Talk of the Town Goes to Love Me Tender?

African American Radio Format Suddenly Disappears


by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE-Listeners accustomed to alternative talk radio centered on African American issues were caught off guard Tuesday when instead they heard Elvis music.

AM 1290 WMCS suddenly changed formats and fired 14 of its 18 staff members.

The general manager says the issue was purely economic.

 "It was a big part of the community," General Manager Bill Hurwitz told CBS 58's Tiffany Tarpley, "It was part of the fabric of the community. What 1290 always wanted to do is make Milwaukee a better place to live work and raise a family and I believe we did that and I think we did it extremely well. unfortunately the money part of the business didn't follow."

Hurwitz will not reveal the new format.

When last we sampled the station they were still playing Elvis music.

"There are no other African-American stations in this market place that did what we did,"  longtime employee Eric Von lamented, "As far as money, we've never made money. So, they could have done this  20 years ago if that was the only factor. Mr. Davis understood what we did he understood the place that this radio station played in this community." 

Von was referring to Willie Davis the Packers legend who is part owner of the station.




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