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    Freedom Rider: Justice, Not Drama, for Trayvon Martin

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The global spotlight is shining on Sanford, Florida, where a white vigilante ended the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But publicity also draws its own kind of flies. Obama apologist Al Sharpton will appear at a rally for justice for Trayvon, as will the radio huckster Michael Baisden. “Baisden must be ignored and Sharpton must be watched.”

    Mass Media and African Sovereignty

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball

    The military and economic superpower attempting to bend the world to its will, is also a communications superpower bent on drowning out all worldviews at variance with its own. “An ability to be sovereign requires an ability to communicate that need, to make it a popular idea among a given community, and to protect against the psychological assaults from hostile entities.” The colonized, including Africans in America, find their representations of sovereignty smothered.

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    More than Remembering Phyl Garland! Black Power and Community Controlled Broadcasting

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball

    In the Seventies, Black radio news was a powerhouse reaching virtually every Black household with hourly newscasts that fueled political movements and incubated youthful Black leadership. Famed journalist and educator Phyl Garland chronicled and helped shape the era. “This time the struggle is not only for jobs and meaningful representation, but for the control of black minds through the grist they are fed by the communications media,” she wrote. The present generation’s mission is to seize control of Black-oriented media in service of the people.

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    The Titans of Technology: The Internet, Radio and Our Newton’s Laws

    newton's lawsby BAR columnist Jared Ball
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    We are constantly told that media fairness and effective access is always just over the horizon, awaiting the maturation of new technology. Yet we never arrive at the technological Promised Land. The internet, for example, will not cure what ails Black-oriented radio. It is quite possible that “the next generation of the internet will be less open than the already less-than-free medium that it is now.”

    Black Radio Speaks With Forked Tongue


    baisdenby Paul Porter
    Black radio owners and those who depend on them for publicity and profits are waging a propaganda offensive against a bill to compensate artists for airplay. Radio One founder Cathy Hughes “and her staff have done a great job of concealing the facts” of the legislation, HR 848, sponsored by Detroit Congressman John Conyers. Hughes has been joined by syndicated hosts Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden, and Rev. Al Sharpton, who is also a radio personality. Radio One is crying economic hardship, but the firm recently awarded CEO (and Hughes' son) Alfred Liggins “a 10 million dollar bonus.”


    A Federal Bailout For Black Radio​? Under What Conditions?

    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    News has surfaced that powerful members of the Congressional Black Caucus are asking for a bailout of minority broadcasters, specifically black radio.  But black radio, like the rest of commercial media, has long dodged any hint of the public service obligations to which it is legally bound.  Is the crisis of black radio a chance to finally impose real public service obligations upon broadcasters?

    Our thanks to Davey D for this video...

    Who Killed Black Radio? -- Journalist's Roundtable at Jared Ball's Jazz & Justice, WPFW-FM in DC

    jared showEvery Monday afternoon at 1PM on WPFW, Baltimore-DC listeners can hear a fine example of The Other Black Radio -- Jared Ball's Jazz and Justice.  This week the first hour featured HipHop historian, producer and entrepreneur Davey D, Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon and longtime radio analyst Paul Porter, now of Industry Ears discussing the state of commercial black radio, and whether it's worth saving.

    Tap the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download the show.  About 60 minutes, and worth it.

    Find more of Dr. Jared Ball's work at  The latest headlines from are always available right here in the right hand margin of BAR's front page.

    Making Real Change: Taking On Black Commercial Radio

    by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixonmontage084
    Black commercial radio station owners, like all other broadcasters, hold their licenses on the condition that they faithfully serve the public interest.   But commercial black radio, whether owned by African Americans or not, is failing that test.  Commercial black radio treats its audience exclusively as a market, not a polity, and acknowledges no public service obligation worth mentioning.
    At the coming National Conference For Media Reform, plans will be unveiled for a national campaign to bring locally gathered news and local news departments to commercial black radio.  Changing the way black radio operates is only possible by mobilizing key constituencies in the communities broadcasters treat as passive markets.  And this may be the time it begins to happen.

    Hip Hop Profanity, Misogyny and Violence: Blame the Manufacturer

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    The often convoluted debate over hip-hop lyrics and images frequently misses the point: mass marketed rap recordings, videos and stage acts are corporate products, and the artists are virtual employees and subcontractors of huge multinationals. Corporate control of the cultural marketplace is the real villain in this story, not artists who did not pick themselves for stardom and cannot on their own alter boardroom business models. Corporations have been usurping and reshaping Black mass culture for decades - hip-hop is just the latest product line.

    Commerce is Killing the Spirit of Hip-Hop

    by Davey D

    Most young African Americans are dissatisfied with the daily menu of anti-social hip-hop music force-fed to the culture by huge corporations. Yet the "ultimate minstrel show," a product consumed mainly by young whites, is still deemed symptomatic of some peculiar Black pathology. Payola, once an under-the-table arrangement between disc jockeys and small labels, now homogenizes the playlists of broadcast outlets, nationwide. A genre that flourished through creative expression is dying under the weight of commercial corporate cynicism and greed.

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