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Urban One executive gives details about the cancellation of Roland Martins' News show

Staff Writer

2019-03-04 .

Alfred Liggins did a full interview. Liggins interviews are rare. During this interview, he talks about family history, his start in radio and the Urban One growth. Some people like to call Liggins mommy boi radio behind his back while others call him a person that pushed his family legacy forward.

During the interview, the topic about Roland Martin came up. Liggins made the following comment about Martin and the news show News One Now.

Alfred Liggins: Now look, the Roland Martin decision was a hard decision. I decided to put the show on the air in the first place, so it was kind of my baby and ultimately it didnít get a large audience, but we knew that it wasnít going to get a super, super, super large audience. But what ultimately really happened is the pay TV business got tougher, right? You started to get cord-cutting and you start to see subscriber losses. Ratings are going down because the universe is getting smaller. Right? And so your programming budgets end up getting constrained because your top line is getting constrained, and so then you have to make decisions and we had it on and we had it in the morning and we ultimately had to make a decision and it was a very expensive show. We were spending $5 million a year to produce that show.

Alfred Liggins: And so we had to make a decision in order to best serve our audience and to be competitive, can we afford to invest that kind of money in a morning news program or should we redirect those dollars into other day parts where we can get a larger audience. And ultimately we decided that we were going to pull the plug on that show, weíre going to revisit what our next sort of news vehicle is going to be. And in the meantime weíre going to reinvest those dollars into prime time programming, and we got a new exciting, daily show opportunity coming in 2019 that weíre outselling in the upfront that will run in prime and late night, where it has an opportunity to gain a much wider audience. And itís the same $5 million, just re-purposed. And those are hard decisions that you have to make. If business was stronger then you could continue to carry a news program that is more of a community service and less of a profit engine, but thatís just not the situation that a network like ours being smaller, not owned by a big giant media company is in today. Hopefully we can grow to a position where we donít have to make a decision like that.

The source of the interview is here


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