Sunday, July 03, 2016
Black media taking bigger hit
When I was a child growing up in West Virginia, every month a newspaper was delivered to our home with the initials ZNP, which is Polish for Polish National Alliance. The Polish tavern in Monongah was named the PNA Tavern.
It was a way for Polish immigrants and their descendants to stay in touch with their roots, reading about Poland and events of interest of those with a Polish heritage.
Also in America, for African-Americans, there was Ebony and Jet, a product of Johnson Publishing Company. Just like ZNP, these magazines provided African-Americans with a voice and a source.
Muhammad Ali and Aretha Franklin got prominent coverage. When Barack Obama became the first black president, his first print interview was to Ebony.
Now Johnson has been sold to a private entity.
And Time owns Essence magazine and Viacom owns Black Entertainment Television.
Print publications everywhere are hemorraging. Black publications are hit even worse.
The story is as disturbing in radio. In 2013, there were 166 black-owned radio stations and 68 black-owned radio companies, down from 250 stations and 146 companies in 1995.
Only 12 commercial television stations are black-owned, in very small markets.
The decline was accelerated when, in 1995, the 1970s tax incentives for minorities media ownership began to be phazed out.
To read the New York Times story on the decline, click on