Last week was a huge news week for Michael Baisden’s exit from his radio show. RFFocus actually predicted this was going to happen in Jan of this year. Michael is fortunate that he has something to fall back on and he’s a brilliant business man but he does not understand, even after 10 years on the air, how the radio machine works. He is adamant about returning to urban radio after his very public departure of the show but does he have any more leverage? At least he owns the show. Baisden made some crucial mistakes over the years, after his show was booted from the New York market he asserted WBLS should pick up his show over “buffoonery” black jocks did not take to that very well and neither did several urban PDs. Baisden had already approached Radio One about a deal a few months back and Radio One was not interested. iHeartmedia (formerly Clear Channel)/Premiere Radio has it’s hands full with steve harvey and since he was with Cumulus, what’s left?
As many of you know we here at RFFocus have always supported local radio talent. Now that Baisden is out… programmers, at least the ones that we have talked to recently, are not excited about trying more syndication in that time slot. Can that mean urban radio programmers are starting to re-think syndication? Several, even those with current syndicated shows running, have expressed an interest in hiring local talent again. The main issue “control.” “Tom Joyner is not getting any younger and there is no way steve harvey can maintain the hectic schedule that he has for too much longer,” one urban PD stated. Ricky Smiley is the youngest and the only option left for mornings but the likelihood of iHeartmedia (formerly Clear Channel) stations running Rickey are fairly slim. Currently, there are no young, hot radio ready contenders that can fill Baisden’s shoes so what’s left? Frank Ski? That’s still up in the air but I would certainly think he’s an option. We have also heard Cumulus has offered the show to several other people, including a couple of popular comedians that we cannot disclose here but they are not traditional radio people. One can only wonder how Cumulus is going to fulfill or maintain the ad commitments for Baisden’s show.
Finally, the pool of local talent is so shallow now since Radio was not hiring full time talent for years where would urban radio find fresh new talent?