Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Media, Culture, and Grenada

Last November I took a trip to the beautiful island of Grenada, also known as the island of spice. The island is an inactive volcano that is mostly rain forest. I was surrounded by clear blue water and rich white sandy beaches. Grenadians are beautiful and friendly people that like to take life easy and one day at a time. It was like paradise! The most surprising part of my trip, however, was their media. The cable was made up of all the same American cable channels plus a few Caribbean channels. I didn’t miss a beat on any of my favorite weekly shows. Although their cable was clearly Americanized, they still found a way to show all local programming after a certain time in the evening. When I turned on the radio I wondered if that too would be Americanized. The programming was mostly Reggae and Soca music throughout the morning and early afternoon. In the evening I heard a lot of Hip Hop and R&B. I was even intrigued by the use of both American and Grenadian voice-overs and imaging. Observing all of this made me realize how much the U.S. is such a dominate influence globally. In my 24 years of growing up in the U.S I have been socialized to think a certain way about how life should be. The American philosophy, arguably, cultivates beauty as a physical trait, convenience as a necessity, and quantity over quality. This trip, however, allowed me to open my mind to the fact that there are other ways of doing things, and I want to know more about it. This revelation made me really consider programming and how to make it universal. WHUR WORLD is committed to reaching out to the world and providing quality programming for all. As an Assistant Programmer I’m constantly pondering different ways to develop shows and make them relevant to everyone. Although Grenada’s programming may be heavily influenced by the dominate American culture; including more shows and programs from other countries in American media might prove to be beneficial. Not only can it expose many Americans to other cultures and different mentalities, but it can also unify people by providing a chance to develop a better understanding of each other. It can also reconnect people that have traveled and dispersed around the world to their own cultures. Since I took that trip, my mind has been open to doing more traveling, and learning more about other cultures. I’ve realized that there’s more to life than what I’ve been socialized to think, and as a radio programmer at WHUR WORLD I have the opportunity to encourage others to open their minds by providing quality programs that offer a variety of information, music, and global philosophies.


Monday, September 21, 2009

"What It Do"

As I post my first blog ever, I can’t help but think of back-in-the-day when I was first introduced to the computer. As I move through life so many things change but other things remain the same. As an intelligent person I try to see why some things change but others remain the same. As we have become more technologically advanced, we have become more ignorant as people. I have a suggestion; “Get Off the Boo Boo”! Put the drugs down, put the mouse down, and put the drinks down. Open your eyes to what is going on around you. When your time comes you will be judged for what you do. I know I am rambling but isn’t that what a blog is about. Everyone has an opinion now because of TV, MySpace, facebook, and all the other countless web/blog sites. No one really cares about your crazy self and your opinion. If you are not apart of the solution, you are part of the problem. If you are not going to be a part of the solution then keep your comments to yourself. If you can’t come up with a better solution to what we are going through as a nation of human beings then shut up! I can’t stand a negative fool! Analyze the man or woman in the mirror before you open your mouth. Take a nice hard look in the mirror and ask yourself “What am I doing to better myself, my family, and my community?”

The South lost the Civil War and our President is Black! This is a great country with some stupid people in it. I say that because people don’t see that we have so much more potential as a country. Stop hating each other because of stupid arbitrary reasons. Who cares if someone is Black or White! Who cares if someone is a Democrat or Republican! We need to help one another! We need to love one another! We need to love ourselves first! If you do not love yourself, how can you possibly love someone else? I am pretty sure we have more in common than we do not. I like sports. I like music. I like beer. I like nice cars. I like money. I like books. I like knowledge. I like barbecue!

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would become a producer of special programs related to the African Diaspora. On a daily basis I produce Black History Moments (BHM) and Lets Talk Money (LTM). My plan is to inform people whether it is about history or finances. I love my gig! To help someone learn about the history of African Americans is such an honor. I was called to do this by forces other than myself and now I believe it was meant to be. I love the good, the bad, and the ugly history because it tells us about ourselves. In addition, it tells you how far we have come and where we need to go. I produce because I love it. There is nothing more empowering than coming up with an idea, researching it, and then executing the plan. Execute something good in your life and in someone else’s. The key word today: LOVE!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


As a young girl, I often saw glimpses of violent behavior in my own family. While I did not know the term for such chaos, I believed it was simply part of life. It was not until much later in my adult life that I was able to put a name to the nonsense. It’s called Domestic Violence. Simply put, domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Every Saturday morning at 9EST on WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2, we seek to break the cycle of domestic abuse on “The Sighlent Storm.”

As the Executive Producer, I have the unique opportunity to work with two individuals who are not only passionate about the issue of domestic violence; but they also have a wealth of experience in the arena. Denise McCain and Mandrell Birks are the former Executive Director and Community Outreach Director of the Family Crisis Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It is the only comprehensive shelter in Prince George’s County to assist victims, children, and perpetrators of domestic violence. With that background, Denise and Mandrell bring a sense of compassion, knowledge, and common sense approach to a very complex issue. Our goal is to help spread the word about a topic that is not often talked about.

The reality is that in America alone every 20 seconds a woman is abused and every 38 seconds a man is battered. These figures are alarming at best. Domestic violence is an equal opportunity destroyer that occurs whether you live in North America, South America, Asia, Antarctica, Africa, Europe, or Australia. On the “Sighlent Storm,” we strive to pull the covers off this issue and get a constant dialogue going in order to eradicate abuse.

Each week, we take a different aspect of the issue and delve deep inside to get to solutions. Whether it’s a man beating a woman, a woman beating her man, or a child witnessing abuse; “The Sighlent Storm” is going to talk about it with experts from a variety of fields. We speak with victims, perpetrators, clergy, elected leaders, health care practitioners, law enforcement, judicial experts, youth, and advocates. We know that domestic violence is a learned behavior that impacts, not just the family, but also the entire community.

“The Sighlent Storm” is the only program on radio, television, or the web devoted to making domestic violence a thing of the past. Amazingly, every week we begin our show highlighting domestic violence stories in the news. Since we began the show in 2007, there has never been a week where there weren’t at least three stories about abuse. We look forward to the day when there are no stories to report. That is our goal. That is our prayer.

Join us for insightful, controversial, and real conversations with real solutions Every Saturday morning at 9EST…only on WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our Stories, Our Way

As a specials producer for WHUR-World, I have the opportunity to research, write, and report stories that I feel may make an impact because of their relevance. In the series Activists and Politics, I focus on social and political activism among African Americans. As a young African American woman, it is important to me to tell our stories. The first installment is entitled “One Vote, One Chance: The Ballot in Black America”, which aired on November 3rd, 2008. The special focused on the history of the Black political process; from the ending of slavery, to the Civil Rights movement, to present day. Coincidently, the special aired the day before the first African American President, Barack Obama, was elected to office. Like numerous others, I watched the television feeling a range of emotions from happiness to disbelief. But then I took a moment to reflect on the piece, which I worked on for months before. Doing a piece on voting in the Black community really opened my eyes and made me acutely aware of the fact that I would not be experiencing such a historic day without the struggle of my ancestors.

Since the thirteenth amendment was passed, Black people have been fighting for equality. Reading and hearing about the blood that my ancestors shed so that my generation could have a better life was inspiring and emotional. It was motivating and life changing to hear stories about Ella Baker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hammer and countless others, who fought for basic rights that we take for granted today, like voting. Knowing that there were so many outrageous obstacles designed to prevent Black people from voting like literacy tests, poll taxes, and lynching often makes me wonder how Black people got the courage to confront those obstacles and fight for the right to vote. I feel that showing the history of the Freedom Summer of 1964 or the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party is important. It is important for African Americans to continue learning and exposing ourselves, as well as others, to our history. As a young woman, it is sometimes hard for me to fathom that my ancestors were beaten, bitten by dogs, drenched my fire hoses, and killed in order to make a political statement. But I am more than grateful for their courage and determination to make life for African Americans in this country better.

The story of voting in the African American community is an important piece of our rich heritage. Although we have elected one of our own into office, there is still more work to do. Racism and discrimination still affect our community. But we can not move forward without knowing our history. And that is the beauty of Activists and Politics. The series tells our history our way.

***Stay tuned to WHUR-World for more exciting editions of Activists and Politics. ***


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Takeover: More Than Just a Program

Steve Robinson, Producer, WHUR-WORLD

“As the rhythm designed to bounce, what counts is that the rhymes designed to fill your mind/Now that you've realized the prides arrived, we got to pump the stuff to make us tough/From the heart it's a start, a work of art…” lyrics from Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”

Q: What is Hip-Hop? Is it a genre of music, a movement, a culture, a multi-million dollar a year business?
A: All of the Above

Hip-Hop, in its earlier days, was an outlet, or a voice, for a group of people who, in a rhythmic fashion, had a message to share with the rest of the world. Over the years, and with the inception of mainstream media, the foundation for which this genre of music was initially built on has evolved. The evolution has caused Hip Hop to become one of the highest revenue grossing entities globally. Though this would seem to be a positive progression, it caused a negative divide within the genre. Artists and fans that love the genre for the core values the music was established on are constantly in competition with artists and fans that see the monetary value as the sole motivation to create music. It would seem that, as there once was, there would be room for all of these artists to demonstrate their talents through the music, but that isn’t the case. Well, until the creation of “The Takeover”

Q: What is The Takeover?
A: The Takeover is a program on WHUR-WORLD that allows for the artists of the genre who do not receive an adequate amount of airplay a home to showcase their talents musically. The Takeover has two weekly objectives: To equally entertain and educate. The music library for The Takeover in unconventional: meaning that you will not consistently hear the same handful of songs when you listen to the show.Weekly topics, news, creative segments and an extensive library of Hip Hop music have allowed The Takeover to be referred to as a “breathe of fresh air” by some of the pioneers in the music industry.

Q: Whom is the takeover meant for?
A: Everyone

The Takeover was created for all listeners. For the coreWHUR-WORLD listener, the Takeover allows for insight into the Hip Hop generation. For the older members of the Hip Hop Generation, the show allows for them to reconnect with all the reasons they fell in love with the genre in the first place. For the younger members of the generation, education is key. The Takeover shows this generation the artists who paved the way for the artists they idolize today, while showing love to said idols.

So I encourage you to listen to The Takeover every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 pm Eastern Standard Time, on WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD-2. I also encourage you to follow the WHUR-WORLD staff and me on here as we discuss more topics involving the genre of music I hold near and dear to my heart: HIP-HOP!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Making the music work

Joe Gorham, Music Director. WHUR-WORLD

WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD 2 is merely a reflection of WHUR –FM 96.3 the oldest black owned and operated radio station in Washington, D. C. which launched December 10, 1971. WHUR is the first commercial broadcast facility owned by a historically black university. Howard University is the proud proprietor of this heritage radio property.

The original plan for WHUR-WORLD music format was to return its musical format to its glory days reflecting the original music played on WHUR. The blending of Contemporary Jazz, R&B, World Jazz, Afro Cuban Jazz, Poetry, Blues would be the standard for music and with the addition of Hip-Hop on WHUR-WORLD would also make a bold statement to this new stations integrity. A few of the artists that are the staple of our playlist are “The Crusaders, Al Jarreau, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Sarah Vaughan, Gil Scott-Heron, Elton John, Nate “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Miriam Makeba , Keiko Matsui, Hugh Masakela, Common and T.I.

We actually set up our musical rotation based on its genre. This would allow us the possibility of exhausting our entire library system. So much music had been added to the WHUR library over the years and a lot of music from that format was forgotten, it was necessary to locate those ole songs to make the WHUR-WORLD format operable. So this is what we did. We merged the original WHUR music format with part of the present WHUR format which reflects more of this era’s musical influences.

An original musical program format called “The Quiet Storm” was a big part of the WHUR radio phenomenon. This show has been copied by many other radio stations in America that have totally missed its conceptual intent. One thing to understand about the original musical format is that there was no format.

As you listen to WHURWORLD.COM remember the music format is based on no format. This allows us to program the best of what we consider to be good music. It provides a wide variety of music for the listener at the same time reflecting our different musical genres. We hope to continue to provide this type of programming as long as there remains outside the box thinking in radio.

Please take time to listen to WHURWORLD.COM. It is a product you’re sure to enjoy.