Network should introduce, preserve diversity

Sept. 1, 2013 at 4:01 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

While there have been some improvements in the racial diversity on Southern or "rural" themed channels (with Great American Country devoting entire specials to black country music artists, for example), for the most part, however, there are not enough improvements in this matter of business to make a major difference. GAC's main rival, CMT, did not even try to produce any specials spotlighting black artists, while keeping their "original" programming squarely on white people. But the real low blow was the July 25 launch of "Rural Radio" (Sirius XM Channel 80), a radio channel geared toward "rural America," mainly focusing on agriculture and western lifestyle. Unfortunately, the entire current hosting staff of this channel is all Caucasian, which is not a good idea for a new channel not owned by a major or semi-major entertainment company. The utter lack of non-white hosts or anchors on the channel effectively hurt the potential minority demographics that "Rural Radio" should be building. It is disturbing because of similar programming tactics employed by its owner, Rural Media Group, for its television channels. In fact, I watch one of their channels, Family Net, with some regularity. Unfortunately, Family Net only has three shows with black leads on its roster. "Future Phenoms," "Ambush Makeover" and "Faith in Practice," and the channel refuses to promote them at all, especially "Ambush Makeover," which is the only show they have that features a female minority in a hosting position. But I am fearing that it is dropping these shows this coming fall, and if what RMG is doing is any indication, these two are more than likely going to be replaced with more white-hosted fare. I suggest that the minority readers reading this send in their letters to Family Net regarding the fates of these shows. The address is Family Net Viewer Mail, 1 Valmont Plaza, 4th Floor, Omaha, NE 68154. I hope that the people at Family Net will know that minority viewers would like to see minorities hosting shows and will apply this to Rural Radio as well.

Jeremy Aron Patterson, Yoakum



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