's 1975 album Chocolate City can no longer be true for many cities like Washington, D.C. because the trend suggest that Blacks are moving out of the inner cities and affluent whites are moving in? Maybe we should change the name of this blog to Rural Radio Nation.

Two recent articles explored the population shift that is going on in many cities in the United States that include Detroit, Chicago, and New York City as well as D.C. The 2010 census numbers show that Whites are moving into so-called "urban" areas for newer condominium and apartment complexes, while Blacks are vacating cities for rural areas. Not only are African Americans moving out of Northern cities, but population changes are also occurring inside the city limits of places like Atlanta as well. Although the suburban counties surrounding Atlanta have seen a tremendous rise in their Black population. The prospect that Washington, D.C. and Atlanta will elect White mayors within the next decade is a real possibility.

This topic was brought up by Big Tigger and his producers on the Big Tigger Morning Show on 95.5 WPGC and via twitter the other day. Some of the tweets included: "Chocolate City is now the Emerald City. You gotta have that Green to stay here." ..."Chocolate City becoming less & less is a good thing its nice 2 have a variety."..." Thats good DC needs more diversity"..."@BigTiggerShow not in the Southside!..We Chocolate Wasted over here!"

So that brings about the idea that radio and music charts geared towards and reflect African Americans musical taste can no longer be called "Urban" or "Urban AC" in the near future. That is if we think of "urban" meaning "city" in it's more traditional definition. It's probably time to come up with a new name when more and more Blacks, for whatever reason; be it for plain economic reasons or forced gentrification reasons, are moving to the outline areas of major cities.

Now as far as how this population shift will effect radio formats geared towards African American audiences; it most likely means Urban AC stations and Urban/Hip Hop stations will be reduced to one per city or be cut out completely as has already been done in Pittsburgh and Boston. (There is one daytime AM talk station in Boston) It will be interesting to see how the future of Urban radio will play out as African American populations leave for "so-called" greener pastures in the South even though the grass, in fact, is not greener on the other side.

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