Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Radio One's new urban talk format, featuring Al Sharpton

Two powerhouses of urban radio are teaming up to launch an African-American-centered talk-radio network, the cornerstone of which will be programming hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Baltimore-based Radio One, the nation's seventh-largest radio company, and Reach Media, which owns and syndicates the highly successful ''Tom Joyner Morning Show," aim to roll out the network after the first of the year. Radio One owns a controlling interest in Reach Media.

The ambitious plan was discussed yesterday by Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins III during an interview at the new WILD offices at Marina Bay. WILD-AM, which will carry the new network's programming, and its sister station, WILD-FM (the former Hot 97.7 WBOT-FM), underwent format changes on Oct. 20. Both are owned by Radio One.

If all goes as planned, the fledgling talk network will begin broadcasting on as many as 10 of Radio One's 70 stations, including AM outlets in Baltimore, Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, Washington D.C., and a handful of other cities. The programming would also be offered to stations not owned by Radio One.

''When we look across the landscape of formats that are missing," Liggins said, ''black -- African-American -- [talk radio] is one that is really underrepresented."

While programming has not been finalized, Liggins said that the as-yet-unnamed network will provide programming from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.



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