Time: How Black Radio Found Its Voice
April 7, 2008 at 5:26 AM (PT)
TIME MAGAZINE writes this week that syndicated radio hosts like TOM JOYNER, BEV SMITH, MICHAEL BAISDEN and WARREN BALLENTINE and other African-American radio personalities are not only increasingly audible to a wider audience but visible and influential as well.
Says APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE correspondent for AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS, "My phone has been ringing off the hook with FOX NEWS and MSNBC wanting interviews with me. Black radio has always been here, covering the important issues from a black perspective, but it wasn't until BARACK OBAMA emerged as the first black man to prove himself to be a viable presidential candidate, that the mainstream media wanted to hear what we had to say. It's another example of how his candidacy has broken the mold."
For the first time the candidates are using black radio in a significant way.
"For the first time the candidates are using black radio in a significant way -- they used to make their black radio rounds during the week leading up to the NOVEMBER election and that was it," says REACH MEDIA syndicated TOM JOYNER. "The only time that ever came close was when JESSE [JACKSON] ran in 1984. This election is forcing the candidates to reach out to the black community and talk about issues that matter to us. We hope that this continues with future elections."
The fact that most black radio hosts, including BALLENTINE, BAISDEN and SMITH, disproportionately endorse OBAMA over CLINTON is not surprising, but some industry analysts, including ATLANTA-based Urban radio consultant HARRY LYLES, warn that the practice could potentially become problematic in the long run. "Black radio hosts need to be careful; he's running for President of the UNITED STATES, not president of black AMERICA," says LYLES. "They need to stimulate interest and intelligent discussion about the election, not just cheer on BARACK OBAMA. Being a cheerleader can be very dangerous."
Check out the full article here.