Sunday, February 22, 2015

Joe "The Black Buzzard" Madison

The fact that now svelte Joe Madison even has a radio talk show and, concomitantly, an audience that listens to him is practically unfathomable but definitely inscrutable. In the final analysis, it serves to illustrate how an abysmal dearth of radical, progressive black voices on the airwaves has stymied a revolutionary black agenda from taking hold in America with ill-informed, inarticulate relics like Madison, and to a lesser degree an utterly contemptuous Coach Butch McAdams on another Radio One property (WOLB 1010 AM), refusing to make way for young, passionate and articulate Black voices; powerful, dynamic, young activists who are forced to wait impatiently in the wings while these “elders” spin regurgitated conservative talking points into factual evidence of “progress.” Back to Madison, I started listening to him to my chagrin by happenstance a couple of years ago when he was still on WOL-AM along with Al Sharpton (though he has long since departed for greener pastures at Sirius), which is Radio One's flagship station. Although Madison’s audience was disproportionately - or maybe proportionately depending on one’s perspective - comprised of black truck drivers, under informed people who had the time to listen to opinion driven rubbish masking an absence of data driven “information” if not news on his show, I was stunned to hear how much he loved the sound of his own voice and, consequently, how disrespectful, dismissive and contemptuous he was of listeners who were naïve enough to believe they could curry favor by trying to agree with him for more than 15 seconds. Now like Sharpton, whose show used to follow Madison on Radio One properties, where unlike Madison’s, it is nationally syndicated, and who often has Madison on his own undeserved television show “Politics Nation” on MSNBC, where Madison’s fawning, deferential demeanor toward Sharpton is so at odds with the persona displayed on his moribund radio show, you can practically hear him slurping on the good reverend’s dick dying as he is to host his own nationally televised talk show. Fortunately, he lacks the chops and now with the chop being given to two pretty decent journalists, Joy Reid and Karen Finney, who both had shows cancelled on MSNBC within the last two weeks due to declining ratings, there is little chance that Madison will ever get a shot at the top spot – even as a guest host. Madison is an aging civil rights baby who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to come into Radio One founder Cathy Hugh’s lens. Neither Sharpton nor Madison represent journalistic excellence: Excellence we used to champion in the African Diaspora by an influential segment of our community that grew up holding the belief that higher education is a means to upwards mobility. But with the advent of diminishing opportunities now only grudgingly allotted to a privileged few (typically characterized by 60 plus year old black civil rights activists) who have managed by osmosis to obtain all important access to stakeholders, policymakers, and other influential persons, people like Madison, Jackson, Sharpton and a veritable host of other self-appointed leaders in Black America have been grappling poorly with a generational divide because no longer do our children want to wait until these “elders” fade into obscurity through irrelevance. They are demanding a seat at the table to have a voice in shaping seminal events impacting our community like police brutality, injustice, and lack of access to tangible opportunities ex cetera. And though Madison unlike Sharpton is formally educated, you would not know it given his plain, unadorned delivery style, which is often devoid of any analysis, facts or evidence to support his oblique, highly generalized theses on current affairs. Since its inception, radio’s impact on American culture has been practically immeasurable. Modern popular culture is unthinkable without the early influence of radio. Entire genres of music that are now taken for granted, such as hip hop, owe their popularity and even existence to adventurous radio programs and, more importantly, hosts that publicized information of import to our community as well as emerging art forms. The forum has simply become too valuable to allow marginal players like Madison to hold such big roles; ones for which they are obviously ill-suited and, consequently, well out of their depth.

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