Should we boycott XM?

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on August 6, 2007

Reasons are beginning to stack up on why several of us, at least, won’t be brandishing XM satellite sets anytime soon.  For one: despite Mel Karmazin’s pitch that the XM/Sirius merger will bring greater content a la carte, we eye this pretty suspiciously and see it as another version of commercial radio – only this time, you pay for it.  Why?  Because, at the end of the day, someone else is still suggesting what you should listen to, hence all content is still getting filtered.  Think you’ll get a good plate of that head-bopping, boom-bap, purist underground hip hop sound you won’t find on a top urban commercial station?  Maybe a taste, but not the buffet.  We prefer underground college radio and the great selection on Internet that was until RIAA rammed royalties through FCC hyper-lobbying. 

But, a more sinister trend has appeared at XM regarding its Black talk line-up, also known as The Power.  Within a span of only two months, we’ve witnessed the firings of two African American talk show hosts, one conservative, the other liberal or Afrocentrically progressive over reasons that remain suspect.  The former, Casey Lartigue, Jr., is the more publicized incident – we peeped how the Black conservative/libertarian gets an Outlook column  in the Washington Post, but activist Mark Thompson (aka Matsimela Mapfumo) does not.  Of course, Thompson’s no stranger to fall outs with Radio One (the content provider for XM’s Power), but there is a hint of disparity in coverage that doesn’t go unnoticed. In addition, nothing is said about longtime radio activist Ambrose Lane being shut out as well. 

Lartigue, Thompson and Lane were known to provide some thought-provoking, cutting-edge content during their collective radio tenure.  Something different and non-partisan.  Some of it agreeable, some of it disagreeable.  But, you must admit that they had folks thinking.  Not certain what this means for independent-minded, lactose-free Black talk content on XM and whether this means that Black talk is pretty much going the way of hip hop – meaning that the only African American talking heads worthy of play are those with political clout or “platinum” profiles.  One of the reasons much Black policy and political discourse remains stale is because the conversations are cookie-cutter, predictable and, frankly, not all that diverse. This problem is just as prominent in Black talk as it is in mainstream talk. The filtering thought police strikes again?

Maybe.  But perhaps it’s just a reflection of the times and our shifting priorities.       

6 Responses

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  1. chocolateice said, on August 12, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Is Radio One Black Enough?


    Fans of the Power 169 XM Radio are protesting to reinstated Mark Thompson and Ambrose Lane to the Power. Both were popular radio personalities on satellite radio the “Power.” On July 27, 2007, they were dismissed from the Power. Because of the protest, Lee Michaels, Program Director of XM169 was on the air (August 10, 2007) defending why Radio One fired Mark Thompson and Ambrose Lane from their radio lineup. After everything was said, the fans were not pleased with Lee Michaels reasons for firing them, and the protest continues even LOUDER. Their show discussed African-American issues along with political news from Washington, D.C. At this time, the shows have been replaced by Warren Valentine and “Two Live Stews” a sport show. Fans of the Power XM169 are outraged and demand that Mark Thompson and Ambrose Lane be reinstated immediately. Show your support with calls, faxes, and emails to Radio One.

    Cathy Hughes, CEO
    Office 301 429-3263 or 301 306-1111
    Fax # 301 429-3201

    Lee Michaels, Program Director XM169
    301 306-1111 or 301 429-3235
    Fax 301 918-3904
    The Power call-in line 866 801-8255

    Radio One
    Cathy Hughes, CEO
    5900 Princess Garden Parkway
    7th Floor
    Lanham, MD 20706
    301 306-1111

  2. chocolateice said, on August 12, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Well said! I am outraged that Mark Thompson and Ambrose Lane are no longer on the Power. It’s time to protest Radio One until they are returned. Don’t stop the faxes, emails, and calls. What Lee Michaels did on XM (8/10/2007) was a joke. Sports over Mark? Please. So the protest continues.

  3. Marvin Glin said, on September 14, 2007 at 10:00 am

    I Will Boycott Until Mark returns!!!

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    realy gj

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