December 9, 2011

Washington Post Columnist SLAMS Black Radio

A wake up call for the radio industry?

"...they (her children) are allowed to listen to the local Top-40 (white) pop station"

Farewell black radio

By Natalie Hopkinson

WASHINGTON POST I recently added D.C.’s two FM hip-hop radio stations--WPGC and WKYS--to the list of items banned in my house. I’ve long been tired of having to explain the latest raunchy R&B and hip-hop lyrics to my kids, and when I heard the radio ad for The Stadium (yeah, that strip club) for the umpteenth time, I realized that black radio is beyond redemption.

I clearly have nothing against strip clubs, but I’m bringing back the ghost of C. Delores Tucker because, bottom line, my children need to be allowed to be what they are: children. Because
at the tender ages of 8 and 11, they have a whole lifetime of gutter street talk, cursing and unsubtle sexual innuendo ahead of them. Because, if they keep getting exposed to this stuff now, going away to college will be anticlimactic.

But they are allowed to listen to the local Top-40 (white) pop station. For a hip-hop fan and certified race woman such as myself, that is the saddest thing to admit. Given the plethora of other choices, Pandora, to iTunes, or satellite radio, I shouldn’t be so bothered by black radio’s descent into the gutter.

But for generations, black radio has been a driving force of black culture and politics, the modern day drum for communities of African descent as William Barlow explains in “Voice Over: The Making of Black Radio.”

Giving up on black radio, which was so critical for giving an immigrant like me a window into race in America, feels like losing a friend. Read more at the Washington Post

-Perhaps Post columnist Natalie Hopkinson was not listening when local personality EZ Street of 93.9 WKYS featured Dr. Cornel West as a guest on his show.

Corporate radio usually "frowns upon" shows of this type. What type you might say? The ones in which are socially or politically issued driven with a measure of intelligent conversation. Their perception is that the typical urban radio listener is not interested in this type of programming even though they have rarely been exposed to it, right? But a full service radio station is the tradition from which today's heritage Black radio stations come from.

We do agree with Ms. Hopkinson, Black Radio or as it is now labeled, "Urban Radio" is at a crossroads. Urban radio stations that exclusively plays Hip Hop music do not generate the revenue it once did even though it has historically garnered as many listeners as other radio formats. In Black radio, it's Urban AC radio stations and their R&B and Classic Soul formats that are saving a lot of behinds and is putting food on the table for corporate radio companies.

...And now as for rappers, all you have to do is look at the number of sales on the music charts to figure out that outside of Drake and Lil Wayne; they aren't doing much more than "Olsen Twinning" it either.

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