Sunday, November 08, 2009

The colossal failure of black radio in Charlotte N.C.

"Chatty Hattie" of WGIV radio - broadcasting in the 1950s and 1960s.

WQNC – FM (Q 92.7) was once called “The Peoples Station.” That was until last month when they scrapped their talk show format for “up-tempo music.” So with a turn of a dial, they dumped Rev. Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine from the format. It is no surprise that they kept The Tom Joyner morning show (i.e. he is still competitive in the ratings). Apparently the switch was one that has been a long time in the making. It seems that Q 92.7, or as it is called now My92, wants to appeal to the new radio rating system. Having more of a musical format apparently tracks better on this new system. Since these are “Urban Stations” we are talking about, then the listeners must be minorities. Particularly, these minorities must be overwhelmingly African American (or whatever they are calling us this week) in percentage. Does anyone else see what I’m saying here?? Okay maybe it’s just me? Are black radio stations telling us that blacks don’t want to listen to talk radio? If that’s the case, why did they raise hell in Atlanta when Rev. Al Sharpton was taken off the air? They eventually had to put him back on because of the complaining. I just assumed blacks threatened to burn down Atlanta like General Sherman did back in the day.

Sure you have the Joyners, Harveys and Baisdens but what about the local talk shows? Why are they relegated to early (O’ Dark O’ Clock) and Sundays before and during church. And what ever happened to radio that deals with political issues? I know these shows mostly lean “Left” but I did get valuable information from them. Does black radio only think black folks can be entertained through song and dance? This whole thing smells so “Minstrel Showish”. I wonder how many radio stations have dropped Rush Limbaugh because their listeners want more music and less talk. Limbaugh has a show on in damn near every state in the union (even the ones that want succession). Apparently his stations advertisers don’t have a problem with ratings. So what’s up with black folk?

I wonder what the “non-technology” black folks are going to do now. You know who I’m talking about. It’s your family member that doesn’t know the difference between a Mac and a PC. These folks have been listening to radio forever and have never heard of Blog Talk radio or on-line streaming. I don’t agree with everything that is discussed on black talk radio but I believe we need a voice. Everyone doesn’t want to listen to “Tardy for the Party.” The right to express opinions is one of our basic rights as Americans. Now we are beholding to corporations that run radio stations. I guess that is why people are on Blog Talk radio. They don’t want to be beholding to advertisers and ratings. Back in the day, black radio provided people with information on local & state Government issues. I know that most of the urban stations aren’t owned by us anyway. So I’m not that surprised with the events of last month. I guess in some ways this radio stuff was always a business. And when a business is failing they change up their business plan. I guess it’s like my frat brother told me one time. “If it doesn’t make dollars it don’t make sense.” I guess he might be right. It’s still a failure to me.


FreeMan said...

Our radio stations believe they don't have a big enough audience to offer a single format. Same Hustle is usually on our TV stations.

So we get news, traffic, weather, Rap, R&B, Jazz, gossip, gospel and overall fuckery. So they tried the all talk/gossip format out here in LA and that didn't work out so they came back with Rap and R&B and the hits of today and yesterday on our historically neighborhood station KDAY.

Radio is a hustle and they go with what works it truly takes a pioneer to make HGTV and realize there is enough of a following. So we get our politics from Steve Harvey our Morality from Baisen and our hope from Ricky Smiley. You just got a whole bunch of old heads at the top spot and they will switch to rock music if Lil Wayne Rock album does well.

There is no such thing as the people station but there is a station for the dummies who don't think!

uglyblackjohn said...

Has the station been bought by a national entity that seeks ratings (profits) before service?

The only way these stations are going to make it is by staying independent or by forming a national network of independents.

msladyDeborah said...

We have two radio One stations in our market now. The station that use to be "The Voice of the People" no longer exists. I don't listen to either one. Because I find that the programming is limited and often boring after awhile.

The urban station now has a talk show that is locally produced. It is called Street Soldier. I haven't listened to it. My oldest sons has told me that it is pretty interesting and it deals with issues.

I miss the local station a lot. It provided a great format and it also allowed people in the community to have an on the air type town hall. It was a great organizing tool within our community.

I guess there are some folks who think all we like to do is sing and dance.

Citizen Ojo said...

FreeMan - "So we get our politics from Steve Harvey our Morality from Baisen and our hope from Ricky Smiley." ha ha ha...Classic. I know you mentioned "old heads" at the top but what do these old heads look like. Are they black, white etc. I'm starting to think that the decisions are being made above our heads by other people with other intrests.

uglyblackjohn - many of these stations belong to the same "Corporate" company. I don't know of that many indies. Real good independents stations are college stations. They play a wide variety of music. And they give news too.

msladydeborah - Exactly what I was saying. Local shows provided info and let folks exchange ideas. It was a watercooler of sorts. "Street Soldier" sounds real militant. Who let that on the air? ha ha ha.

P.rofessional H.ater D.egree said...

Black Radio? That's an oxymoron, right? Like Black Entertainment Television that is owned by White Entertainment Companies! LOL

Listen here man, the days of people listening to the radio for talk are almost over. The major consumers of goods/products are tweens and teens. Not you Citizen Old Man. So that means they want ignorant music and club ads.

I HATE pretty much all the songs that come on these God awful stations and a large majority of the talking. "Racism this, bad hair that, Vick eats dogs blah, Yadda Obama Yadda Yadda, Black women need men yak yak yak..." Seems like not that much will be missed.

They should give me a show. I would HATE all day and HATE all night.

the uppity Negro said...

Well, they cut Al Sharpton and Ballentine back in the spring with no warning.

Honestly, Ballentine is fool proof that any fool can have a radio show--he's a detriment to black political thought in my own opinion. And my point was proven with his "go back to the porch" comment.

That being said, of course folks eat him up because he's totally reactionary and very surface--VERY surface in his analysis of political and social issues. Additionally, he's more than shown that he doesn't have a depth of the topics in which he tries to discuss on his show. I really don't listen to his show anymore.

And the Blu Phi stuff....well....not for this post, lol

But I rather enjoy Sharpton. Sharpton knows how to be quiet and let listeners call in and talk and if he doesn't know about a subject, he has a guest come in and sit with him, or better yet, he knows how to STFU and listen.

But still as it is now, these two are on AM talk radio out here in Atlanta, which isn't as good as FM stations.

I think its a greed thing. And it's prolly cheaper to play music and it's easier. I really think it's a water mentality: going to the path of least resistance. Music is fine but generally the music of today doesn't change thought patterns and influence action in quite the same way that a black talk radio show does.

Citizen Ojo said...

Uppity - yes Blue Phi.. not for this post. Yes the good Rev Al is getting wiser with age. He could teach Jesse a lesson about keeping his trap shut. My buddies in Atl don't like Ballentine. I never had a problem with the guy. I always thought for a Lawyer his vocabulary would be better but he has a following. But so does Glenn Beck....ha ha ha

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Are black radio stations telling us that blacks don’t want to listen to talk radio? If that’s the case, why did they raise hell in Atlanta when Rev. Al Sharpton was taken off the air? [/quote]


How is it, Ojo, that these Progressive Operatives can sit within cities that are Violent, have failing schools, and tepid economic activities and yet they are unable to do anything in particular to effectively get the "Local Democrats" to follow through with the campaign promises?

Instead ALL OF THESE SHOWS are "Obama Propaganda Transmitters". They logically argue that "As OBAMA/Democrats goes Black America".

Take a look at Roland Martin's show "Washignton Watch" on TV One today Ojo. Show me where the journalistic standards are?

Maybe the ratings of these talkshows are not high because they are so disconnected with the real world challenges facing our communities?

I find NPR/Bloomberg/CNBC on Sirius far more valuable than anything that I have heard on the Sold Out Local Black Talk radio stations in Atlanta. There are no surprises coming out of them.

Citizen Ojo said...

P.rofessional H.ater D.egree -

I better not catch you listening to anything that starts with "Power" "Q, K" or "Jamz" on the FM dial.

Citizen Ojo said...

Constructive Feedback -

MLK was progressive, so was he a progressive operative? The “progressive” word is flung around like some old wash cloth. “Progressive” helped black folks to obtain civil rights. “Progressive” helped women to obtain women’s rights. If not for “progressive” you wouldn’t have this soap box to complain on. Radio stations back in the day carried information on the civil rights movement. Were they operating back then with malice toward black folks? We might not like what black radio has morphed into. But lets not act like it was a dying beast that should have been put out of it’s misery along time ago.