I want a radio station.


When WAMO left the airwaves I just knew that a replacement would soon be in place. Talk about missing the water when the well runs dry. I don’t do well with CDs and I don’t want satellite radio. I’m missing live and local radio, disc jockeys that I can run into from time to time and local news that pertains to me. With the lack of a Black focused radio station in Pittsburgh we didn’t get to have a musical tribute to Teddy Pendergrass.


Not having a radio station really hit me last week when I took a road trip to Detroit. Yes, I do listen to CDs while I’m driving but I enjoy live voices and I’m a talk show junkie. While driving through Ohio and Michigan I was able to listen to all types of music. Detroit is the epicenter for Black music and is blessed to have four Black-owned and focused radio stations.

I’m not the only one who misses WAMO. If I had a five-spot for each person that has asked me what happened to “the radio station” I would be rich. Somehow people think I have the inside information on radio since I worked there for a while. I wish I did, but I don’t. I’m just as in the dark as the rest of Pittsburgh.

It’s hard to believe that we don’t have an urban radio station. I’ve grown tired of listening to all news all the time. I want Tom Joyner or Steve Harvey in the morning. I had to leave town to find out that Tom Joyner went to Haiti to help the people there. What else have I missed?

When I’m in the house I watch television, in the car I want radio. In the mornings I want traffic, weather and a little comedy and music. On the way home I’d like more of the same with some talk radio for good measure.

What has surprised me more than anything is that some company, any company has not jumped on this opportunity. After a look around Google I found an article on Pittsburgh Radio & TV Online that may shed some light on the subject. This is a quote from that article. “On the same day WAMO was sold the FCC approved a “Notice of Inquiry” which is to address the claims that the Personal People Meter technology being used by Arbitron “undercounts and misrepresents the number and loyalty of minority radio listeners.”

It’s the beginning of an investigation over how PPM technology will affect the broadcast industry and whether or not the ratings data will be accurate enough to gain merit by the FCC.

Sheridan Broadcasting didn’t have faith in it. It was one of the factors leading to the sale of the stations. A spokesman for the company said that the system has “negatively impacted the measurement of overall radio listening with a disproportionate impact on minority-targeted formats.”

Wow, how about that we are being undercut and misrepresented. That alleged lack of loyalty is what makes it hard to sell airtime and airtime is what pays the bills. I’m here to tell you, Black people are loyal listeners and we want a radio station. Somebody get busy.

(E-mail the columnist at debbienorrell@aol.com.)

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