Sunday, July 27, 2008
5744: Tuning In Obama.
From The New York Times…
Black Radio on Obama Is Left’s Answer to Limbaugh
By Jim Rutenberg
ATLANTA — Warren Ballentine, one of black talk radio’s new stars, was on a tear against Senator John McCain as he broadcast from the Greenbriar Mall here last week, blithely dismissing Mr. McCain’s kind words about Senator Barack Obama at the recent N.A.A.C.P. national convention.
“He came out talking about how good of a race Barack Obama was running, and how proud he was of Barack,” Mr. Ballentine said. “You know he went back home and said, ‘I can’t believe I spoke in front of all those Negroes today!’”
“He was pandering to the crowd, talking about how he felt when Martin Luther King Jr. died,” Mr. Ballentine went on. “However, he didn’t vote for the holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.”
Rush Limbaugh, meet your black liberal counterprogramming. Mr. Ballentine is one of the many African-American radio hosts and commentators who are aggressively advocating for Mr. Obama’s election on black-oriented radio stations daily.
Since Mr. Limbaugh first flexed his tonsils two decades ago, Democrats have publicly worried about their lack of an answer to him and his imitators, who have proven so adept at motivating conservative Republicans to go to the polls, especially for President Bush.
Now it is Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who has a harmonious chorus of broadcast supporters addressing a vital part of his coalition, feeding and reflecting the excitement blacks have for his candidacy in general. Mr. Obama is getting support from white liberal talk radio hosts as well, but the backing he is getting from black radio hosts could be especially helpful to his campaign’s efforts to increase black turnout and raise historically low voter registration enough to change the math of presidential elections in battlegrounds and traditionally Republican states like this one.
“Urban stations can be in ’08 what Rush Limbaugh delivered for conservatives a generation ago,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has a two-year-old radio program that is now syndicated on stations throughout the country, including in states like Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina. “If you look at the political map of where our shows are, it matches the gap of unregistered voters.”
[Read the full story here.]