Hip-hop station offers talk show to empower listenersWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Schylar Meadows started as a volunteer at the hip-hop radio station WJUC-107.3 “The Juice,” sorting records and assisting DJs, hoping to one day spin hip-hop beats on her own. Twelve years later, she’s producing her own weekly radio talk show, “Juice Talk.”
The show had its fifth anniversary on July 25 and Meadows said she is preparing for a year of anniversary celebrations. But she said this won’t distract her or her listeners from engaging in serious conversations about anything from local politics to national social problems.
“The station and show have been able to influence the hip-hop and R&B community for a couple of prime reasons,” Meadows said. “We are able to have relative discussions on current affairs in real time and because we are helping by sharing with the hip-hop and R&B community, which is often overlooked, to make a format for discussion.”
Her show has empowered listeners young and old to involve themselves in local politics and vote during elections, she said. She generally targets the 18-to-35 age group, but her oldest listener is in his 70s and her youngest is 9 years old.
Meadows, who often appears on 13abc’s “Conklin & Company” and tapes a “Rant and Rave” segment for FOX Toledo, has worked on political campaigns and served as the national vice president of Programs for Young Democrats of America from 2001 to 2003, so educating youth about the importance of their vote is one of her top priorities, she said. Meadows ran for a district seat on council in 1993 and applied for the seat left open by Mark Sobczak in June.
On her 10:30 a.m. Sunday show, she details information about political candidates and issues and stresses reasons for public participation in governmental systems, said Clifton Beasley, who has listened to her show since its inception.
“I don’t think some people would even know where to start to find some of the information on her show,” Beasley said.
Meadows has had guest appearances from Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Gov. Ted Strickland, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and Vice President Joe Biden. She also allows multiple call-ins from anyone listening to the show to speak their mind.
Carnel Smith is a devout listener to “Juice Talk.” He thinks the show has been able to positively affect the Toledo R&B community.
“Her outlook is totally different; it gives a lot of information to African-Americans that otherwise we wouldn’t receive,” Smith said.
Charles Welch, the station’s owner, who goes by the name “Charlie Chuck,” had the idea to start the show more than five years ago and wanted Meadows to host the show because she was young and political and could influence Toledo’s youth to care about social issues, he said.
He has no method to monitor how many people listen to the show on Sunday mornings, but said he thinks the show catches a wide range of listeners. Airing right after gospel music and a church service, ‘Juice Talk’ hooks people who listen to the services, Welch said.
The station is independent, so Welch has the freedom to report on what he thinks is necessary and play the music his listeners want, he said. When he was younger, he didn’t have such freedom.
“My bosses from [previous stations] would just tell me to cool it, let’s not rock the boat. They said let’s just make the bucks and leave the civil rights stuff,” Welch said. “That’s what made me want to get my own radio station; having people telling me to shut up during the civil rights movement, afraid to lose advertisers.”
Meadows, who originally turned the offer down, said she had no idea the show would be so successful, and that she hopes it will continue to defy common stereotypes about the hip-hop community.
“The stereotype is that we are under-educated and disinterested in the world around us; ‘Juice Talk’ breaks that stereotype,” she said. “It’s a great achievement to have a female of color to be the host of a show and be taken seriously.”
Tags: WJUC-107.3 The Juice