Does Censorship Make Business Sense? Inner City Broadcasting Has Joined the Battle against Violence in Music

By LLoyd, Fonda M. | Black Enterprise, April 1994 | Go to article overview

Does Censorship Make Business Sense? Inner City Broadcasting Has Joined the Battle against Violence in Music


LLoyd, Fonda M., Black Enterprise


Inner City Broadcasting has joined the battle against violence in music.

When radio stations censure offensive lyrics from their airwaves, is it an act of civic responsibility or a shrewd marketing move? According to radio station executives could be both.

Last December, Inner City Broadcasting Corp., a New York-based concern ranked No. 51 on the be Industrial/ service 100, joined a growing number of radio station owners in banning lyrics they consider derogatory, sexually explicit or violent. A month earlier, All Pro Broadcasting's KACE/ KAVE-FM in Los Angeles made a similar move.

The connection between media and violence in society has become a major issue for the television, motion picture and music industries. Most recently, "gangsta" rap, which has been charged with glorifying gun-related crime and misogyny, has been associated with the wave of violence and black-on-black crime plaguing urban America. African-American leaders from the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Calvin Butts to the Congressional Black Caucus, which is holding hearings on the issue, have taken a stand on rap music.

While announcements of the so-called "ban" generated mostly positive media attention for the stations, some industry experts believe the policy is much ado about nothing. They say broadcasters are always sensitive to what may offend listeners as well as advertisers, and that the "new" attitudes of these stations reflect business as usual. "I think this is a narrow problem," says Doug Willis, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, D.C. "There are relatively few urban stations and an even smaller portion that actually play songs with [objectionable] lyrics."

However, officials from both KACE and Inner City, the $22 million company that owns New York's WBLS-FM, insist that the bans are not a media ploy, but a genuine expression of concern for the black community.

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Does Censorship Make Business Sense? Inner City Broadcasting Has Joined the Battle against Violence in Music
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