The Black-owned talk radio station WWRL is switching to a Spanish-language format and leaving its progressive format behind, according to sources close to the AmNews. The silencing of yet another Black radio station is scheduled for January 1.
The station gave employees the news on Friday via email and phone calls. Employees informed the AmNews that the station is citing low advertising revenue coming in as a factor for the change. All current programming will be off the air.
WWRL is home to several progressive Black radio talk shows including “The WWRL Morning Show with Mark Riley,” “All Things New York with Rennie Bishop” and “The Armstrong Williams Show.”
Riley said he learned the news Friday afternoon and wasn’t surprised. He told the AmNews that the station was showing the signs far before the announcement.
“I knew there were trying to a roll out Spanish-language formatted stations about the country,” he said. The nature of the business has changed so dramatically. They just dropped a handful of progressive radio stations across the country. It’s part of a trend.”
The station is also known for giving the labor movement a voice with its variety of programming hosted by unions including Local 237 Teamsters, DC 37 and the Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA).
Gregory Floyd of Local 237 Teamsters, who hosts “Reaching Out,” said he received an email and phone call from the station Friday informing him about the change. He’s been on the air for almost three years and compares the station change to KISS FM’s shut down in 2012
“We did not know it was coming,” he told the AmNews. “Essentially we’ve lost one of the great Black institutions in radio in New York City.”
WWRL is owned by Access. 1 Communications, a 24-hour African American owned and operated radio broadcasting company. and has been in progressive format since 2006. The station broadcasts syndicated programs from several sources including Dial Global, Radio One, Fox News Radio and Talk Radio Network
Officials from WWRL have not yet responded for comment.