If you’ve tuned in to Bay Area FM radio over the past couple of years you’ll have noticed that it has quite literally lost its soul. When I was in high school there were two hardcore soul stations and now we have none. In the most heartbreaking case of corporate takeovers in recent memory Entercom Inc bought out 102.9 KBLX.
KBLX was that station that you hated when you were little because it was the only thing your parents ever listened to (grown folks music) yet when you finally got your own car you found yourself instinctively dialing it in as one of your six favorites. KBLX never played rap music. If anything they would take a hip-hop song remove the lyrics and add a saxophone solo. I do believe KBLX was very instrumental in the underground unwrapped movement (pun intended). Things, however, were doomed to fall apart. When I turn to the station now I hear the Notorious BIG, Will Smith, and other rap songs played by disc jockeys that look nothing like me. When I listen to “The New” KBLX on the way to work in the morning I don’t hear my Cousin Kevin Brown airing live from San Francisco I am forced to listen to a prerecorded broadcast of Steve Harvey. It’s an utter disgrace.
98.1 Kiss FM was also a soul station but it played more upbeat records than KBLX. If KBLX was playing Marvin Gaye then Kiss was playing The Gap Band. If Kiss had your head rocking to Teena Marie then KBLX was grooving to Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. But now the flavor on Kiss 98.1 has been diluted. For some reason they thought it was a good idea to play 1980’s punk rock like Blondie and Eurythmics. It’s so bizarre because no formal announcement has been made as to why the change has taken place. Faithful listeners are left scratching their heads and most of them wanting to tune out but there is really nowhere else to go.
What happened to black radio with positive and charismatic black disc jockeys? Corporations are going to continue to ravage our African-American culture until we’re left with nothing unless we do something about it. We need black radio back, black owned businesses, and a sense of black worth that is not entrenched in consumerism. Dr. Martin Luther King saw the power in Black Radio over 45 years ago. It’s a shame that this too has been taken from us.