“No, this is not an April fool’s day joke. I have no idea who Skip Murphy is either,” wrote media journalist Rodney Ho last week on Michael Baisden’s replacement Skip Murphy who will host a show called Skip Murphy in the afternoon.
Ho was not alone. Twitter was in overdrive yesterday, the first day Baidsen was off the air, as listeners discovered that the popular host was off the air as of April Fools Day. A e-mail sent to affiliate radio stations read, “Murphy will team with Jasmine Sanders as co-host on the program featuring celebrity guests participating on a continuous basis. The Urban/R&B program will play hits from today, the 80’s and the 90’s.”
The situation that led to Baisden’s departure, a dispute with his syndicator Cumulus Media, has inspired much discussion over Black media ownership and who really holds the power in broadcasting.
With 8 million listeners daily, Baiden was instrumental in using his platfrom on informing the Black community.
The Michael Baisden Show often focused on the Trayvon Martin tragedy, the Jena 6 scandal and voting rights as well as other political matters. Baisden teamed up with Rev. Al Sharpton to get the word out on the issue of a spate of new voter ID laws that appeared the year before President Obama was re-elected.
With Baisden’s departure, Joe Madison and Rev. Al Sharpton remain the only two Black radio hosts who consistently confront political issues with little divergence into entertainment related topics.
Baisden’s departure comes at an interesting time in Black journalism. Last Friday March 29 was not only the last day on the air for Baisden, it was also the last day for Black journalists Roland Martin and Soledad O’Brien at CNN.