Where is our Creative?
The current state of the urban radio jock is not only in danger of becoming extinct, it’s easily up for grabs according to trends in urban radio. Several people have emailed, called and sent me texts about comedian Michael Colyar replacing comedian Rudy Rush who replaced the late radio legend Doug Banks on the syndicated Doug Banks Show (recently changed to “Rush Hour”). “Why didn’t they just give the show to Ebony Steele? She has the strength to carry that show as the host” has been the overwhelming sentiment. Ebony is one helluva jock and she certainly has a following but the truth is, we have to be more aggressive in our approach to succeed in radio. We haven’t talked to Rudy about his departure but I’m willing to bet (as usual) it has something to do with money. Unlike Michael Baisden who completely put his situation on a billboard (Radio 101: Has anyone heard from Baisden?) Rush is being “classy” and evasive per a few recent tweets. Great move Rudy.
Are WE to Blame as Jocks…?
We do have to take some of the responsibility. Many of us have sat idly by and waited for opportunities to come our way instead of creating opportunities which is what has essentially allowed comedians to enter the radio industry and pretty much drop us off at the bus stop and take the driver’s seat. When they are not satisfied with their careers they look at other options, we don’t, our options are usually another radio gig. Today’s comedians look at what a comedian like Steve Harvey has done and they want a piece of the overwhelming monetary pie. Is anyone looking at us as jocks and thinking the same thing? Not according to some of the leading urban radio industry pros who readily admit the jock pool for fresh talent has not only been depleted but is damn near bone dry. What does that mean for the future of the urban jock?
Who is DL Hughley…?
I would be amiss to say that DL Hughley is just a comedian. He is also an exceptional radio host and an intellectual (whose new book, the audio version of “Black Man, White House” annoys the hell out of me because there is too much going on with all the characters instead of a straight read). His coverage, passion, and connection to the mass media pertaining to the recent shootings was second to none. He came off of his vacation to participate. I don’t know nary not nary urban radio jock that would have done that or that could have covered it the way that he did. (Is “Nary” a real word?)
While DL has been on the radio on and off for at least 20 years, his celebrity certainly opened the door for the opportunity to be heard but aren’t we also celebrities? Where are the urban jocks, even locally, for situations like this? I saw some coverage by urban radio jocks in some markets during the shootings and from what I saw, we need some work brethren. Some of us had great guests and opportunities in the studios during the onset of events but what I often saw lacked authority, knowledge of laws, political savvy, community sense and passion. Many took the easy way out by simply explaining how they too had been stopped by the cops. Wow, let’s all make room for the new Doug Banks. Have you ever googled the solution to a problem that you were having and you find a link but it’s an endless thread of people saying “I am having the same problem too” who cares? Give me the damn solution. Same here, being in the same position as other black men or women who are stopped by the police doesn’t make us a star it makes us, well…. another black man or woman stopped by the police, that’s it. Are we the listener or the authority?
I’m curious. I will say that Rosenberg at Hot 97 in New York did an exceptional job as well as Frank Ski at V103 in Atlanta but did I miss something? Did YOU see any excellent coverage by an urban radio jock that made you jump up and shout “Gloraye… GLORAYE Hallelue?” or did you simply prefer to tune in to the biased commercial TV news?
Seriously, what is it that we can do to make ourselves “exceptional” and the “go-to” person whenever news breaks in our market or beyond instead of the pack yo sh and “run-from” source? In today’s radio realm, being an urban jock is just not enough. This is not 1982 and you don’t make as much money as the jocks did back then (wait, that might be true) anyway, we have to aim for being exceptional at the end of the day NOT ordinary, predictable and basic. What is it that’s going to keep the “Urban Radio Jock” concept alive and better than anyone else with a mic in the studio? You will have to figure that out sooner than later. How Can RFFocus Help? Let me know and I will implement…
My best, Kev