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15 Apr 2010

CNN: A Lemon on Black Radio

Listed under: Blog


With an abundance of jilted news these days, it is hard to sort fact over fiction. A recent CNN feature on Black radio Don Lemon my favorite cable anchor appeared to be fact but with a closer look it was truly fiction.

Today we have all come to expect the slanted political agenda of Fox News and MSNBC, the two personality and opinion based cable news organizations. But when CNN, America’s number one network for people of color feeds us a stale factual bone, buyer beware. Cable news for me is kinda like a bad habit that I can’t kick. CNN for the most part minus the pundits walks the closest to straight line journalism. Don Lemon for me exudes passion, knowledge and professionalism on a daily basis but his recent Black radio story was as biased as Sean Hannity covering a Tea Party rally in The Villages of Central Florida.

Lemon’s CNN segment, asked the question if today’s radio personalities were Black America’s new civil rights leaders? WTF. I was amazed by the posturing of the piece and even more amazed by the softball line of questioning. Obviously, Don has spent a lot of time with his guest syndicated talker Michael Baisden and not say a Rickey Smiley to do a critical piece on Black radio.

The segment opened with a stop on the current 73 city Michael Baisden bus tour. Lemon and Baisden mentioned the great work that is occurring at each stop over the course of five months. One day in 73 cities over 5 months is exactly Black radio’s biggest problem!

The essence of Black radio has been lost by syndication. The 73 cities that Baisden serves use to have 73 afternoon shows that were tied to their communities. Local voices that shared local news and information. Mid term elections are near and over 300 urban cities are stifled with the same voices that include Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Baisden, Russ Parr and Rickey Smiley.

What CNN and Lemon failed to mention that no music format is syndicated more then Black radio. Black adults are 75 times more likely to hear the same music and host then there white counterparts. Then again stations that are geared to Black younger audiences are rarely syndicated but have no news and a music mix that screams “bitch” and “hoe” as often as Limbaugh screams “Obama”. It seems like Black radio has a problem but then again why should I expect any media outlet to examine it.

Black Radio has turned into corporate America’s testing ground for syndication. Cathy Hughes the Founder of the largest minority radio company Radio One, is rumored to adopt the “One Station for the Black Nation” format in 2011. (:))

Well Black America 3 promos should be kicking off any day now, maybe CNN will find out why Black radio has turned into one big jukebox that is far from the character of Malcolm or Martin.

Paul Porter

Industry Ears