Monday, April 30, 2012

Black Radio Merger in NYC

Two of New York City's leading Black radio stations are merging to become one.


WRKS ("KISS") and WBLS have competed for supremacy in the Black radio market in New York City for more than 30 years. They divided up the leading Black voices from the syndication market and divided up the listener base of lovers of Black music (Hot 97 and Power 105.1 continue to compete for portions of the audience as well).
Both WBLS and WRKS have been the top-rated station in the city at various times, and even in low periods they have routinely averaged well over a million listeners apiece per week.
This morning, KISS changed its format to sports talk in a takeover by Disney's ESPN Radio. WBLS lives on as a leading Black radio station and takes on many of the voices and history of KISS.


The coming weeks will be a time of mourning for KISS rather than a period of celebrating the combination of these two great stations.
It's a sad day for urban radio.  
The leadership of WBLS deserves praise for spending last weekend celebrating the 30 year history of KISS and for sounding the alarm regarding the contraction of Black radio rather than praising itself for outlasting KISS.
"I think it's sad," says WBLS spokesperson Deon Livingston. "A station that serviced our community for 30 years is gone, their voice is gone."
Let us all commit to support Black radio in NYC. KISS is gone. Let us preserve what remains.

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