Talk Show Host Praised as Leading Voice in Jena
In the wake of the Jena Six rally down in Jena, Louisiana, one voice can take plenty of credit for being a guiding presence during the historic moment.
Radio personality Michael Baisden will tell you that he was just one of many voices in Jena but for those millions who listen to his nationally syndicated show, his voice was at the forefront.
When asked how they heard of the case, most folks answered that it was through Baisden’s radio show, which is syndicated in nearly every major American city.
Every day for the past month, Baisden, 44, has kept listeners updated on the case. He was among the first to report two weeks ago that Mychal Bell’s adult conviction had been overturned.
In Jena, it was he who stood shoulder to shoulder with Rev. Al Sharpton as the crowd of protestors marched into Jena and then his post-march rally, which he broadcasted live on his show.
Baisden’s ability to attract a wide audience is an example of how Black radio hosts are gaining more and more power in a medium largely reserved for White voices. Longtime personality Tom Joyner and comedian Steve Harvey are two examples of Black voices that are reaching a national audience on a daily basis.
Thirty years ago, the three of them would have been restricted to a local market like Ralph “Petey” Greene, the famous Washington D.C. personality whose career was portrayed in the recent film “Talk to Me.”
But times have changed and slowly but surely, Black voices are filling the airwaves and wielding considerable influence like never before.
That power was no more evident when Baisden decided to get behind the case of the Jena Six and his energy and passion galvanized hundreds of thousands across the country to take action in one of the largest demonstrations in recent history.