Danielle Johnson couldn’t get an invite to their party so she decided to throw her own. Johnson has been in the radio business since 2009 and has seen firsthand the need for more Black ownership. Big media dominates the radio business, a fact that hinders a lot of Black voices from being heard. Johnson, in fact, applied several times for a job with iHeartMedia, one of the largest mass media platforms in the world. After several denials, she decided to launch her own. Spark FM will launch in April as the first all-digital radio station in Boston owned by a Black woman.
Johnson is committed to providing a platform for Black artists to be heard. She’s also aware that Black businesses need avenues to reach their customers, “a place where they can advertise their business to the local community and kind of circulate the Black dollar back into the community in which it would be needed,” as she told The Daily Free Press. Johnson hopes the new station will also serve as a platform to encourage wealth building in the Black community. She’d like listeners to learn how to build generational wealth, improve their credit scores and purchase real estate. There are an abundance of radio stations targeting Black audiences but few trying to empower them. Black ownership makes a real difference.
Black radio is still very important. There are a number of issues that impact Black communities and Black owned stations are critical in helping to properly inform them. Further, Black radio offers an opportunity for the community to more easily organize resources and highlight businesses within the community, in order to offer support. Ownership matters and when it comes to the airwaves, it means the difference between an informed and uninformed populace. It’s not just about spotlighting the next hot rapper — Black radio is a means to liberation, when properly executed. Spark FM is an effort to empower Black people in Boston in a unique way, one we should all support.
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