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New York radio station 98.7 KISS-FM folding into WBLS seemed like a simple business transaction on paper, but it was a gut wrenching and shocking turn of events for longtime NYC music loving residents. Particularly “Urban” (read: Black) music aficionados. The long time competitors unifying is akin to UNC and Duke University, and their basketball teams, deciding to join forces. How could this happen?

Renowned author Dan Charnas (The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop) ably tackles the history of the two stations and the loss of KISS-FM’s ramifications in a story titled “Long Kiss Goodbye: Fear Of A Black Planet Killed A Black Radio Station.” Charnas writes:

On one level, the collapse of those two globally influential brands into one is a sign that radio’s power and value has been eclipsed, especially by new forms of media, downloadable and streaming music in particular. The troubles of radio were also compounded by deregulation — which made radio stations act according to the needs of the stock market rather than their audiences. And the woes of Black radio were redoubled by a new, digital audience measurement system, changing demographics, and the perennial racism of advertisers who — even in the 21st century — discount the buying power of the Black consumer. And the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 just made everything worse.

Read the rest of Charnas’ compelling and educational story over at The Urban Daily.



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Photo: WBLS