June 27, 2012

Black Media Groups Confront the FCC on the decline and demise of Black Radio

Black Radio's elder statesman is Herb Kent who still works weekends at
WVAZ  V103. He's been on the air for almost 70 years in Chicago. Long
gone are the days of 45's, cart machines, and DJ's creating their own
playlist, but does that mean the things that Black radio represent
should disappear also.  
A letter to the FCC states, “...what happened in New York City [the demise of 98.7 Kiss FM and the result of only one station, WBLS, geared towards African Americans 25-54] speaks to a much larger crisis plaguing black radio and the radio industry.” (Gospel Praise and Inspiration station 1190 WLIB AM is the only other one targeted towards African Americans in that age range.)

THE GRIO “Black radio, ownership and voices have been spiraling backwards since the Telecomm Act of 1996,” Paul Porter, the co-founder of media watchdog Industry Ears told theGrio. “It’s time for the FCC to take a serious look and right the wrong of the muted mess we call Black radio today.”

“Regardless of media consolidation, whites have the entire political and social spectrum on their radio dial — from Pacifica to Rush, with NPR and all-news radio in the middle,” said Todd Steven Burroughs, a lecturer in the Communication Studies Department at Morgan State University, and a signatory to the FCC letter. “Historically, a black radio station had to fulfill all of the functions Black people needed — educator, motivator, activist, spiritual uplift. What we have now — a (mostly white) corporate abandonment of those ideas — is bad enough. But not to have it at all in the nation’s biggest, most powerful, and politically and culturally blackest market [New York] will show how black communities once again have been given symbolism instead of substance in the Obama era.”

Read the full article at The Grio website

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