With so much political and social stratification in a system by which people depend on resources for upward mobility and, in some instances, survival, it is alarming that St. Louis is without a daily black talk and information radio station or program.
I am proud to remind you that I started black talk radio on KATZ in late 1979. My morning show would begin with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and I would combine and play songs of hope and inspiration such as “Young, Gifted and Black,” “I Wish I Knew How it Feel to be Free,” “Open Up My Heart to the World this Morning,” “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” and James Cleveland’s “Jesus Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” among many others.
I would speak to local mayors, school superintendents, police chiefs, local, county and national elected officials, as well as clergy and religious leaders of every belief. Every weekend I would have state Representative Charles Quincy Troupe, state Senators J.B. Jet Banks and John Bass to update us on the weekly actions in Jefferson City, and have Alderwomen Sharon Tyus, Velma Jean Bailey and Irene J. Smith report on the events in the aldermanic chamber. I’d begin the week with state Representative Paula Carter, state Senator Maida Coleman and others giving us a preview of pending legislation and prepare us for us what to expect in the future.
Regular guests on the program included Wale Amusa, Onion Horton, Betty Thompson, Ida Goodwin Woolfolk, Clifford Wilson, Greg Freeman, George Curry, Wyvetter Younge, Gordon Bush, Carl Officer and others from both sides of the Mississippi River.
At night we had Bob Law with his nationally syndicated program “Night Talk” with news and information and guests from across the nation.
Later a host of black talk programs materialized, such as Richard “Onion” Horton, Liz Brown, Hank Thompson and Sharon McGee, Betty Thompson, Rev. Cleo Willis, Zaki Baruti, Ishmael Ahmed Lateef, Keith Antoine Willis, Craig Riggins, Howard “Dallas” Jamison, RaeJ Johnson, and many others.
So what happened? Why is the African-American community left in an information desert? Why are there only Freeman Bosley Jr. and Demetrius Johnson and a couple of others on weekends to make available news and material vital to half the city’s population and to the thousands of African Americans who reside in St. Louis County and the Metro East?
Who is there to debate our socio-economic class system, and the dimensions of social inequality that exists in the United States? Where are the conversations about race, gender, education, income level, and changes in the workplace? Where are the examinations of emotional pain such as eating disorders, abuse, suicide, anxiety and depression, attachment disorder and self-hatred? Who will provide the forum for discussions responding to racism, discrimination and oppression?
St. Louis radio stations have failed and neglected us. They overwhelm us with music and entertainment, but what about programs of substance? Needless to say, it is our fault and they believe that we get what we deserve – nothing other than good times and funny jokes. Right?
they believe that we get what we deserve – nothing other than good times and funny jokes. Right?
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday night at 10 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. on NLEC-TV Ch. 24.2. I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369, on e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @berhay.