It’s Wednesday evening and from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Miguel Lloyd hits the airwaves bringing his commentary and perspective on events impacting the minority community.
Miguel Lloyd. Miguel Lloyd? Is he with Clear Channel? MSNBC? FOX? No. No. Definitely not. Mr. Lloyd is definitely burning a new path in media via the Internet, a curve he has jumped out in front of and intends to stay ahead.
Mr. Lloyd and his sidekick Nikkia “The Super Producer” Ganney present and discuss a spectrum of topics including sports, religion, entertainment, personal finance, and politics on “Life Full Circle Radio”, a blog talk radio show. The topics they present along with a myriad of experts seem to be areas that for the most part are not presented from an African American perspective in mainstream media.
Part of the reason why mainstream radio might not be presenting the African American perspective on these topics may have to do with law and politics of telecommunications. According to Mr. Lloyd when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 passed, corporations were able to expand their portfolio of radio stations. “Radio stations became less the pillars of the community and more like commodities”, Mr. Lloyd said. The loyalty of urban radio exceeds other demographics, Mr. Lloyd pointed out.
Another part of the reason is the current dichotomy in urban radio. First, African American or black radio transitioned to urban radio, according to Mr. Lloyd, a radio veteran of two decades. Second, there is the distinction between “entertainment” led radio as personified by Steve Harvey, and “cause” led radio personified by Michael Baisden and Tom Joyner. Formats in urban radio are moving to entertainment base. A personality like Steve Harvey will less likely be seen pounding the pavement for certain social or political causes, unlike Messrs. Baisden and Joyner.
The loss of urban-formatted stations, however, may cause entertainment leaning personalities like Steve Harvey to provide more cause driven programming, observed Mr. Lloyd. As an example, Mr. Lloyd discussed the recent switch by New York City’s KISS-FM from an urban format to a sports format. Sports is one the more highly sought after formats along with adult contemporary said Mr. Lloyd. The sports format transcends race, he added.
In a highly charged election year, the Black community needs more than just sports jocks waxing philosophical about the expected performance of Tim Tebow, however. The loss of KISS-FM or any other station in urban areas around the country means black listeners have fewer alternatives for getting a diversity of information.
This is the curve that Mr. Lloyd’s Life Full Circle Radio hopes to move ahead of. Although marketing is the biggest challenge for Internet radio, Mr. Lloyd has observed that marketers understand that there will be other alternatives to traditional radio including Internet radio.
“Terrestrial radio was behind the curve”, said Mr. Lloyd. “The advantage was they had the audience. They did not see value in online radio because of revenues. They couldn’t measure online revenues.”
With social media, everyone has a voice, said Mr. Lloyd. Social media calls for engagement. The format gives people the perception of a powerful voice; that someone is interested in what you have to say. Partly for this reason traditional or terrestrial radio has to raise its engagement game. Advertisers see the value of knowing in real time what people are saying about their products. This availability and need for real time info puts that pressure on traditional radio.
When it comes to leveraging a voice in an environment where there is less relevant news getting to the African American community, Mr. Lloyd’s past experience in radio and his passion for information and today’s media is apparently bringing him full circle personally and professionally.
“To turn a blind eye like what is going on around us does not exist is absurd”, said Mr. Lloyd. “It is better to engage you in great dialogue, to inform you, and to be informed.”
Recalling his early childhood days, Mr. Lloyd shared his interest in taking note of the people who directed and produced the television shows he watched as an eight-year old in his grandmother’s house. Now, as a married father of two daughters, Mr. Lloyd looks at the information we receive from the media with a different framework. “It’s important to know that Romney or Obama may impact your pocketbook more than Labron James.”