The Sunday night spot on WTAM 1100 quietly went from the “listen to this show to get your medulla straight!” admonitions of Art McKoy, to the everything’s-coming-up-roses for Cleveland attitude of Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed. Reed took the reins in late November.
“Simply put, I was fired,” says community activist and Black on Black Crime founder McKoy, who hosted the weekly talk show for six years. Reed “Six years ago I took a zero rating show and made it number one. The show was hot. I had thousands of surburbanites as well as people in the hood listening.
“Suburbanites is what I call all white people,” he says.
WTAM program director Ray Davies did not return calls asking why McKoy was let go. But the 67-year-old has not been without controversy. A series of drug trafficking arrests, a related prison term, and in 2008, his East Cleveland barber shop was clouded by more drug arrests. “I’ve been controversial since I’ve been at WTAM, says McKoy. “That probably had something to do with it.”
Reed has a bit of history too—surrounding his drinking habits. But he is enthusiastic about his new gig. “Contrary to what people think, there is a lot of good things going on here,” he says. He wants the show to reeducate people. “It’s giving people more than a snapshot—more of a dialogue,” he says.
Last Sunday he hosted Occupy Cleveland folks and this Sunday will feature Med Mart PR guy Dave Johnson. After that, look for a lot of politicians as the primaries approach.
Some listeners are critical, saying that Cleveland City Council now has its own radio show. But Reed doesn’t buy it. “The contract is with Zakh Reed, private citizen, who happens to be a city councilman—not with councilman Zack Reed,” he says.
And what will Mckoy do with his extra time? He’ll continue to focus on his grassroots-style community activisim. “I want people to know that sooner or later they will hear from me again,” he says. “I may even go out with a bang.”
The “bang” is a secret, but Mckoy mentioned something along the lines of a large group of people gathering at a designated location and time, traditionally invited through social media.