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It’s all about ads and demographics. A mere two weeks before WPGC-AM”Flava 1580″was due to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its hiphop, go-go, and dancehall reggae format in late January, the Greenbelt-based radio station abruptly changed its programming to the mixture of ’70s-to-’90s R&B that’s known in the biz as “urban adult contemporary.” According to program director Damon Williams, station management made the change to provide a musical atmosphere that better suited the style of new host Robin Breedon. Breedon, who is returning to the D.C. area from Houston, once attained a popular following here at WPGC-FM for her quasi-spiritual, feel-good morning show. In other words, so long Boyz N the Hood, hello Waiting to Exhale. Go-go promoter Ken Moore of Icy-Ice Productions, a regular Flava advertiser, notes that “the radio station felt it was not getting enough advertisers for [its 18-to-24 black male] demographics. They found it hard to sell Flava 1580 to corporate America. I don’t think they really gave it enough time.”
When similar format changes have occurred in the pastthe dropping of hiphop specialty shows at WPFW-FM, the substitution of talk for go-go in the evenings at WOL-AMprotests began. But this latest dismissal has been largely accepted with resignation by go-go and hiphop fans, who now have to listen for their favorite soundsmixed in with R&Bon WPGC’s FM outlet and WKYS-FM. Flava 1580 host and longtime D.C. musician C.J. Jones, who will be remaining with the AM station, actually sees that as a potential boon for go-go bands. Noting that, except for the old Flava, stations here and elsewhere won’t play the unmelodic, roll call-filled music popular with live go-go fans, he thinks bands will now be encouraged to start writing songs “like we used to do. If you have a radio versionwith your verses, your hook, and your go-goyou’ll always get airplay.” CP