I was reading an article with an interesting perspective (below) this morning on Cathy Hughes/Radio One plight to ensure her urban radio stations do not have to pay Performance taxes. William Reed (the writer) points out that Cathy is failing to take FULL advantage of her position via her own outlets, the airwaves, and that she should use this opportunity to educate her millions of listeners to those politicians who refuse to not only side with her cause but who refuse to be accountable to blacks in their political positions. A black politician who reaches the upper echelon of the national political land scape would be a FOOL to (obviously) make himself accountable to blacks. That’s just not the kind of “politics” our country adheres to and it would be the fastest route to a career demise. That’s not saying a black politician cannot look out for black causes but he or she creates an immediate glass ceiling and dissension towards himself via his colleagues that he has to work with on daily basis. Who the hell wants that? That’s why they call it “politics” it’s all a game.
In addition I think this type of ‘you-owe-me’ thinking is what has way too often divided the urban music community’s generations. An urban industry vet who may not be in touch with TODAY’s music industry may think the suggestion for Hughes to attack with her platform is a great idea, Cathy Hughes, who is a vet but who works in the industry daily is not that stupid. I know many of you think I don’t like Cathy but I actually admire her and I think she is often underestimated but very savvy. To use the airwaves to attack her black political opponents would be suicidal in many ways. First, if an opportunity ever does arise where these politicians CAN help Cathy it won’t happen and second, the listeners don’t want to hear that sh… and they don’t care. Finally, the listeners are already being bombarded with weak, syndicated shows with brain dead content. To go from that type of programming to challenging their intellect leaves no room for any type of proper mental transition from not thinking to giving it some thought to racking one’s brain (laugh) (community radio, community radio, community radio). There IS not a middle ground in urban radio in 2009. You either talk about relationships and someone cheating on his baby mama or you play music. Talking about ANY kind of politics or challenging the minds of listeners is simply unacceptable.
As always, if there is an urban jock or station out there that wants to challenge anything I say or if they don’t agree with this type of programming, we’d love to hear from you. Comment or write me. I have no problem with that. Read William’s story below.
Radio One Should Pump up the Volume
Regarding political empowerment, Blacks now hold high rankings in Congress, but their impact for Blacks in general is negligible. Economic empowerment is represented by Cathy Hughes, founder and chair of Radio One, Inc. Radio One owns or operates 53 radio stations located in 16 urban markets and has interests in TV One, a cable/satellite network; and Reach Media, Inc., owner of the Tom Joyner Morning Show and businesses associated with Tom Joyner.
The battle has been drawn. Hughes is waging a war against targeted members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) that is worth noting.
Stations “˜in jeopardy’
As Black members have risen in seniority and status on Capitol Hill, there has been a contrasting chorus accusing them of “not being accountable” to Blacks. Hughes is upset that Black radio properties are “in jeopardy at the hand s of a Black man.” That Black man is John Conyers, the 80-year-old Detroit congressman and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The longest-serving African-American in the history of the House is a jazz aficionado. Conyers developed an interest in jazz as a teenager in Detroit and played trumpet. In 2007, Conyers introduced the Performance Rights Act, the focus of Ms. Hughes’ ire. The chairlady of the nation’s largest chain of Black-formatted radio stations alleges that Conyers’ bill, H.R. 848, will cost her money.
Under current law, stations only pay copyright royalties to artists who compose hit songs, not those who perform them. Station owners say a law requiring them to pay additional royalties would bankrupt them. Recording artists get money for concerts and make money selling downloads or CDs. But they get nothing when their songs play on the radio. That money goes to the people who write and publish the songs.
Radio One controls a host of airwaves in districts where Black Members of Congress reside and has the clout to attack their legislative actions. How many times have you heard ads on Radio One stations or programs propagating that the legislation is a “performance tax” that is going to destroy Black radio? Hughes has the power to put a legislative issue that normally would have escaped public attention on the minds of millions.
Some will argue whether the issue is a legitimate “˜Black concern.’ The battle has brought about a new dimension that could work against lawmakers used to easy reelections.
Hughes’ ads have targeted a number of Black lawmakers and even questioned the integrity of Chairman Conyers. The fight has divided the civil rights community, with the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens supporting Conyers, while Blacks such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson line up with Hughes and other Black-owned stations. Radio One operates stations in or near the districts of Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee (Houston); Mel Watt (Charlotte, NC); Hank Johnson (Atlanta); and Robert “Bobby” Scott (Richmond, Va.) and aired ads criticizing them.
Hughes’ practices could have a major impact on the national Black political land scape. It has begun to take a toll on Black long-time lawmakers accustomed to cruising to reelections. In chiding CBC members that support Conyers’ legislation, Hughes says, “All five of these Black elected officials continue to ignore the imminent danger to Black media ownership.” Criticizing Jackson-Lee for claiming that Conyers’ bill would not force any Black-owned stations out of business, Hughes says, “How could she possibly know anything about what it takes or doesn’t take to operate a broadcast facility?”
As Congress returns to sessions, Ms. Hughes should pump up the volume to defeat H.R. 848. It’s a brand of political activism others should well follow.
Contact William Reed via www.Black- PressInternational.com. [source]