A caller to the newspaper Wednesday asked if it was true that 1290 WMCS AM, the radio station known as “The Talk of The Town” that gave our community a voice and educated us on issues important to Black Milwaukeeans, was no more?
When we told the caller yes, she became upset at the news of its demise, which took place Tuesday, Feb.26, at 10 a.m. on the dot.
The caller preceeded to vent her frustration, urging the community to do something to express its outrage that a radio station our community depended on to counter the perceived lies of the mainstream media was off the air.
The caller hinted 1290 might have been the victim of the “powers-that-be” (or as MCJ Columnist Mike Holt called in a recent column, “The Hand”) that pull the strings on everything going on in the city of Milwaukee politically, economically, as well as the direction of education–even in the Black community (compliments of some of us who have compromised their principles and side with the mainstream agenda over their people’s needs).
She theorized the radio station was targeted for having the audacity to speak the truth on issues those “powers” wanted us to remain ignorant about.
Truth be told, the reason for the jarring end to a Black radio era was business, pure and simple. Despite championing causes such as protests against police brutality, the importance of voting, education issues ranging from the high drop-out rate to the impact of School Choice and Charters, and the so-called political maliase in city and county goverment that has led to attempts by some in local corporate suites to suggest “blowing-up” county government, issues can never trump the almighty dollar.
MCJ Publisher Patricia O. Pattillo said it best when she heard the news: This–whether it be print, television or radio–is still a business; and to run a business, to keep the doors open, you must make money.
Sadly, despite co-owner Willie Davis’ best intentions and personal financial investment, he could no longer justify to his partners (and probably to himself in the end) continuing 1290s operation and much needed voice that countered the negative perceptions of the mainstream.
What happened to WMCS should serve as reminder to our community that we must support our institutions with our dollars through supporting the businesses that advertise in Black media (print and broadcast) or (if you’re a business owner) buying advertising from the various Black media that have accepted the responsibility of speaking truth-to-power on our behalf.
Communications is not free…as freedom is not free. There is a cost. We must–as a community–learn economics is the stablizing force of our community. We must spend with each other within our community to keep its institutions alive.
We encourage all to read the MCJ in print and/or online. Our website is updated daily. We also encourage you to forward your editorial concerns to us as well. We remain committed to sharing your concerns with our readership.
Comedian and activist Dick Gregory said it best: “Money is not power. Education is not power. Information is power.”
1290 WMCS provided us information so that we could empower ourselves and move our community forward. Its silence on the airwaves (if you don’t count Elvis Presley songs) is deafening, will be sorely missed, and hard to replace.