to become the leader in the Shreveport market by allowing it to purchase a cluster of six stations, controlling 41% of the area’s listening audience. The company also makes a substantial amount of its revenues from supplying its stations and affiliates with syndicated programming that targets African American audiences. Access One President and Chief Operating Officer Chesley Maddox-Dorsey says that the overall strategy of creating clusters of stations while providing programming to enhance its ties with the black community allows the company to operate more efficiently. “Deregulation has opened up opportunities for us to improve our margins and to compete more effectively with newspapers and television outlets for advertising dollars in our markets,” she says.
Maddox-Dorsey estimates that the share of advertising dollars that radio stations in the Shreveport market receive has increased from 12% to 15% in recent years. She believes that with deregulation in place, trends like this will continue, ultimately helping independent radio operators survive. (Access One’s investors include the Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Fund.)
Cherry, however, believes the community orientation will ultimately give black station operators the edge. “There are some issues a white broadcaster is not going to touch, but there are political, economic, and other really sensitive issues to the black community that we are willing to deal with. And it is that commitment to the community that separates us from the radio giants,” he says.
–Additional reporting by Yvette Daniel & Siobhan Benet