By Kiarra Solomon
For those of you who have not already noticed, long time syndicated radio host Michael Baisden is no longer on the air on WDAS 105.3 FM. Baisden had been on the air in Philadelphia for many years, however, Clear Channel made a decision to go in a different direction with their afternoon programming. While ‘The Michael Baisden Show’ was on the air in Philadelphia, Clear Channel consistently beat the competition by at least 10 points in Arbitron ratings.
Earlier this week, Clear Channel officially announced an opening for their midday time slot. In the meantime, longtime WDAS on-air personality Mimi Brown will be holding down the afternoon drive.
On Monday, January 7, 2013, Baisden posted a letter to his fans on Facebook stating that “there seems to be a disturbing trend in urban radio to opt to give the Black community less information about what’s going on in our community, even when my program is competitive, and in some cases winning in its time slot.” Baisden continued that he didn’t “blame the radio networks that remove (his) program; (he) blames us as a community,” and asks “is this in our best interests?” (You can read the complete letter on his Facebook page.)
While Baisden’s show is important to maintaining Black voices in radio, it is important to note that syndicated radio as a whole has continued to destroy local radio by only addressing nationwide issues, as opposed to Black Radio of the past that addressed local issues and was an integral part of the community. Let us not forget that Baisden is paid based on the amount of markets he is in. That is not to say that his letter to fans was not genuine and that his concern is not real. However, we must keep in mind that every market that Baisden (or any other syndicated radio show) is aired in, fills a position that could be held by an up and coming or local radio talent.
A few questions remain, mainly, who will replace the ‘Michael Baisden Show’? The last time Clear Channel suddenly got rid of a longtime personality they flew someone in from Florida to fill the spot (Cappuchino who replaced Shamara). Will they fill the slot with someone listeners already know and love, or will they be introduced to new talent? One important note that Baisden made in his letter to fans is that radio is an advertising business first, and a people business second. And a multi-million dollar corporation like Clear Channel is certainly looking to increase ratings and revenue with this move.