Black-Owned Media Seek More Ad Dollars From Democrats

Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel, September 23, 2008

A black-owned radio station in Daytona Beach began running ads Monday criticizing the Democratic Party for ignoring black voters in the first salvo of a long-simmering dispute between the black press and Barack Obama’s campaign.

Black-owned radio stations and newspapers have complained to the Florida Democratic Party about the dearth of political ads placed in black-owned media. A lack of response prompted the radio ads on 1590 AM (WPUL), said Charles W. Cherry II, publisher of The Florida Courier, a statewide black newspaper.

“If you want to win by getting black people to vote in the state of Florida, you must actively engage the black community’s political culture. A large part of this culture is black-owned media,” said Cherry, whose family owns 11 radio stations and two newspapers, including The Daytona Times.

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Newspaper ads planned for next week take the national Democratic Party to task for spending $20 million on Hispanic-voter outreach nationally and $6.5 million in Florida political ads but putting very little money into black media in Florida.

The black press’ frustration with the Obama campaign is the continuation of hard feelings that date to previous Democratic presidential candidates who failed to funnel media dollars into black-owned media, said Keith Longmore, publisher of the Pine Hills-based West Orlando News.

“The Florida Democratic Party has a history of neglecting the black folks in how it spends its marketing dollars,” Longmore said.

Democrats are content to draw 85 percent to 92 percent of the black vote, Cherry said, but for Obama to win Florida, he needs to significantly raise the number of black voters. To do that, he said, Democrats must engage not only the black media, but also black community-based organizations.

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[Editor’s Note: An earlier story on black media’s desire for Obama money can be read here.]

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