Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Loss of Local Flavor in Black Radio

The Washington Post did a good article the other day:

'Talk,' in the Past Tense: Why There Are No More Petey Greenes on Local Radio

The article's beginning point is the late Activist/Disc Jockey known as Petey Greene. His rise on Black Talk Radio has been shown in the film Talk To Me, with Don Cheadle in the starring role. The movie is wonderful in showing how Mr. Greene took his talent in connecting with the people and used it in a positive way to benefit the community.

This article was brought home to me from personnel changes in my own hometown. A DJ that had been here for years, who, in the Number THREE Market in the country, during the MORNING DRIVE, had achieved a NUMBER THREE RATING - was just FIRED.

Fired.

And replaced by whom?

Steve Harvey.

Was Harvey in the Top 10 of ratings for the Morning Drive in my city?

No.

Was Harvey in the Top 10 of ratings for the Morning Drive in my city?

No.

What was Havey's rating in the Morning Drive in my city?

28.

That's right, I said TWENTY-EIGHT.

They replaced a man who had achieved a NUMBER THREE rating in that timeslot with someone who was TWENTY-EIGHT.

In this rush for media consolidation, one of the casualties of this is the loss of local flavor on the radio. Of the DJ who is part entertainer, part activist who took on local issues and rallied the community. In its place is a syndicated talk show talking in generic terms, taking away the focus from the local grassroots.

So, what's the gameplan? That the local DJ who earned the ratings, what, just got them because of the station? That it had nothing to do with HIS talent or what he brought to the table? That you can just put in 'Any Black Man', and they'll get the same ratings? That's just offensive. We're losing the flavor and the foundation for the fight on the airwaves.

1 comment:

The Angry Independent said...

Welcome Back Rikyrah!

And yes.. Black radio is in bad shape. They have turned it into a cookie cutter brand.

I remember growing up hearing the unique personalities on the radio, and the stations were much more responsive to the community.

Everything is becoming more syndicated now.... a program that you hear may be broadcasting from halfway across the country. And what gets lost in this kind of system is- what is happening down the street or in this neighborhood or that neighborhood or in that school in your own community.

And it's bad enough that the music being created and pushed by record companies today is of the cookie-cutter variety, where everything sounds the same... but you have the DJ's playing the same 10-20 tracks over and over again.

That's why I stopped listening to commercial radio a long time ago, especially Black radio. They have nothing that I want.

When I do listen to the radio I primarily listen to Public radio and jazz programs. I also listen to a lot of internet based radio.