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It's your friendly neighborhood "Digital Drummer" again...smile
The Black Agenda Report (www. blackagendareport.com) has a good article on the decline of Black radio. Managing editor, Bruce Dixon points out how the corporatization of Black radio has silenced the voice of the Black community.
When the Tom Joyner Morning Show was pulled first from Chicago, and then from other markets early this month, Joyner counseled listeners that "...black radio will never be what it once was, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it."
This message of powerlessness and permanent defeat, of resignation to someone else, owning and controlling the black conversation, may be all we can expect from Joyner and the rest of the black elite.
But is it the real answer? Does it even address the crucial question of how we might have and own, our own black civic conversation? Dixon goes on to say; Community and democracy demand a steady diet of news to fuel civic engagement and public conversation in the public interest.
As the Black Agenda Report, pointed out all of six years ago in 'Who Killed Black Radio News,” the owners of commercial black media have for a generation enforced a no-news policy, justifying it with the unsupportable claim that all black people want is to be entertained."
The fact is that news is less profitable than 100% entertainment. PR firms and the celebrity industries provide their own “news” releases complete with commercial tie-ins, and already segmented to the age and income divided groups that marketers love. Black radio owners decided not to do news because corporate media has consciously decided not to recognize African Americans as a people or a polity with our own set of collective experience and political will.
In a media regime that lives and dies by advertising alone, black commercial radio will only recognize black communities as marketing contraptions, as audience segments whose ears and eyeballs it can deliver to sponsors. The owners and managers of commercial black radio and TV are not the least concerned about our past or future, our housing or health care crises, the black imprisonment rate or the digital divide or the education of our young or the dignified security of our elderly.
To them we are just a market, passive consumers to be sliced and diced according to marketing industry guidelines. A hip hop station, an oldies station, an easy listening urban station, a gospel station, all under the same ownership with no news on any of them, forever and ever, amen.
If this is what Joyner meant, and we think it was, when he described the current state of black commercial radio, he was right. Except the “forever' part. Except when he told fans '...there's absolutely nothing we can do about it.”
I recommend that anyone interested, or involved in, Black media read the full story to digest Bruce Dixon’s solutions and suggestions for the survival of Black radio (see http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/tom-joyner-steve-harvey-tavis-smiley-and-impoverishment-black-media)
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