By now, you have heard about Michael Baisden coming back to Radio. It has been all over Radio Facts and in the conversations of those of us who are Radio Heads.
Professionally and personally I think it is the best thing to happen to Urban Radio to have him back on the scene!!
When Baisden was initially on the air with the ABC Network, CUMULUS MEDIA, a lot of us in the industry was hating because he had a radio show and he was NOT a “radio jock” per those of US who have dedicated our lives to this industry. He was brash and bold on the air; maybe even a bit arrogant from our perspective. But you know when Cassius Clay, aka Muhammed Ali, hit the boxing world they called him arrogant as well!!
Baisden WAS disruptive to our safe world of Radio Announcers. The reason we were upset is because it was a syndicated show and for every station that he picked up it meant that somebody in a PM drive, lost a job. He dared to push the limits of radio as we knew them then; even to the dismay of his employers!!! But as he stayed on the air, a lot of us “radio heads” begin to admire his ‘radio swag’ and we quietly would think, ‘Damn, if I could do what he does on the radio I could blow up too!!.’
What we know for sure is how format radio works and we tend to stay within the limits of the tried and true ways of broadcasting. But when Baisden hit the scene, he did not see the LINE in the sand of Urban Radio. He did not recognize any of the so-called rules of Radio basics that were drilled into our heads; things like when to talk, do not talk over the vocals, do not talk too much, play the hits cause you can’t break songs/artist on a (4) hour show, do not put too many callers on the air, watch sensitive subject matters, and be careful how you approach National controversy, and the list goes on!! If you have ever spent (15) minutes or more on air in the urban format, you can think of other self-inflicted rules that we have made for ourselves along the way.
Once Baisden’ s show caught fire with the listeners, then we could really see the difference and that changed our thoughts in our head to ‘“If I could have the freedom he has I could blow up too’!!! (Ever said that to yourselff?)
Baisden did many things while he was on the air but the most memorable for me was the call to action around the Jena Six case involving charges against six black students in Jena, Louisiana back around 2006. I was so motivated by all the conversation started by Baisden on the radio that once he did the call to action about going down to Jena, I decided to go. I called him one day when he was on the air talking about it and told him I was motivated to be there and he said, “ Man get your crew can come on down!”
Of course, I did not have a “crew” but then I thought, Yes, I do!! I am a Biker (Motorcyclist), so I shared the idea with the local bikers. They had heard Baisden talk about it as well so the brothers and sisters here said “Hell Yeah let’s go down there and represent for those young black brothers with Baisden and nem!” (‘Nem’ , of course, meaning the rest of the country who was planning to go). After getting my crew together, I called Baisden back and told him I was coming to Jena with Bikers from the ATL and we would be rolling about 115 deep.
He said, “Hold on man, I got a break coming up”, then I heard him on the phone say “I am talking to Mitch Faulkner in the ATL and he and a crew of Bikers are going to meet us in Jena,” then he said, “Mitch you there?”, and from there I was on the air live. Well, to shorten this story we rode out deep and when we arrived we began to see other motorcycle groups and clubs there. Bikers in the thousands were there. I spoke with one brother out of New Orleans that was rolling about 100 Deep and I asked him, “Why did you guys come down?” and his reply me to was, “I was listening to Baisden and I heard some guy out of Atlanta talking about riding down to Jena”. He was the President of his Louisiana-based Club and he said he made it a mandatory ride, because he could not allow other Bikers from out of the State of Louisiana come without them being there!
The catalyst for the whole thing was the Michael Baisden show!! Baisden played a huge role in getting President Obama in office and the list goes on with the things he was able to bring to Urban Radio. Only Baisden and the power of Urban Radio stations around the country could pull that off!!
The real deal is this, those of us in radio do not like syndication because it makes us lose jobs and it cheapens the rate that we can get for the jobs we do have. We will ‘hate’ in a public sentence, but in private we say to ourselves ‘I WISH I COULD BE SYNDICATED!!’ Well, news flash, syndication is here to stay, and it will be much sweeter with Baisden coming back to syndicated radio.
WHY YOU ASK?????? … because if he comes back with more of the same content as before, it will strengthen Urban Radio locally!
… because if he gets on a station in your market and start to gain numbers it will force (you) as a Jock or PD to be more informative in your programming to compete!
I am so glad he is coming back and ANYBODY WHO OWNS OR PROGRAMS A STATION need to be in line to pick him up ASAP so you will not have to compete with him!! Listen, many disruptive things have come along in my lifetime like cell phones, text messages, cable TV, online banking, the Internet,. It has ALL made the world a better place. I imagine when the cell phone technology started I am sure the Bell company was like ‘yeah right, who needs to have a phone with them all day every day?’ NOW LOOK WHO IS PLAYING BIG IN the Mobile Phone Industry.
Baisden will single handily change our industry for the better… in my Bernie Mack voice, “He aint scared of You M*&^$$ F%^$!! “
Can you imagine what Michael would have done on the Ferguson murder and the whole Black Lives Matter efforts??!! Oh, it is going to be on!!
There is a lot going on in our URBAN society, and radio is just not delivering the goods. It is funny how we can work for a Company owned by folk that don’t look like us and they allow us to play trash music to our youth but they will NOT let you stop the music to talk about the ills of our Communities/Society and the controversy with Law enforcement and our rights or feelings!!! How many 12-24 stations do you know of, that STOPPED the mindless music to give voice to the Black Lives Matter issues or the police shootings etc. YEAH, I hear your answers but you cannot comment out loud cause your Owners/GM’s will bounce you out on the street!!
And when your so called (Urban) Station get pushed by Baisden’s numbers maybe your Boss will cut you lose to show your ‘True Broadcast Stripes’ to Entertain, Inform, Educate, or push you out for the lack of testosterone, because Baisden has the Big Ones the size of basketballs when it comes to Radio.
Bravo to Baisden Media Group in collaboration with American Urban Radio Network, Perry Broadcasting and others to distribute the show nationally. Superadio has made the announcement here in Radio Facts and E-blast and I think this is the best thing to date happening in Urban radio.
Our Urban Radio community has stooped to new lows in programming, trying to out play the next music station with more music! Is that what we need is more music …when folk can find THEIR MUSIC on hundreds of other sources now?. A lot of markets audience share is shrinking because we play the same few songs over and over.
What I mean by shrinking I mean IS if you are in a market like Atlanta where V-103 has been the dominant Urban for years (Reggie Rouse PD) and it still is, but check this, V-103 used to be number (1) in Double digits, now they are number (1) with single digits. The entire urban audience is defecting from radio period!! Why??… Because we cannot hold them (the listener) with just Music and a few dollars in a cash contest during the book (lol)!!
Because our rule book says PLAY the HITS, which means it is already burned out by the time we play it. We DO NOT GIVE OUR LISTENERS the chance to discover NEW music on our stations. Remember when we used to turn on the radio to see what new music was out? What a novel idea for radio … to BREAK RECORDS/ARTISTS)!! Yeah, you might be the first to play it on your station but believe me, the audience has heard it before you on YouTube, Pandora etc. This is why Baisden’s return to radio can help the industry!
If more stations bring content other than another music sweeps it makes it hard for other mediums to compete with us. YOU CANNOT GET CONTENT and personality for the inner offerings or a great Playlist on Spotify etc.
The kind of Radio that Baisden will bring will move the needle in the entire industry if he gets enough bold stations to carry the show and then if we take heed and bring more compelling content to compete with him it all changes the game for the greater good of the Listeners, Advertisers and broadcasters alike.
We NEED this breath of fresh air. I just hope someone can bring some sense to our 12-24 and 18-36 stations because all of this (mindless) inarticulate BS Hip Hop Music is going into our Young Minds and quite frankly making them stupid! I could give a list, but I have a 17-Year-old Niece living with me and she is hearing Lil Yachty on the (radio) of all places talking about ‘1 Night’! Really? that is what the audience is demanding? Ok I get that, but hey Crackheads demand Crack but you cannot get it at the drug store, Right?
So, I think Baisden will help us raise the bar. And if you, your Station Owner, or PD gets hit by Baisden, maybe they will follow because the audience will demand more content from your station thus giving YOU the chance to improve your game and use your earned stripes.
Mitch Faulkner Founder
Mitch Faulkner Group Inc.
Mitch Faulker’s opinion may or may not reflect those of the owners, writers and contributers to Radio Facts (radiofacts.com)