Black talk radio: Defining community needs and identity

Catherine R. Squires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This article presents research concerning the relationship between media and public spheres through an investigation of an African-American-owned and -operated talk-radio station in Chicago. The article concludes that, contrary to some scholars' pessimistic view of commercial media's role in the decline of the public sphere, the radio station portrayed here is an integral and useful institution for the Black public sphere in Chicago. The study reveals how African-American community members and listeners use the station as a public forum wherein traditional political concerns, as well as identity politics, are aired and discussed. Furthermore, the article argues that it is precisely because the station is owned and operated by Blacks that it is able to draw and sustain a substantial and loyal audience. Because they trust the station to "talk their talk," community members are enthusiastic about participating in the station's conversational activities and are even willing to make personal financial contributions when advertising revenue is low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-95
Number of pages23
JournalHarvard International Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


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