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Friday, Sept. 13, 2013

Black Coffee Radio

Earl Ingram Jr. refuses to be silenced

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A former factory worker and drive time talk radio host, Earl Ingram Jr. shows that a well-expressed opinion can lead to new vistas. When radio let him down—abruptly—it didn’t take him long to take his talking to the internet...and a coffee house. Off The Cuff found him willing to open up about his unconventional start in his current work, his soft spot for mentoring youth and just what went down at the AM signal where he previously plied his gift of gab. 

 

What prompted your start in radio?

When I was a child my father used to listen to WGN and WBBM and little did I know the love of talk radio was marinating in me in my early years. In my teen years I listened daily to WAWA, which later became WMCS. While working for AO Smith for over 34 years, I would listen to Rush Limbaugh. I found the format fascinating. So I guess it was only fitting [that when] some guy named Mark Belling appeared in the city, I would listen daily and often called in and debated him and more than held my own.

 

Your thoughts on the dissolution of WMCS and the formation and rise of Black Coffee Radio? There doesn’t seem to be much of a lag time between the two.

I remember the day we were called into the conference room in late February 2013; the general manager of Milwaukee Radio Alliance came in and said 1290 as we knew it was ending and we had 15 minutes to gather our belongings—it was that cold. No explanation. Nothing. Later on I found out 1290 WMCS was the highest-rated urban talk station in America as of December 2012. My question: What happened in a month and a half that the station had to end so abruptly?

After the demise of 1290 many people were in shock and began to wonder where we would now get vital information. At a time when our community is at its lowest ebb, our voice was now silenced; in the twinkling of an eye, we went from one of the most, if not the most powerful, black talk lineups in the nation to nothing.

After my unsuccessful bid to land on another station, I was offered an opportunity to do a live show at the gathering place for many conscious minds in our community, Coffee Makes You Black at 2803 N. Teutonia Ave. It is broadcast via the web at blackcoffeeradio.com from 3-6 p.m. every Sunday live. It is also podcasts at the same address, and all of the previous shows are available there.

 

How would you describe your show and your perspective on the issues you cover to someone new to your work?

Unlike conservative talk radio, I never wanted the “amen corner” where people agreed with everything the host says. I think that’s boring radio, so I would always give the opposing view more time to debate the issues. It is safe to say I cater to the African American community. The reason should be obvious. The white community has WTMJ. I welcome differing opinions on my show. I have a conservative who shares the platform with me.

 

Just how important is race or ethnicity nowadays to politics, culture and the other subjects you cover on your show? And how might any of that have changed under Barrack Obama’s presidency?

I don’t recall there being a time in my 59 years of living where race played as big a role as it does today. I listen to conservative radio daily as I have for the better part of 30 years and race is the dominant issue with president Obama’s election and reelection.