Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Paul Porter speaks truth to Black radio
It's not what Black radio wants to hear, but my friend Paul Porter, the man behind the media watchdog IndustryEars, is telling the truth:

For decades, Black America has been the victim of all kinds of media distortion. It doesn't take a keen eye to see the regression of images in the past twenty years, in the eighties Cosby was America's number one sitcom and twenty years later VH1's "Flavor of Love" held television's highest rated African American program. Historically, one critical form of communication – Black radio - was the antidote to that distortion, consistently standing as a reliable source of news, information and culture throughout local communities nationwide.

Unfortunately, Black radio is swiftly becoming part of the problem, not the solution. It began, of course, with black-owned stations losing their independent voices and turning into sterile corporate jukeboxes limiting both information and community access, while feeding us music that reinforced the same stereotypes that for decades radio helped to defeat.

Now the few surviving Black-owned radio stations are abusing their unique influence in the community to misinform listeners about the impact of a new Congressional bill designed to support the kind of independent, creative and positive musical artists we all have demanding.

Cathy Hughes, Founder of Radio One, as one example, has been leading the charge against HR 848, an act of legislation that Hughes charges will “end black radio.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

The facts on HR 848 are clear if you take the time to read them. Formally called The Performance Rights Act, the bill proposes what should be simple - paying performers royalties for radio airplay. Only the United States, North Korea and Iran don't pay royalties for performers on free AM/FM radio. Currently performers and recording owners are only paid in the States when their songs are played on satellite radio, cable stations and internet radio.

Songwriters and publishers continue to be paid by AM & FM radio. So why should the performers be excluded? ...

Read the rest here. It's Cathy Hughes' party and she can certainly cry all she wants to, but at the end of the day, she and other purveyors of what passes for "Black radio" these days have to take responsibility for where they find themselves. They can hardly count on the same black public they themselves have helped to "dumb down" to suddenly stand up and fight their members of Congress over this (or any other) bill. Hell, half the people listening to joke/sex rap radio probably don't know who their Congressmen are. Meanwhile, the positive images black communities are being fed aren't coming from Black radio or God forbid, from BET. They're coming from the top: the White House. That, I'm afraid, makes much of Black radio virtually irrelevant.

For more info, read "who killed Black radio?" right over here.

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