Is American Forces Radio Replacing Talk With Hip-Hop?

American Forces Radio, the service that reaches hundreds of thousands of U.S. service people, is considering changing formats — a dramatic change in formats.

Under a plan being floated by consultants, National Public Radio, Rush Limbaugh and other talk hosts will be dropped. This is significant because NPR and Limbaugh have very large audiences among our service people and there are likely to be some service people disappointed they may no longer hear the voices from the left on NPR and the voice of conservative America, Mr. Rush.

In their place the consultants are recommending hip-hop music.

That's right. A format of hip-hop is replacing talk. Our American service people will get a steady diet of hip-hop.

I don't think this is a good idea. It's not the music per se. It's the ideas.

In talk format, the ideas are from all over the political spectrum: left from NPR, right from conservative hosts like Limbaugh.

In the hip-hop format, the ideas are misogynistic — women hating — plus some street guns, some pimpin' and the whole phenomena of fathering kids and moving on.

I know there are young service people who like hip hop. That's fine. They should be able to buy the stuff.

But does American Forces Radio really want to be pushing the ideas we hear in hip-hop?

It's bad enough that these ideas will be drifting into the heads of our service people, but American Forces Radio also reaches a lot of people in the countries where America has bases. Do we really need to spread hip-hop in more places than it has already spread?

If there is any good news in all this it's that we're only talking about a consultants' report. Consultants often suggest dopey things and they are often ignored.

I've seen that a million times in the broadcasting business, and hopefully this is another case where the consultants' recommendations will go to the round file.

I'm not against hip-hop entirely. The American Forces Radio has secondary stations it can run a hip-hop format. But they already have popular programming in both NPR and Limbaugh and other talk hosts, and they ought to continue with what is already working well.

Don't fix it if it ain't broke. An old saying that still works.

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