Kiss it goodbye: Station meets unceremonious fate
STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 5/5/2012, 9:43 p.m.
"They wanted to roll this out so fast, but we said slow it down," continued Muhammad. "It got to the point where New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook held hearings about PPMs. Arbitron said they'd look at the issue, at least they said they did, but at the end of the day, we're still hurting." Arbitron settled lawsuits in New York and California over PPMs and said that they evaluated their methods but still stood by its ratings.
Michael Baisden, who had a syndicated show on Kiss FM, wasn't shuffled over to WBLS. In response, Baisden has started an online petition to get his show on the air at 107.5. Baisden released a statement to accompany the petition.
"After I received the devastating news on Thursday that 98.7 Kiss FM in New York was taking my show off and going to an all-sports format, I thought to myself: Who is going to sound the alarm in New York when the next Jena 6 happens-or Trayvon Martin-or presidential election?" said Baisden in a statement. "And who's going to promote mentoring to save our children and talk about domestic violence and child molestation? When you come up with a radio personality's name who can be trusted to consistently and passionately address these issues on mainstream FM radio, please let me know.
"I don't know about you, but I think we're going down a dangerous path as African-Americans, and as Americans in general, when we allow our voices to be silenced on FM radio while personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others continue to spew racist, divisive and sexist language over hundreds of radio stations across the country," said Baisden.
Deon Levingston of WBLS told the AmNews that the station plans on incorporating the community-oriented programming that Kiss FM provided. Levingston also said that while Baisden is a beloved personality, he wants his station to have a more local feel.
"My goal is to create a stronger New York-based station with a stronger New York voice," said Levingston. "That's nothing against Michael Baisden, but we want to create a show in New York. I wish Michael nothing but the best."
I think what we have to do is, we have to take the best of Kiss and incorporate it into WBLS, and we've already done that on the air with some of the personalities," continued Levingston. "[with the show] 'Open Line,' we hope to incorporate[it] and we have to take some of the community service things and do those as well. Kiss had 30 years of serving the community. We realize that we can't take one station and be the voice that two stations were, but we can take one station and make it a stronger voice."
The final song Kiss FM played on Sunday night was Willie Hutch's "Brother's Gonna Work It Out." When the clock struck midnight on Monday morning and the station switched to ESPN, Diddy's "Hello Good Morning" came on the air, followed by the voice of sports journalist and TV personality Stephen A. Smith. At midnight, Kiss FM's Twitter page also switched to the WBLS logo.
And just like that, it was over.