Welcome to Soul-Patrol Newsletter:We have been discussing the absolute FAILURE of so called Black Radio here on Soul-Patrol for many years. Black radio has traditionally been one of the few unifying entities that we have had at our disposal in the ongoing freedom struggle of Black Americans. In fact it used to be one of the cornerstones of Black pride. We feel that modern day Black (knee-gro) radio has gone down a slippery slope, to the point where it is one of the most negative influences on Black American life and provides great comfort to our enimies. We think that it's time for responsible Black Owned media to stand up and make a change and that is what this issue of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter is all about....
As such we know that the kind of change that we are looking for will not happen overnight. We don't think that it's going to be a revolution, but instead it's going to be an evolution. With that thought in mind we are proposing a modest programing change for Black radio. We think that they should give some consideration to devoting three hours per day to playing and discussing NEW MUSIC along the following lines:
NEW RELEASES FROM ESTABLISHED ARTISTS LIKE:
Clarence Burke Jr, Eddie Holman, Soul Generation, Manhattans, Persuaders, Vernon Reid, Buddy Miles, Martha Reeves, New Birth, Bar-Kay's/Chuck D, Jimmie Castor, Eloise Laws, Bobbi Humphrey, Legendary Escorts, Candi Staton, Delfonics, Barbara Mason, Mandrill, Earth, Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Average White Band, Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Bettye LaVette, Dells, Wilson Pickett, Ann Peebles, Hubert Laws, Vince Montana, etc.
NEW RELEASES FROM YET TO BE ESTABLISHED ARTISTS LIKE:
Dean Francis, Rio Soul, Sonny Boy, Will Wheaton, Oscar Jordan, Marlon Saunders, D-Erania, Kne-O'Chaw Hampton, Oktoberworld, Ascendant, Waldo Weathers, Julie Dexter, Tricky Dillema, Louise Perryman, Paris Ford, Jimy Bleu, Jazzhole, Afroskull, Stozo Da Clown, Martha Redbone, Carlton Smith, Da Phatfunk Clique, SounDoctrine, Shelley Nichole's blakBushe', Robert Baldwin, Unified Tribe, Fertile Ground, Alison Crockett, etc.
We call this radio format "Uplift Black America" and to those of you who have been following Soul-Patrol it's basicly the same thing that we have been calling: Great Black Music From The Ancient To The Future". We think that it's time for commercial Black Radio to start taking some baby steps in this direction before they are completely out of the game! We also don't just want to be critics, standing on the sidelines whining/criticizing the radio industry. We want to be pro-active by offering up our own resources in assisting others to make this happen and our first stop is Cathy Hughes/Radio One.
Let us know what YOU think???
Soul-Patrol Newsletter Headlines (11/29/2004)
1. An Open Letter To Cathy Hughes (UPLIFT BLACK AMERICA???)
2. Commentary: What Can We Do As Music Fans???
3. Why Cathy Hughes/Radio One??
4. Reaction To The Open Letter From Artists/Music Industry
5. UK Broadcaster Implements "Uplift Black America" Format
1. An Open Letter To Cathy Hughes (UPLIFT BLACK AMERICA???)
Radio One to Buy Reach Media Stake
11.22.2004, 12:05 PM
Broadcast company Radio One Inc. on Monday said it agreed to buy 51 percent of privately held Reach Media Inc. for about $56.1 million in cash and Radio One stock - adding the hit "Tom Joyner Morning Show" program to its properties.
The deal is expected to close in January. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed in a press release.
Reach Media was founded two years ago by radio personality Tom Joyner and David Kantor, both of whom will receive about half of their share of the purchase price in Radio One Class D stock and will continue to own significant stakes in Reach. Also, Joyner and Kantor will each sign a new 10-year employment agreement with the company.
Reach expects to post fiscal 2005 revenue of $50 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $12.5 million, the company said. Radio One posted 2003 net broadcast revenue of $303.2 million.
More than 8 million people listen to the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" weekly on 115 affiliate stations across the United States. It is the top morning show in many of its markets, the company said.
Radio One shares fell 17 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $13.11 on the Nasdaq in morning trading.
There are some people who think that Soul-Patrol should be a big supporter of Cathy Hughes. After all, she is the owner of the nation's largest Black owned radio network (with 69 stations in 22 cities). That network is growing larger each day and she is to be commended for having accomplished that. The story of Cathy Hughes is an American sucess story.
However we can't in good conscience support her radio operations as currently configured. It is my personal belief that her current programming policies have actually set the freedom movement of Black Americans back by about 40 years.
I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that perhaps she may not even realize that the overall net effect of what she has been doing in pursuit of more profits, has been to set back most if not all of the advances that our people have made over the past 50 years. It is in that spirit that I would like to propose a few concrete suggestions for Cathy Hughes that could help to reverse this trend. My belief is that the pursuit of these ideas could well position Cathy Hughes to become one of the heroes of OUR freedom movement.
There are in fact 24 hours in the broadcast day. I would propose that a 3 hour block of time (just a little more than 10 percent of the broadcast day) be devoted to the following format called:
:::UPLIFT BLACK AMERICA :::
This format would be composed of three distinct elements....
1. New music from our legends of the past
2. New music from younger artists that is directly influenced by past legends
3. Relevant information about both of the above
A revolving crew of experienced radio would pull these three elements together
personalities (ex: Kevin Amos - Pittsburgh, Gary Tyson - Chicago, Will Chill - New Jersey, Tony Ryan - NYC, etc). In every major city there are experienced radio hosts like the ones I have mentioned and others (operating mostly on college & community radio stations) who have existing formats of this type to draw upon. They know how to sift thru the vast amount of new recordings that are released each day and present to the audience the very best of it! Finding radio announcers for this would actually be the easy part.
Making the commitment to the idea is more difficult, but I think that full blown support from Soul-Patrol can help to make committing to the idea work for you from BOTH a business/cultural perspective.
We have now reached the point in our history where it is up to US to define our future. Black America is quickly moving towards a future that has much more in common with the dream of Jerry Springer (as we have seen from watching the news last week), than it does with the dreams of Martin Luther King.
As Bill Cosby has pointed out to us, we in fact have at our disposal the ways and means to change this situation if we want to. Cathy, people like yourself are well positioned to be at the vanguard of making that change into a reality. By establishing a radio format that establishes a DIRECT connection between the past, present and future of Black Culture in a positive manner you will be recognized as an innovator with an eye on the future. Heck, even white people would listen to such a format!
This can be accomplished easily, with very little risk to you and without any significant modification of your existing money making machine.
Imagine, just THREE HOURS PER DAY. Heck, I wouldn't mind if you chose to broadcast this block of time from 3 am - 6am. I'm quite sure that advertisers could be found that would support such a format. And in fact if you were willing to commit to programming THREE HOURS PER DAY, on your vast & influential radio network in this manner, here is what I would be willing to commit to:
- I WOULD PERSONALLY OFFER TO HELP YOU TO FIND SUCH ADVERTISERS
- PLACE ALL OF THE RESOURCES I HAVE AVAILABLE TO MAKING THAT 3 HOUR BLOCK OF TIME AS PROFITABLE FOR YOU AS POSSIBLE
I would do this because it is just that important to me that Black Americans themselves be willing to start assuming the RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY for defining not only their history, but their future.
That's why I am approaching you with this idea. Keep in mind; I am NOT talking about playing "oldies". I'm talking about playing "new music", that reaches back our history to and extends those accomplishments into the future...
Cathy, I am a pragmatist, not an idealist and I realize that you are in business to make money. So I am willing to take whatever resources that I have available to me to help you to maximize your profits. So I'm willing to help you to do just that and I'm willing to do so at no charge to you. You see I don't want you to consider doing this for reasons of altruism, commitment to Black culture or any other reason other than to put more money into your own pockets.
You are in business and your number one commitment should always be to your shareholders. Your recent move to acquire the Tom Joyner family of properties does not seem to be one that is in the best interest of your shareholders.
"RADIO ONE SHARES FELL 17 CENTS, OR 1.3 PERCENT, TO $13.11 ON THE NASDAQ IN MORNING TRADING..."
I think that pursuit of an idea similar to what I have outlined here makes sense and would enable you to:
:::"kill two birds with one stone":::
You would be able to establish a legacy that not only would be applauded by Black Americans, but one that Wall Street investors would also get behind in a tangible manner.
Please consider this idea. I would love to be able to support you and your media operations, in a manner that make us both proud. That would be a natural thing for Soul-Patrol to be able to do.
My apologies in advance for using this method to propose this idea, however it's the only method that I currently have available and this is something that Soul-Patrol members have been asking me about for a number of years.
Feel free to email me with a reply, I would truly like to establish a dialogue with you with respect to this matter.
Additional contact information may be found at the following link:
Bob Davis & Soul-Patrol
Thanks in advance for your consideration and have a Happy Thanksgiving...
NP: "Be Thankful For What You Got"
2. Commentary: What Can We Do As Music Fans???
I just saw your "open letter" posted in today's edition of the EUR. As of now, there are 30-some-odd comments on the article, posted on that site. I scanned through them. Some folks "get it" (especially PlanetRock) others don't, and (still) others seem to have mixed reactions/feelings. But, nevertheless, the open letter has generated
some decent conversation over there. And, THAT is significant. If you follow the EUR, and read some of the comments made on various articles posted there, as I do, then you might know what I mean ;)...
:Hopefully Cathy Hughes will be willing to discuss some of these ideas?
I sure hope so... As some of the posters on the EUR (in response to that article) mentioned, she needs to pay attention to how many folks in the black community REALLY feel about the programming on commercial "black" radio, these days. Perhaps, if more of us spoke up/out, "showed up and showed out" (too), in the manner in which you have, Bob (but, in our own individual ways), and, then, put action (not
RE-action) behind it, then we would see REAL change, here.
I don't know all of the details/the "ins and outs"/etc. about the radio business. But, one thing that I DO know is that commercial radio seems to be fueled by ratings and revenue. You take that away, with folks opting OUT of both, by not listening and/or boycotting their advertisers (en masse), and, then, I believe that you hit 'em where it hurts - their "bottom line", so to speak.
*I* am very fortunate, living here in Chicago, where I do have REAL alternatives to commercial "black" radio, as a listener and music lover. I've spoken about this situation quite often, here on the Soul-Patrol, off and on. We have great college / non-commercial / independent /community, as well as NPR radio outlets here in this area. And, we have Soul Patroller Gary Tyson, holdin' it down on WHPK. We, here in Chi, are truly blessed, as a result :)...
But, as I've learned, NOT EVERYONE has that kind of freedom of choice, across this country. And, I don't think it's fair. As a matter of fact, *I* find this situation to be immoral. IMHO, it's high time that the "big dogs" in commercial "black" radio (who ARE black) consider and respect listeners in a REAL and purposeful manner, if only to better serve their communities in a meaningful and TRULY inclusive way. They SHOULD be "called out", especially by those of us who are NEVER polled WRT their ratings, via phone calls, emails, letters, etc. One size does NOT (apparently) "fit all", in this case...
At any rate, Bob, I hope that Cathy Hughes reads your open letter, and that she considers what you said/wrote, responding accordingly.
I totally agree with you on this score, Bob. From what I understand, commercial radio strives/survives/gets into "major player status" (or NOT), mainly on ratings (measurements of listener ship) and revenue (e.g., advertising). If folks en masse stop listening to these stations AND stop buying/supporting the products they sell, the
concerts they promote, etc., I am sure that set of actions, alone, would send a message that the PTB would hear, loud and clear - one that would hit 'em in their "pocketbooks" - their bottom line. AND, if many of the SAME folks would also write to/call in to their stations, to express their reasons why they're choosing NOT to listen, then that would serve to "sweeten the deal", even more.
To me, it all seems so simple, and I would LOVE to see a revolution of this sort happen. Yet, unfortunately, the execution of said actions, resulting in a mass movement from consumers, seem to be easier said than done. As you said, Bob, in so many words, many of us are, indeed, creatures of habit. In addition, many of us are so used to being told what to do, how to think, what to believe, who/what is "hot", "superior", a "hit" (in terms of popular music), etc., to the point where, as a result, we've allowed these powerhouse entities - corporations - to virtually run our own lives. All things considered, this is/has been a BIG hurdle to jump over/overcome...
There is MUCH work to do, individually & collectively, for us - those who are interested parties who are passionate about this issue. Many of us are doing what we can, on our own. But, we've gotta keep on keepin' on, educating others as best we can - if only to un-do the "miseducation" that has taken place, thus far... *I* applaud all of the DJ's here, and elsewhere, who've used their (relatively) few hours on-air in their radio shows to play/promote REAL alternatives in music. I believe that a change is gonna come, sooner or later. But, we've got to keep on putting up a fight. Nowadays, though, I think we're gonna have to get more organized and SERIOUS about it... "Each one teach one..."... Hey, everyone (who is interested) can serve...
That was my rant for today, folks :)... Thanks for listening, if you did ;)...
3. Why Cathy Hughes/Radio One??
One of the things that I occasionally get criticized for is being unwilling to work with "knee-gro" media. In some respects this is true, I largely consider them to be roughly equivalent to the old slavery concept of "overseer's". They are allowed to exist because they serve a very vital function in the larger scheme of things, because they serve the purpose of "keeping the darkies under control". In today's world as in the past, the "knee-gro" media outlets do a very effective job of performing that function. And in Amerikkka, that is a very important function.
Currently in 2004, Cathy Hughes is probably the single most powerful "knee-gro" media owner. My purpose in writing the letter was to see if indeed by bringing this issue up, if she would be willing to have a conversation about the reasons why (or why not) that some change in the current situation might be needed.
I realize that a radio station is a business and it must generate revenue in order to exist.
The revenue comes via two sources
* Direct User Payments (Payola which despite the commonly held notion is actually 100 percent legal)
Both sources of revenue are largely dictated by ratings. As long as ratings are high, then the radio station will prosper and stay on the air. The longer that the radio station stays on the air, the longer it will be in a position to collect money from advertising and payola.
Traditionally Black radio has been able to maximize revenues mostly because they have a "captive audience" of people who have proven that they will listen to the radio station, even if it doesn't seem to serve their best interests. Because it's a kind of built in money machine, owners of these stations are reluctant to tinker with things like "format".
The reason why my comments are directed at her is that I feel that the idea is one that she needs to implement for her own survival. I foresee a time in the not to distant future where one or more white owned media entities (ex: AOL, Clear Channel, BET, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc) will indeed implement a format along the lines of what I have suggested. When that happens, Cathy Hughes won't be able to compete because her "captive audience" will then be split up. This would mean that her ability to attract advertisers and "direct user payments" (payola) will become greatly diminished. The end result is that her radio operations would be consumed into some larger (white owned???) entity.
I suspect that she doesn't see this much larger picture or if she does, perhaps that is what her end goal actually is?
As always, despite some critics, my objective remains the same.
I want to support Black Owned Business.
I want to see them not only survive, but also to flourish.
For Black Americans if we don't own our own businesses, then we simply aren't going to ever make it in this country. Cathy Hughes may not care about that. But I do...and I am trying to be an "activist" about it...
4. Reaction To The Open Letter
The "Open Letter To Cathy Hughes was sent out on 11/26/04. As of today 11/28/04 I have gotten a TON of telephone calls and emails from many artists, radio people, publicists and just plain folk (Like Debra) with ideas, suggestions and more. Here are a few of them
A Motown Superstar:
I have read your email to Cathy Hughes and I agree with you a hundred percent...so many of our people buy into the other way of getting ahead and in the end we the public for get about our heroes, our advances, look at the recording industry it no longer exists. Most of our artists cannot even get a recording deal, we bow down to the big artist from across the pond, while our own become oldies (Sir Paul, Sir Elton etc.). I am glad that some one recognizes what is happening, that the powers that be who ever they are, have put the black artist out to pasture. There is so much more, take the fake groups who are now taking gigs from the real legendary artist.
An East Coast Music Publisher:
Only you could come up with such a brilliant recommendation. If Ms. Hughes will consider the "three hour" plan, only you could make it work to the maximum benefit of "Uplifting Black People." What a chance it would be to advise heirs of their rights and to start a clearinghouse for information on how to proceed to get them. We should not rest until some of our "generational" money is in the hands of our people. Again I say: Music is one of America's largest exports and much of it is Black Music, Past and Present. Bob there must be a transfer of some of the music wealth into the hands of those who made the music. If we as a people don't understand how generational wealth can change the destiny of a family, just read the Heinz-Kerry story. Three hours of public service time would not be too much to hope for and it could boost listener ratings significantly. Keep at it fellow traveler, I am grateful for your leadership.
A Midwest Gospel Music Artist:
Bob - How can I help - I agree 100% - though I have limited financial resources, I still would like to be involved….I'll await your suggestions.
A Black Internet Pioneer:
I, along with others, believe in the same values when it comes to the growth of African-American ingenuity. We have opportunity, and accessibility to those that are in power, we should use it!
My personal opinion is that it's not Cathy's fault she is running her business in the manner that she can make money the best. I think it's OUR fault for not calling, emailing, US postal, and publicly addressing the issues you've brought to our attention. The reality is that older AA's are not a major part of the buying public in America music industry. "Generation Hip Hop (Gen H2)" buys more, spends more, and even watches more entertainment TV than Babyboomers, and WW2 babies put together. They buy more CD, DVD's and MP3's than the older generations have. This is a capitalistic nation. We as a people have gone from "Let my people go" to "Where are the Benjamin's!"
Case in point .....Answer this question .... When was the last time you bought a CD? ....or this question .... Can you count on 1 hand how many CD's you've bought within the last year?
Most "BB's" (Babyboomers) would say 1 to none ... on the first question, and less than 5 on the second question. I think your comment on this issue should motivate and stimulate conversation, but will it motivate ACTION! You have enough people on your list of subscribers to motivate action.
Those of us as leaders (email mailing list owners) in our own genre should stimulate the drive to act upon the issues you've addressed; rather than sit on our computers and TALK about it.
Rally your people (our people), and become one voice! Call Cathy.... get a number on the company, and pester the hell out of her. Let her know you want action, and you have enough fire to make her want to take action. Don't be a complaining leader that is all lip and little action! You have the power to make things happen. Just as I do, just as Lee Bailey (EUR) does, and all the other sources that have followers on their email mailing lists. A hundred consumers here ... a thousand consumers from there ... will make a huge difference in what Radio One listens to.
If the only people that are calling in are Gen H2, then that's all they would be oblige to listen to. But, on the other hand, if folks start calling and addressing the issues, then they would have to listen ... wouldn't they?
A West Coast Music Publicist:
Don't you DARE stop doing what you're doing! Don't you give up on this country, OUR country. I haven't seen you be wrong yet. But if you stop, that would be wrong.
Like they say, expect the best but prepare for the worst. My experience is, powerful people don't readily accept instruction, no matter how good the idea may be. It's an ego thing, one of the really awful things about power. It clouds reason. She SHOULD respond positively, but ... don't hold your breath. I hope I'm wrong ...
An East Coast "Spoken Word" Artist:
I concur with your postings. Think we need to petition ( or the like) and give her an idea that there are more of us who care, are concerned, and would like to see positive change and growth!!!
A West Coast Radio Personality:
LOL @ you Bob! Man, you've become quite the "mover & shaker" lately...I mean to write a letter to Cathy Hughes? Man, that's swimmin' with the big sharks. Either way best of luck to you.
A Midwest Jazz-Funk Artist:
I liked the piece you did on Kathy Hughes. Damn good idea. With the recent surging demand for classic music/artists, someone like Russell Simmons could be a front-runner to dominate the market in bringing it to the forefront. Then the majors would have to follow in the same footsteps to be competitive. It's a shame that they are so inclined to attempt to force garbage down everyone's throats while missing a chance of a lifetime. Our musical heroes aren't getting any younger. All of our youth need to hear, feel and understand where and who the music came from. I am so grateful that my dad took the time to enlighten me.
5. UK Broadcaster Implements "Uplift Black America" Format
Folks, the "Uplift Black America" format is NOT a difficult or expensive thing to implement. Alan is a Disc Jockey over in the UK who read the Open Letter to Cathy Hughes and was immediatly spurred to action. He decided to take the radio format idea suggested by us and implement it on his show this past friday. I listened to the broadcast via internet stream and it sounded great to me. Can the "Uplift Black America" radio format be implemented this quickly in the United States? I don't know, but what I do know is that just as surely as I am sitting here, one or more white owned media outlets will implement the "Uplift Black America" radio format within the next few months and it will be successful. Here is the action that Alan of Swindon FM radio took and that maybe broadcasters in the United States can learn from...
Ok Bob I know that suggestion was for Cathy Hughes but with your permission I will adopt the "Uplift Black America" over here in my show on Swindon FM. That seems to be a great format and as my show is all about the soul legends from the 50's through to the 8O's I think it will work well with my existing format. I use the information you provide via Soul patrol to keep up with the product of new soul artists and the latest work by established stars in our firmament. I can quote my purchase of Al Greens album "I cant stop" Solomon Burke's "Don't give up on me" album, Queen Latifa's "Dana Owens album", Will Wheaton's "Consenting Adultz" and many others as being down to the posts and recommendations on Soul Patrol. So now I will create a 3 track spot for music by new soul stars as well. You keep promoting and I will give you and them as much support as I can from over here.
If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:
Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
will be back in about two weeks with the next edition, with any email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.
If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.
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Bob Davis - Soul-Patrol
798 Woodlane Rd
Mount Holly, NJ 08060
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