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How you indentify the 'diversity' of the programming?

From: Otis Hardy Maclay [KPFT Program Director]
Wednesday, June 25, 2003



And now for something completely different.

The question no one seems to be asking is how you indentify the 'diversity' of the programming. Is it simply a question of the 'color' of the host? Does the subject matter matter? If a black programmer does a show on the stock market is that a 'black' show? Our mandate is to be relevant to the community, and, coincidentally to reveal that community to others.

I once asked Rafael about this. His solution, which I agree with, was to program by issue. Isn't police brutality a cross-racial issue? What color is the 911 controversy? Is Flashpoints only white?

IMHO, the idea of programming by culture/ethnicity grew up during the civil rights movement when most programs were white. At the time, it was an 'aha' that people of color should have shows too. Now that concept has been institutionalized and canonized into the breakdowns we produce to prove our compliance with demographics. Or lack thereof.

It there a possibility that there are other criteria which are far more relevant to the conditions we face now? A government gone wild which affects us all.

I wonder what the next real step to further the real mission is. You can bet that whatever it is, there will be resistance from the entrenched keepers of the status quo.

I was visited by a group of muslim women the other day. A group of young women, filled with passion and energy and *humor*. Is is possible that a collective of muslim women (who want to talk about women *outside* the kitchen) could do a show which affects more than muslims?

We have a black woman who does a show about human spirituality and life experience whose point is to empower people to control their own lives. Is that a 'black' show?

What's forgotten (IMHO) is that the real power of the shows for a given community is that they're heard by people not of that community. I believe that's part of the cross-cultural understanding we are committed to. I find this whole concept of breaking down programming (and staffing) by ethnicity repugnant and counter-productive.

I think we're collectively truly better and truly diverse, enough so that we can't really be defined by numbers in a spread sheet.

I'd like more debate on this subject since there isn't really any at all. That tells me that the conversation is needed.

BTW, from my point of view, the disaster of Draft A/C is that it would doom us to this institutionalized ghettoized view of programming forever.

Not good.

Damn. Longest thing I've written in years.


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