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Black Radio

November 29, 1987

It was very apparent to me that neither Connie Johnson nor Don Snowden understands radio--let alone black radio.

It is not the business of radio to promote artists. That is the business of the artist, artist management and the recording company. Radio's business, black or non-black, is to entertain and to serve the public interest, not necessarily in that order.

Before a station can do either, it must survive. A station can only stay in business if it can attract enough listeners to sell advertisers. The average person will tune in a station because that station airs what that listener wants to hear. If he doesn't hear it, he moves on.

The statement that implied that programmers were influenced negatively by Negroid features infuriated me. Were that true, Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Freddie Jackson, Luther Vandross, Natalie Cole, etc., would never have had a record played.

It seemed to me, that what Johnson and Snowden want is a return to "Race Music" with artists categorized by color and color only.

Black radio in Los Angeles must compete with every signal in the market, not just each other. KACE must live with the fact that KPWR, KABC, KTVE, KOST, KFWB and KKGO have large numbers of black listeners. Our Program Director Pam Wells knows that she must maintain format integrity if she is to be considered a professional by her peers. She must also be attuned to what the majority of our audience wants to hear. She may enjoy a Kid Creole performance but she will add his latest recording only if it fits the format that management handed her.

By the way, KACE has aired cuts by Joan Armatrading and Kid Creole and the Coconuts because those cuts fit the format.


Vice President/General Manager


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