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Human Rights Activist Returns to Radio - "Make It Plain" With Mark Thompson Debuts on SIRIUS Satellite Radio - Program to eature Writers Every Thursday

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SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced this week that "Make It Plain," the daily political talk show hosted by Mark Thompson, the African-American broadcast pioneer, human rights visionary, and community leader, debuted Wednesday, November 14.

Make It Plain, on SIRIUS Left channel 146, is with a powerful, high-profile and stellar lineup of guests from the African-American community. Make It Plain will air weekdays, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET.

Make It Plain will feature key leaders, thinkers and influential newsmakers, including Editorial Board members and columnists. Every Thursday at 7pm Eastern time the program will feature a representative of BC.

In August of this year, BC Editorial Board member, David A. Love, wrote about Thompson in his "Color of Law Column." The commentary was titled, "Talk To Me" About the Problem With Black Radio. Love was writing about Don Cheadle's film, "Talk To Me," the story of the late Petey Greene, an ex-prisoner turned radio personality and Emmy award-winning talk show host. A portion of Love's commentary reads:

Greene was known for his outspokenness, his authenticity, and his role as a voice of the community. He was not afraid to speak truth to power, to say the things that others dared not say for fear of retribution or recrimination.

What struck me most about the movie was that the world of Black radio in the 60s and 70s, as exemplified by Petey Greene, was very different. Black radio had a commitment and a responsibility to the community, a mission to empower the people. The people demanded from their media institutions the requisite tools to inform them, educate them, and mobilize them for political action. Entertainment was not inconsistent with these goals.

Fast forward to today. Mark Thompson - also known as Matsimela Mapfumo - community leader, emcee of the Million Man March, founder of the Umoja Party and an ordained minister, was a host on Radio One for 19 years. His trailblazing program on politics and human rights, "Make It Plain," aired on Radio One's XM Radio station, The Power, Channel 169. Thompson, along with progressive on-air personality Ambrose Lane and two staffers, was unceremoniously eliminated from the network's lineup. "Make It Plain" has been replaced by "2 Live Stews," a comedic sports talk program hosted by brothers Doug and Ryan Stewart.

Radio One gave no reason for the firings, but stated in a press release that the network is "thrilled" by the change in lineup. Meanwhile, Redding News Review recently reported that Radio One officials held a financial meeting with members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) prior to the firings. Shannon Reeves, the RNC director of state and local development and chair of its African American Leadership Council, denies that such a meeting occurred. Further, Black conservative host and Bush political consultant Raynard Jackson - who maintains that Black political leadership "continue to indoctrinate Blacks with a radical, liberal orthodoxy that breeds a mentality of victimization and dependency" - apparently has been added to the network roster. Jackson is also a member of the Black conservative think tank, Project 21, according to that organization's website.

Those of us at who are familiar with the work of Mark Thompson are pleased that SIRIUS Satellite Radio has put him back on the air. His voice is needed. Paramount to that voice being fully heard, Thompson has total editorial control over the content and direction of his program.

SIRIUS has announced that in addition to writers from BC appearing each Thursday, other newsmaker on the program will include:

Hilary Shelton, Director, NAACP, Washington Bureau; Marc Morial, President, National Urban League; Dick Gregory; Dr. E. Faye Williams, National Congress of Black Women; Dr. Ron Daniels, Chair, Institute of the Black World; Barbara Ciara, President of National Association of Black of Journalists; The Honorable Rev. Dr. Walter Fauntroy , Chair, National Black Leadership Roundtable; and Dr. Leonard Jeffries, African Heritage Studies Association, Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations. Later in the week, Thompson will welcome other high-profile guests from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and community and host a behind-the-scenes look at presidential politics with organizers of Iowa's Brown and Black Forum, America's oldest continuous minority forum for presidential candidates.

In a news release this week, SIRUS radio made it clear it supports Thompson's part in the struggle for economic and social justice and peace with the following statement:

On Make It Plain, Mark Thompson will speak passionately about political, social, and economic issues from an African-American perspective, take listener calls, and will empower his audience to make a difference. Thompson, also known by his African name Matsimela Mapfumo, has been a Washington, DC-based radio host for 20 years. He is nationally known as a longtime NAACP activist, emcee of the Million Man March, founder of the Umoja Party, and an ordained minister. Thompson joins hosts including Alex Bennett, Lynn Samuels, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, and Mike Malloy on SIRIUS Left 146.

Click here to contact BC and Mr. Thompson.

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Thank you very much for your readership.


November 15 , 2007
Issue 253

is published every Thursday

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