True to its mission of improving the conversation about substantive issues affecting the black community, the South Florida Times has created a new radio program that promises to elevate the dialogue to an even higher level.
Beginning on Friday, May 16, on 1470 AM, Times investigative reporter Elgin Jones will share hosting duties with two other members of the South Florida Times family, Joy-Ann Reid and Barbara Howard.
Reid is the former co-host of WTPS radio and a reporter and columnist for the newspaper; Howard writes a weekly political column for SFT and is the former co-host of the “Politically and Economically Yours” radio show on WTPS.
For four years, Jones has added a black perspective to the conservative and often controversial Steve Kane Show (also on 1470 AM); holding his own with a man once featured on a 60 Minutes segment called, “The Most Controversial Talk Show Hosts in America.”
The hosts of the new radio show – “Elevating the Dialogue with the South Florida Times” – hold disparate political views that virtually guarantee airborne sparks. Reid is a liberal
Democrat, Howard is a staunch Republican, and Jones is a “socially conservative” Democrat – all three with strong, often unwavering opinions.
Reid and Howard author the Times’ popular Face Off opinions feature. The latest, “Who Will Win the White House, A Democrat or Republican?” ran in the May 2 edition and is currently the subject of the Times’ online poll question.
Of her chance to face off with Howard on the air, Reid said, “I’m ready for her; I hope she’s ready for me.” Reid said she’s looking forward to being a part of a show that provides news, information and spirited political discussion to South Florida listeners.
While she doubts that Reid might actually join the party of Abraham Lincoln, Howard said, “I wish [Reid] would take two seconds to investigate what I tell her to investigate. Once she begins to ask the questions that I asked several years ago – she might turn over,” the former Democrat said with a chuckle.
South Florida Times publisher Robert Beatty said he is thrilled. Strategically selecting an air time (10 a.m.) that follows South Florida’s local morning shows (Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey) reveals a stroke of Beatty’s genius.
“We wanted to get beyond the radio personalities that really consume the morning rush hour talk show…and to make sure that we were in a time slot that would make it convenient for people to listen,” he said, adding that the radio show, “will be driven from what is contained in the newspaper and what is happening in our local community and the African Diaspora.”
In addition to tuning in on the radio, listeners can access the show via the South Florida Times web site – www.sfltimes.com – by clicking on the radio program icon. In the very near future, Beatty said, listeners “will also be able to visually see the radio program as it is unfolding” via a video broadcast on the newspaper’s web site.
Jones said he sees the show as an opportunity to “allow listeners to enter into a dialogue about anything and everything that impacts their lives.” Of his political affiliation, Jones said he is currently a Democrat, but not for much longer.
“If what has happened with Barack Obama doesn’t wake black folk up, nothing will. I am done with the Democratic Party. I’m going to be a non-affiliated independent,” said Jones, who plans to sever ties with the party after the Democratic nominee is selected.
Howard said she is dismayed that despite the fact that blacks share many of the same conservative views as the Republican Party, the content of black media continues to be “all pro-Democrat; always anti-Republicans, one-sided and mostly inaccurate.”
She sees the radio show as an opportunity to address what she calls unfair and unbalanced political coverage by the black media; coverage that she said, “Does a great disservice to black folk because Democrats are not the saviors and Republicans are not the enemy.”
Jones questions his co-hosts’ political perspectives.
“I think we have to approach every topic with balance and pragmatism and a thoughtful approach. When you begin to try to address issues from the left or simply from the right, you miss something,” said Jones, who also authors the Around South Florida column in the South Florida Times.
Jones threw down the gauntlet for what promises to be a lively debate each week. “I am in the middle,” he declared, “with the proper perspective.”