The NY Times reports Ebro Darden, the lead morning-show host and face of WQHT-FM, 97.1 Hot97 could only halfheartedly plug a Wiz Khalifa ticket giveaway before turning to more urgent matters: the killings of nine black congregants by a white gunman at the storied Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday.
“Don’t just try to sweep what’s happening in America under a rug and not deal with the real issues,” Mr. Darden said before breaking down in tears.
“The black church is really all we got,” he continued deliberately, pausing often to collect himself. “It’s the last place that we always know ...” — here again he was overcome with emotion — “that we can bring our families and be safe.”
“We are basically the newspaper for the African-American community in the city of Atlanta,” said Reggie Rouse, the vice president of urban programming for CBS Radio and program director at WVEE 103.3 FM V103. “When something like this happens, whether it’s Charleston or Ferguson, we have to stop the music and open up the phone lines.”
Frank Ski, a veteran radio host whose show airs on WHUR 96.3 FM in Washington, said that urban stations can serve blacks as right-wing talk radio hosts like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh serve their conservative majority-white listeners. But Mr. Ski also appeared as a guest on WWWQ-99.7 FM in Atlanta, a Top 40 station that he said had a predominately white audience.
In South Carolina, the imperative to discuss the attack was even greater. Stephen Crumbley, the program director at Charleston’s mainstream urban station, W257BQ 99.3 FM the Box (via WMXZ 95.5 FM-HD2, and its UrbanAC sister station, WXST 99.7 StarFM, opted on Thursday to cut into the nationally syndicated programs and instead focus on enhanced local coverage.
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