by Taki S. Raton
In response to the sudden demise of radio station 1290 WMCS, a community forum has been planned for Monday, March 11 at the Brotherhood of Firefighters Hall, 7717 West Good Hope Rd, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
A special tribute to TJ, 1290’s operations manager, is included in the evening’s agenda.
A panel of community stakeholders has also been convened to share views, opinions and concerns as to what this loss means and the moving forward options available to fill the void of broadcasting much needed news, information, and issue analysis of particular interest to and for Black Milwaukeeans.
Confirmed panelists to date include Sherwin Hughes, Dr. William Rogers, Homer Blow, and Nathaniel J. Stampley, Sr.
“My goal for organizing this gathering is to offer an opportunity for our community to respond with gratitude for the voice that 1290 has provided for over 20 years,” says Carmen C. Ray, President and C.E.O. of Rays Consulting and Training and co-author of “Raising Healthy Children in an Unhealthy World.”
As reported in the Milwaukee Community Journal’s February 27, 2013 edition, 1290 AM, “The Talk of the Town” was closed down on Tuesday, February 26 at precisely 10 a.m. The reason reported, according to the MCJ account, was “business, pure and simple.”
Quoting MCJ Publisher Patricia O. Pattillo upon being notified of such an unfortunate circumstance, she positioned that, whether it is print, television or radio, “This is still a business; and to run a business, to keep the doors open, you must make money.”
It was further cited in the MCJ editorial that what happened to WMCS “should serve as a reminder to our community that we must support our institutions with our dollars through supporting the businesses that advertise with 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.”
The editorial adds that as freedom is not free, “Communication is not free.
There is a cost,” and that we must learn that economics is “the stabilizing force of our community” and we must spend with each other to keep our institutions alive.
MCJ encourages all to read the MCJ in print and/or online and that its website if updated daily.
In a message on her facebook page, TJ expressed that, “It is with great sadness that I say that 1290 WMCS as we have know it for over 30 years has changed. The days of ‘Talk of the Town’ are over. Thank you all who have supported the station.”
According to a March 2 MetroMilwaukee.org posting, the WMCS call letters will be changed to WZTI-AM thereby launching its “Martini Radio” programming featuring the “Rat Pack” era maladies of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin , Tony Bennett and modern artists to include Adele, Norah Jones, and Michael Buble.
“1290 WMCS provided us information so that we could empower ourselves and move our community forwards,” cites the MCJ editorial in its closing. “Its silence on the airwaves will be deafening, will be sorely missed, and hard to replace.”
The scheduled Monday gathering is free and open to the public. For any additional information on this event, please email Ray at: [email protected].
MCJ Editor Thomas Mitchell, Jr. (at right next to 1290 WMCS AM “Morning Magazine” host Eric Von) was one of four panelists who participated in a discussion on how small businesses, churches, schools and community-based organizations can effectively sell their events and stories to the media. The discussion, the signature event of Black Public Relations Society (BPRS) Milwaukee, was held at Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd. The other panelists were: WISN Channel 12 Anchor Portia Young, who was also the moderator for the discussion, Kenya Evans, a freelance journalist; James Causey, editorial writer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Von. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)