After 49 years, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's historic urban station is sold to St. Joseph Missions, to mixed reaction.
Hip Hop sales are not the only facet of the music industry on the decline. The radio stations that promote this genre of music are also dwindling. According to Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh’s lone radio station for Hip Hop, WAMO (106.7 and 107.1 FM), has been sold by the Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation to St. Joseph Missions for $8.9 million.
Along with this sale, St. Joseph Missions is expected to change the formatting of the radio station to religious programming. A startling change that is sure to have many Hip Hop fans retreating to their MP3 players and CDs. As a result of this, 35 employees at WAMO have also been let go as the effects of the recession have seemingly been felt again.
While this may have been startling news to some, not everyone was disappointed. Particularly Hip Hop artist and fans who were not fond of the Hip Hop music that WAMO played. In an interview on RealTalkExpress, local Hip Hop artists expressed their unfavorable opinions about radio station. DJ Buscrates explained,“It’s not that big of a deal to me, because you know, they play top 40 (on the billboard charts). They not really in it for cats like me.” Rapper Stretch seemed to have similar sentiments. “Seems like they already sold out in my eyes. Do we hear anything but what’s mainstream out there on WAMO?”
However, Armstead Brown seemed to provide an interesting perspective regarding this matter. “I have my criticisms of WAMO, like I do of all mainstream, Clear Channel-endorsed radio stations. They don’t play enough local music. They don’t have a wider selection. But at the same time, it’s the main Hip Hop station in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh needs a vehicle for Hip Hop.”
Regardless of the opinions of local fans and artist, losing WAMO certainly leaves a gap that no radio station has stepped forward to fill at the current moment. According to the Radio Business Report, “Sheridan was the only company serving the African American population of Pittsburgh which comprises only about seven percent of the market’s population.” The publication then went on to state that it expects “at least one” operator to fill the void that WAMO will be leaving vacant.
The Radio Business Report predicts an operator will fill the gap that WAMO’s departure will leave.
Reported by Ernest Crim.