Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Many Challenges of Black Radio!

January 3, 2013  
BH 427

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. Because a person is of African ancestry does not particularly suggest that they have the love or caring 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 thought-provoking fundamental and critical problems to confront and overcome.

I have recently been participating on a series of 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, Sara Lomax-Reese and other programmers and announcers.

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. Also 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: Recognize our value as a people, the value of our money, our votes and our contributions to the world as well as to America.

Respect: Blacks are due high regard and equal treatment. We must be respected.

Responsibility: The well being of our families and community is our responsibility, but often that includes holding others responsible for their actions and policies as well.  In February 2013, I would like to ask Black people to celebrate Black History month by making history, launching the campaign to redirect Black and corporate dollars back into the Black community, into Black owned media and into 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 to a people who are pleading for truth and knowledge.

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 other men and women of African ancestry 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 of whom are sometimes referred to as hate radio personalities, dominate America's talk radio with the backing of white conservative millionaires, but we must get our message to the people. It is up to us to educate and provide quality information to our listeners.

These conservative radio hosts discuss negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people, especially our readers and listeners, and it forces us to reconsider our perceptions of and attitudes towards the working class. It also shows us how class in the United States is complexly and inextricably bound to race, gender, and sexuality.

We should be motivated to promote self-esteem in the African American community through information and affirmations by persons we can trust, and who are not looking for self promotion, but 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 true facts to an informed electorate. We must hold our air personalities accountable. We must demand true and factual information from people we trust.

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. You have the power to select.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:  HYPERLINK "mailto:berhay@swbell.net" berhay@swbell.net.

Happy New Year!
Be Ever Wonderful!

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