How N.Y. Urban Radio Dealt With Jackson's Passing
July 8, 2009 at 4:27 AM (PT)
"Radio's musical tribute to MICHAEL JACKSON, which continued through TUESDAY's memorial service, also has been illustrating where radio -- and black radio in particular -- has traveled from JACKSON's early career up through today and tomorrow," writes DAVID HINKLEY in NEW YORK's DAILY NEWS.
"On the air TUESDAY, INNER CITY Urban AC WBLS/NEW YORK led the chorus, carrying live audio from the memorial service. WBLS already had a MICHAEL day, multiple MICHAEL tributes and long format-breaking features like APRIL WOODARD and IMHOTEP GARY BYRD taking fans' calls for hours.
"WBLS wasn't alone, of course. EMMIS Urban AC WRKS (KISS 98.7) has also stayed hard on the story, and CUBBY BRYANT and CINDY VERO of CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40/R WKTU/NEW YORK hosted an hour-long special TUESDAY before the service. WKTU did an all-MICHAEL weekend, which PD ROB MILLER said brought "an incredible response."
"DASUN ALLAH, former editor-in-chief of THE SOURCE magazine and known best to radio audiences as DX 21 on the STAR and BUC WILD show, noted, "When 'Thriller" and "Bad" came out, NEW YORK had KISS-FM and WBLS for Urban listeners of all ages. But when later albums like "Invincible" came out, there was HOT 97, which produced a split in playlists. TODAY there's a compartmentalization of black radio that has divided listeners."
"MICHAEL's recent airplay on Urban radio was relegated to mix shows or sampled songs like KANYE WEST's 'Good Day,'" he points out. "There was the perception he was like the older rap artists, an LL COOL J or WU-TANG. They are classic and WU-TANG is forever, just not right now. It's like STEVIE WONDER will always be STEVIE WONDER, but [CLEAR CHANNEL Urban WWPR] POWER 105 isn't going to play him."
"What that doesn't mean, though, ALLAH says, is that JACKSON's music has been lost to younger listeners -- because of something else radio is well aware of, which is the mp3 revolution. 'It doesn't matter if HOT 97 is playing MICHAEL or not,' he says. 'The kids find him on MYSPACE, then go and get the downloads. My daughters know MICHAEL's and PRINCE's catalogue better than I do."