Finally, the last few days have allowed it to sink in — the disappearance of “modern rock” from a top-5 radio hub, Philadelphia (in the form of Y100, WPLY 100.3), in order to make way for yet more black music (“urban,” hip-hop, R&B, and gospel from a package of Radio One-owned stations). Don’t get me wrong, I’m always in the mood for some of that stuff…
…But I think it was disingenuous to add another urban station to the Philadelphia market, which is simply [over-]saturated with stations that already offer that content. And if you don’t think there isn’t a little bit of “for us by us” attitude present on the part of Radio One, let me direct you first to Radio One’s own mission and, as a little mental exercise, imagine what outsiders’ responses might be if you replaced every instance of “African-American” in the text with “white” or “Caucasian.” While I’ve seen Y100 fans’ protests occasionally venture into musical exclusionism and hateful speech, the authors are nowhere near conniving enough to play the race card under the table the way Radio One seemed to do when trading “white” music for “black.” Shame, too, considering you could download an Arbitron report on “Black Radio Today” and see just how many black listeners are a part of the alternative music audience.
Second, let me point you to some of the snide and otherwise unprofessional responses to Y100 supporters from Radio One COO Mary Catherine Sneed: