The Challenges of Black Radio.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Recent changes at some local black-oriented radio stations have listeners wondering how will their lives be affected and how much true and vital information will they receive?
The African-American community is again at risk of being divided, marginalized and deceived by some black talk show hosts and others who do not have the best interests of our community at heart. Because a person is of African ancestry does not particularly suggest that they love or care for their race.
Black radio has transcended many fazes. From the pioneering days of Jack L. Cooper, Al Benson, Wiley Price and Spider Burk to a serious, tangible medium, yet there are still many fundamental and critical problems to confront and overcome.
I have recently been participating in conference calls with former national talk show host Bob Law, with such scholars as Sonja Sanchez, Maulana Karenga, Haki Madhubuti, Gary Byrd, Walter Beach, Walter Lomax, Leonard Dunston, Kenny Gamble and Sara Lomax-Reese. Everyone agreed that it is essential that we start talking about reclaiming black economic and political power.
The participants came to a consensus that activist organizations in the network should present community forums on the importance of black dollars and the need to use our dollars to influence political and corporate policy. Dr. Karenga made it clear that there are two levels of responsibility: corporate responsibility and community responsibility. He illustrated that too often blacks are assigned responsibility while the oppressive system is not held accountable, and noted that three areas must frame our conversations: recognition, respect and responsibility.
We must recognize our value as a people, the value of our money, our votes and our contributions to the world as well as to America. Blacks are due high regard and equal treatment; we must be respected. The well being of our families and community is our responsibility, but often that includes holding others responsible for their actions and policies.
In February 2013, I would like to ask black people to celebrate Black History Month by making history and launching a campaign to redirect black and corporate dollars back into the black community, black-owned media and black businesses.
We do not own many media outlets, but what we can be is more responsive. We must counter the hate radio movement with programs that provide useful and helpful information.
We have announcers such as Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden and Ricky Smiley with programs that keep us entertained, and there is Bev Smith, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tavis Smiley, Joe Madison, Warren Ballentine and others who understand the powerful role of urban radio.
They know conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Herman Cain, Neal Boortz and Don Imus, all hate radio personalities, dominate talk radio with the backing of white conservative millionaires, but we must get our message to the people.
We should be motivated to promote self-esteem in the African-American community through information and affirmations by persons we can trust who desire to better the community.
Black radio has its challenges, and you must decide who our true leaders are and who the false prophets are. Through our radio programs we should develop positive alternatives for negative or violent behaviors, and it is imperative that we reveal facts to an informed electorate. We must hold our on-air personalities accountable.
Who will be our future communicators and what messages will they deliver? What will the new generation of black announcers promote? What will the next creation be? It is all up to you.
Written By Bernie Hayes