Cumulus Media syndicated radio personality Micheal Baisden, not known for humility, has taken it upon himself to create a petition to move his syndicated radio show to WBLS-FM New York after it was ousted from WRKS-FM (98.7 Kiss) in the wake of ESPN’s takeover of the frequency this morning. Cogent points are made in Baisden’s open letter to his fans (see below), but this smacks of desperation.
Buffoonery Over Activism: Do we really prefer music and jokes over content?
After I received the devastating news on Thursday that 98.7 Kiss FM in New York was taking my show off and going to an all-sports format, I thought to myself: who is going to sound the alarm in New York when the next Jena 6 happens–or Trayvon Martin–or Presidential election? And who’s going to promote mentoring to save our children, and talk about domestic violence, and child molestation? When you come up with a radio personality’s name who can be trusted to consistently and passionately address these issues on mainstream FM radio, please let me know.
I don’t know about you, but I think we’re going down a dangerous path as African Americans, and as Americans in general, when we allow our voices to be silenced on FM radio while personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others continue to spew racist, divisive, and sexist language over hundreds of radio stations across the country. The public cannot be expected to act if they don’t know there is an emergency, they cannot march if they don’t know whose rights have been violated, and they cannot fight if they have been put to sleep by buffoonery and the repetitive recycling of what is often bad music.
Now, let me be clear, I have no problem with a radio station turning a profit; this is the advertising business after all. Our sponsors buy commercial time based on the ratings, but The Michael Baisden Show was the highest-rated afternoon urban adult program in New York at the time of this change. That’s a fact! And the show has been competitive in every book…or winning its time slot ever since I arrived at the station in 2003. How then do you explain every other show being moved to WBLS except this one? Is it personal or is there something more disturbing going on, a conscious effort to dumb down and silence any voice that uplifts and informs “The People?”
I have no desire to be the sore loser in this. If people prefer one programming to another, then you accept the outcome and keep it moving. But in these times of Republican policies that rob us of our voting rights and the legal system that is locking up more people of color than ever before, we cannot afford to have jokes and slow jams be at the center of our information outlets. Isn’t it funny that during one of the most critical times in our nation’s history, there are fewer African-American AM and FM shows giving information than ever before? What’s really going on, and more importantly, what can we do about it? Well, believe it or not, “The People” do have the power!