Document Type


Date of Award



College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS)

Degree Name

MA in Communication

First Advisor

Professor E. Bun Lee


THE STRUGGLE AND FIGHT TO SAVE BLACK RADIO: WILL BLACK RADIO SURVIVE? By Fatia Michelle Edwards, M.A. Texas Southern University, 2012 Professor E. Bun Lee, Advisor Media research is valuable because of the way it affects our society, in the industry of radio broadcast it is helpful in determining the needs of the audience. Moreover, it is a must in knowing where our African-American audience is and why Black radio is struggling to survive. An in-depth interview was held with a music director at a local radio station as well as a convenience sample conducted on 136 African-American audiences. In an effort to find answers these three research questions were developed and a study was conducted. Research Question l. What radio programs do African-Americans listen to? The study determined that African-Americans listen to radio mainly for weather whereas many listen in for a combination of programming, like news, weather and sports. Due to the decline in the radio listen audience and the ever changing world of technology, the research also investigated other forms of media that listeners enjoyed when not listening to radio. In many ways this is damaging to the once vital industry of radio. However, it is of great importance that managers of radio handle the emergence of technology in a manner that will keep black radio relevant. Research Question 2: What other forms of media is enjoyed when not listening to radio? The findings were interesting; an overwhelming percentage of 1 2 respondents enjoyed the use of the internet with television coming second and then cellular phones" However, the IPods and MP3 players are significantly popular for their music content. With new laws constantly emerging in. communications the Legislation HR 848, the "Performance Rights" Act, that was sponsored by Detroit congressman John Conyers would cause great distress on Black radio in its efforts to have fees paid for songs played on the radio. The study wanted to know if respondents were aware of this bill and how the thought it would affect Black radio. Research Question 3: What impact would the possible passing of the Legislation HR 848 , have on Black radio? A large number of respondents had not heard of the bill and those that had felt that it would affect the quality of programming on Black stations or worse cause then to be shut down completely. The research also determined that the African-American community valued the programs that identified with their community. Programming that focused on the health concerns of the Black community. They favored the stations that brought awareness to HIV and AIDS, informing listeners of where to get free testing. Also, stations that provided fundraisers for Historically Black College and University's and back -to-school rallies for youth needing school supplies and haircuts. Respondents were appreciative of information given on home ownership and car purchases and a huge favorite was the "take your loved one to the Dr." campaign. This Research was conducted to determine why there is such a decline 3 in black radio programming, audiences, and ownership. In conducting this study I was able to determine how African-Americans felt in terms of Black radio programming reaching out to their community, if they felt that they identified with their health concerns and what the possible passing of the new legislation HR 848 the "performance rights" act would have on Black radio.