Is SiriusXM trying to undermine black 'Power'?
By Wade Simmons
Feb. 13, 2013, 10:30 p.m.
- My name is Wade
Simmons. I currently serve as editor-at-large at Redding News Review. For
over 13-years I have known Mr. Rob Redding. It has been my pleasure working
with him at Redding News Review and as a journalist throughout the
Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Mr. Redding is the most dynamic
journalist that I have ever met during my career.
I am writing you to express my concerns about the changes that are being made
to "SiriusXM 128 [formerly The Power] Urban View" (SIRI) and how these current
changes at SiriusXM 128 convey a resonating trend that’s becoming
commonplace in the media. Particularly, I am very concerned about program
quality as it relates to content. Do program changes at SiriusXM 128 serve
the best interest of the listening public?
From my knowledge, it has always
been the programming attempt of The Power, when it was co-run by XM Radio
and Radio One Inc. to provide programming content that was political in
nature and analyzed with a black perspective. Even the connotation of “The
Power,” outlines the intent of the channel—expressing black political
However, it seems that Sirius Radio (before merging with XM Radio) never had
a black talk format. (See the attached link to Sirius Radio channel guide
At closer glance Sirius Radio, prior to becoming SiriusXM, only black
programming was in the area of Hip-Hop and R&B. Those channels were:
43 Backspin Hip-Hop/R&B Old Skool Rap
45 Shade 45 Hip-Hop/R&B Eminem’s Uncut Hip-Hop
50 Hot Jamz Hip-Hop/R&B Hits
51 Heart & Soul Hip-Hop/R&B R&B Hits
53 Soul Town Hip-Hop/R&B Classic Soul
Noticing this trend along with what has been revealed
recently, I can only conclude that Sirius and SiriusXM never wanted or want
to continue with a black talk radio format.
Recently, SiriusXM announced that "The Power" will now become "The Urban
View." As you are aware, these programming changes took Redding News Review
off the air from a prime-time spot and replaced it with “The B. Smith and
‘Thank You Dan’ Show.” This move clearly demonstrates the unclear motives
behind SiriusXM decisions. I restate, the Power is a political voice for the
black community, surely placing programs that are not political in nature,
on SiriusXM 128 transforms the entire dynamic of the channel, which
would lead a good journalist to analyze why?
In no way should this communication be construed as an attempt to criticize
B. Smith. Smith is an extraordinary black entrepreneur who has an interest
in radio. However, it seems that placing a variety type program on what has
been traditionally all political (black) talk format in the middle of the
afternoon may be a clandestine attempt to remove black political talk radio
out of the African-American community.
Frankly, this change in programming is a slap in the face to the black
community. It demonstrates that our interests are being communicated to us
rather than being resonated by us.
I would also like to clear up some other misconceptions: Redding News Review
is a news organization. Robert Redding, is a journalist/broadcaster not and
announcer or talk host. Mr. Redding has assembled a team of top journalists
who continuously present, analyze and address: issues, concerns, and
viewpoints that impact the black community. Our jobs as journalists is not to
say what people want to hear, however, to present the facts and reasoning
behind facts, whether the viewpoint is popular or not. We have done this
before the creation of SiriusXM and we will continue afterwards.
Also, another strange thing about this move to "The Urban View,” is that
Sirius abated Rev. Al Sharpton by an hour. For me, the change from The Power
to "The Urban View" could not be based on business. What business person
would cutting Sharpton by an hour, a man who topped Wolf Blitzer on MSNBC, and
No. 1 among blacks? (See:
What's more, the decision appears to eliminate other shows from Kojo Nnamdi
to GW on the Hill.
Last, it seems that this move was being plotted by SiriusXM long before,
Liberty Media took over the controlling interest of the company this summer.
On June 2, 2011, the Web site, the "UrbanBlog" reported that SiriusXM was
making changes to 128 The Power, even calling 128 The Urban View almost two
years in advance. (See:
continues below ↓
Historical Facts, Relevant Citations and
Finally, I would like to just offer you a few facts about black
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism 2011
The State of the News Media: Annual Report on American Journalism
described the black media as “resilient.” Even the first line of
the report stated that “ethnic media play an important role
providing news about places and issues that are often absent from
the mainstream media.”
There are two interesting points from NeilsonWire that I would like
"The website reported
that “African-Americans have interest and influence in upcoming elections;
African-American believes that products that are advertise to them through
black media 'is relevant to them.'”
This tells me that blacks are aware of their influence in
politics and understand the nature of their buying power. Blacks want context
that relates to them and their interests.
Black media, and media outlets have always been different from the mainstream
media because of the aforementioned sentiment. Media sets a tone for what is
covered. This is done through “framing.” Much research has been done on the
differences how mainstream media and minority media may frame the same story.
In her dissertation "Racial Profiling in the Mainstream Media: Before and After
September 11," Mia Nodeen Moody-Hall clearly describes how two different media
views can be framed. Moody-Hall writes:
"Chicago Defender Executive Director Roland Martin provides an
illustration of framing differences in black and mainstream newspapers in an
Aug.16, 2005, article in which he explains how black press and mainstream media
describe the same stories through different lenses. He writes, 'But just today,
while looking at CNN, I came across the Associated Press’s report on the public
viewing of Johnson [John H. Johnson]. They reported, hundreds of people filed
past the Ebony and Jet founder’s casket on Sunday, six days after his death at
age 87… In contrast to mainstream media’s coverage, the Chicago Defender’s
Monday edition reported that more than 2,000 mourners."
Notice how the mainstream media describes the views as
“hundreds of people.” In sharp contrast to the report from black media which
reported that “more than 2000 mourner,” viewed the body of Johnson, the founder
of Ebony and Jet magazines.
Clearly there are historical voids as it relates to the context, content and
analysis of the effective reporting of the news. Many of these issues cannot be handled effectively by the mainstream media, because they are unknown to
so many, and simply a part of the subculture of the African-American experience.
In all, this open letter presents a compelling case for Mr. Redding and others
to be returned to the air immediately and for SiriusXM to not change the format of
128 The Power. I am sure that Mr. Redding and your listeners would have much
respect for SiriusXM for a quick response. Everyone makes blunders - recall “new
Coke”. This ball is in your court.
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