Archive for March, 2005
Mark Hatch-Miller writes in The Nation that the problems with Hot 97 and radio in general are corporate mismanagement. Quote:
Though promoted as an antiracist event, the rally lamented the degraded state of the corporate music industry generally. One of the first performances at the demonstration came from Asian-American rapper Cobra. In front of an audience holding signs reading “Hot 97 Divides Our Community,” “Stop Hate 97″ and “I Am Hip-Hop,” Cobra recited lyrics that earnestly expressed his grievances with the state of hip-hop: “With a hot producer/Hitler would still be popular, blinged-out with Medusa [a popular jewelry brand].” In another song, he castigated greedy artists who fail to recognize the boost in visibility they get from bootlegs and online music traders: “Now you mad ’cause your bootleg’s on the Ave.?/That’s the best promotion team that you’ve ever had!…/You whiners unnerve me/You’re just an old, white exec in a throwback jersey.”
The activists who organized the rally are justified in framing their criticisms in anticorporate terms. Hot 97–”where hip-hop lives,” according to its slogan–is owned by Emmis Communications, which owns twenty-four other US radio stations, fifteen US television stations, three European radio stations and a publishing company. Emmis’s 100 percent Caucasian board of directors makes its decisions in Indianapolis, more than 700 miles away from Hot 97′s listeners. While media critics have long recognized that the rise of radio megaconglomerates like Clear Channel and Infinity Radio has led to a decline in the quality and diversity of radio programming, the history of Hot 97 shows that smaller media conglomerates can be just as unresponsive to the needs of the communities they serve.
I don’t believe it is fair to blame the problems with Hot 97 solely on the fact that Hot 97′s management is not run locally. I don’t know exactly what has caused the problems with Hot 97. It almost doesn’t matter Hot 97 and radio are becoming irrelevant. People are turning in large numbers to other sources for the latest in hip-hop including the internet, mixtapes and satelite radio.