Progressive African radio show petitions for syndication

The following is a petition written by Norman Richmond, host of the Toronto-based radio show “Saturday Morning Live” calling for its radio station CKLN to allow it to be syndicated. Readers can sign the petition here.

To: The National Campus and Community Radio

The National Campus and Community Radio

I recently began testing the water to see if there was any interests in syndicating my radio show Saturday Morning Live (SML), which is aired every Saturday from 10am to 1pm on CKLN-FM 88.1 across Canada. I have received e-mails from the U.K., South Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles etc. talking about how they enjoy listening to SML. I recently received a letter from a listener that makes me feel the time has come to syndicate the show in the country where I reside. Iva Matkovic wrote, “The world, including Canada, needs hundreds of shows of this kind, and this would still be too few to counter the thousands of the general fodder-kind produced by the capitalist corporate media… A few Europeans, such as me, and possibly (!?) even a few more as time goes on, want to hear this. I am sure that “your own” people are just as delighted to hear about and program for themselves. Thanks for the programming.”

I‘m offering The National Campus and Community Radio Conference (NCRC), CKLN’s flagship news program Saturday Morning Live (SML). SML is Afrikan-centered, Internationalist and progressive. The center piece of SML is the Professor/Author Gerald Horne’s Report which covers everything from Canada’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan to Chaka and the Zulu wars. Dr.Horne is Professor of History at the University of Houston. He visits Toronto annually to promote his books. His three latest works Cold War in a Hot Zone; The White Pacific; and The Deepest South will be launched here in Toronto during the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. These talks are always broadcast live on CKLN-FM from A Different Booklist, one of the finest bookstores in North America.

SML features Mumia Abu–Jamal’s commentaries Live From Death Row every week. Mumia is an award-winning journalist who chronicles the human condition. He has been a resident of Pennsylvania’s death row for twenty-five years. Writing from his solitary confinement cell his essays have reached a worldwide audience. His most recent book We Want Freedom: A Life In The Black Panther Party has sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into nine languages. His 1982-murder trial and subsequent conviction has been the subject of global debate.

The Group for Research and Initiation for the Liberation of Africa (GRILA) airs a feature, Amandla, three weeks out of the month. The GRILA crew is composed of Africans from the African continent and the Diaspora. The majority of the GRILA crew are women, which is a huge plus for SML and CKLN. The GRILA crew take a Cape Town to Cairo view of Africa, and looks at the continent in a holistic fashion. However, they also discuss issues going on this side of the pond.

On the last week of the month SML features Social Justice News with Collen Bell and Amber Kellen. Bell is a PhD candidate at York University, and Kellen represents the John Howard Society. Bell and Kellen are on the cutting edge of issues dealing with prison reform, welfare, homelessness and other social justice issues. These issues are dealt with from a progressive and feminist perspective. Rachel Sanders handles SML’s community calendar which is a popular spot every Saturday morning. Ian Brown and Stuart Andrews handle technical work for SML.

Toronto and other parts of Canada are talk-radio friendly. In Toronto we are inundated with talk radio. Unfortunately, most of this talk is from the right. SML opens the phones every week and this is a very important feature of SML. This is one of the few places where progressive voices can be heard on the airwaves. It would be a victory for a cross Canada hook-up to be aired nation –wide. There are many voices opposed to Canada’s role in Haiti and Afghanistan. Two of Canada’s opposition parties, the Liberals and the NDP are talking about sending troops to the Darfur region of the Sudan. The Canadian people are clearly opposed to the baby imperialist role the government is playing. This is reflected in all the polls. SML can help get this view- point out to a bigger audience if SML is syndicated.

I’m petitioning the NCRC to syndicate SML because it is a Canadian- produced program with legs that can run or make that sprint anywhere on earth. I’m hoping that the NCRA will seriously consider this. This can only strengthen the NCRA’s mandate. It can only provide more alternative radio and make the NCRA more relevant to a more diverse audience. The NCRA’s concept of workshops on MySpace, Women in Radio Conference, Women-Focused Programming can only be enhanced by having an Afrikan-focused spot all across Canada.

SML has some of the best Pan-African music available. King Comos’, “Payback Time” one of the strongest anthems calling for reparations and first aired on Saturday Morning Live. Tiki Mercury–Clarke’s triple CD, LIFT EVERY VOICE & SING: The Roots of Gospel Music were first aired on Saturday Morning Live. Deborah Cox, Glenn Lewis, (his father Glen Ricketts), Salome Bey, Phyllis Marshall, Archie Alleyne, Doug Richardson, Jay Douglas, Jackie Richardson and others are frequently played on SML.

SML has pioneered Afrikan Liberation Month (February), Black August and Black Music Month (June). Hopefully, the NCRA can help in spreading these important historical commeratations across Canada. The NCRA can begin this June and promote the following events:

Some Black Music Month Highlights:

Lena Horne 90th Birthday

Don Drummond 75th Birthday

Dennis Brown 50th Birthday

Curtis Mayfield 65th Birthday

Fela Anikulapo Kuti 10th Anniversary of joining the ancestors

Peter Tosh 20th Anniversary of joining the ancestors

Otis Redding 40th Anniversary of joining the ancestors

John Coltrane 40th Anniversary of joining the ancestors

Finally, we close with words of the NCRA: “Over the past quarter century the NCRC has migrated from east to west and north to south as it has been hosted by a different station every year, bringing together broadcasters and experts from across the country for several days of workshops, seminars, social events, and entertainment.” We hope the current board of the NCRA will open its airwaves to more African and oppressed and suppressed voices as they state their call for the 2007 conference:

Norman Richmond can be reached


The Undersigned


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