Radio station in Detroit fires Black hosts, cancels shows

Written by on August 15, 2023

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The management of a Detroit radio station canceled its programs and dismissed the station’s Black hosts in the process.

WFDF 910 AM was primarily marketed to Black listeners and had been referred to as Detroit’s urban talk radio station. According to Axios, the 910 AM Superstation was a place for the area’s Black thought leaders to lend their voices to Black issues.

However, the station’s millionaire owner, Kevin Adell, said its format was no longer profitable and only garnered roughly 2,100 monthly listeners.

WFDF 910 AM was primarily marketed to Black listeners and was referred to as Detroit’s urban talk radio station. However, the station’s white owner said the format was no longer profitable. He fired Black hosts and canceled shows. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

“When you look at it, no one supported it,” said Adell, Axios reported. “I couldn’t get the community to support it … I didn’t have an obligation to anyone because no one was getting paid.”

Late last week, station management emailed the hosts informing them of the format change and saying their program would no longer air on WFDF. The message, delivered Friday at 8 p.m., said they were no longer permitted on the property, their access cards were revoked, and security would deny them entry.

Mort Meisner, Adell’s spokesman, told the Detroit Free Press that the station had switched permanently to an all-sports format and that there would be at least “one local hire.”

Detroit Metro Times reporter Steve Neavling, a show host and the station’s social media manager from 2017 to 2018, noted Monday in a thread on X that the Black community needs media space. However, he called the space at 910 AM “exploitative, toxic, and parasitic.”

“Adell,” he wrote, “exploited the Black community by refusing to pay his hosts, encouraging controversy, and turning sensitive racial topics into entertainment. As one of the only white people at the station, I was paid while the Black hosts were not.”

Chantel Watkins, who co-hosted a political education program on the station with John Conyers III, called Adell “a white man telling Black people what’s good content,” according to Axios.

Some hosts and former hosts — including former Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree, former Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers and former Michigan state Rep. Jewell Jones — have been associated with several highly publicized scandals.

As a result of its poor ratings, 910 AM was not listed among Detroit’s top 30 radio sources in the Nielsen ranking from July 2023.

As of Monday morning, the station was broadcasting syndicated sports programming.

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