WADL steps up in the Motor City

After years of crummy programming (infomercials, home shopping, etc.), Adelll-owned WADL-TV in Detroit is making a serious bid to compete for those TV advertising dollars with the other stations in town – by targeting the market’s African-American population.

The station, which signed on in 1985, had been airing mostly paid religious fare and infomericals. At one time, the station was a outlet for CBS programming that then-affiliate WJBK-TV did not clear.

Blacks make up 21 percent of Detroit’s DMA, and historically, programs with predominately African-American casts have traditionally done well in the Motor City. If fact, Fox, WB and UPN performed better in Detroit than the national average when those networks had that type of programming on.

But when the WB and UPN folded up shop in September 2006, it left a hole for African-American targeted programming.

WADL has stepped up and acquired many programs targeted to African-Americans, including 1970’s sitcoms Good Times and Sanford and Son, plus the critically acclaimed drama In The Heat Of The Night. The station is also stepping up its’ local programming efforts, including a weekly talk show hosted by Detroit’s mayor, Kwane Kilpatrick.

Granted, the station still airs a large amount of religious, paid programming, and home shopping. And many off-network and first-run syndicated programs popular among blacks are still airing on other outlets, like CBS-owned CW affilate WKBD-TV and Granite’s MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD-TV. But this move is a step in the right direction.

Rant: In the above article I linked from B&C, “community leaders” in Detroit question WADL’s airing of Good Times and Sanford & Son, saying the programs reinforce negative stereotypes about African-Americans.

Oh, please. Are these people still living in the 1970’s? Those two shows air here in Chicago on WWME-TV, and there are no complaints from the black community (I know because I live there.)

Gee, what about the programs that currently air on VH-1, BET, and MTV? What about those hip-hop and rap videos that demean women that constantly air on these channels? You “community leaders” humor me.


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