Harsh criticism surfaced after 910AM Superstation, which focused on the Black community, sent word Friday night to the on-air personalities that its format was changing and their services were no longer needed. They worked for free and were able to make money selling advertising.
"In this scenario African Americans no longer served their usefulness,” ex-station manager Denise Dody Johnson wrote on Facebook Saturday about the terminations, according to Metro Times. “The owner’s sole ability to discredit himself over and over again rendered the media properties non effective and further diminished the reputation of anyone who continued to do business with him.”
Podcaster Karen Dumas, who worked for different Detroit mayors, responded to the post: “The plantation is closed. Move along.”
Station owner Kevin Adell often faced criticism from current and former radio hosts that he exploted free on-air personalities, the majority of whom were Black. He also tried to attract controversial figures to the all-talk radio format including ex-Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers, who was convicted of corruption, Christine Beatty, the convicted chief of staff for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and Sam Riddle, a political operative who was convicted of corruption.
Riddle tells Metro Times that Adell was willing to sell the station to a group in the community.
Adelle tells Metro Times that he changed the format to all sports because there were too few listeners -- about 2,100 a month -- and it was no longer profitable.
“When you look at it, no one supported it,” Adell says. “I couldn’t get the community to support it.”
A source tells Deadline Detroit that the all-sports format is likely to turn to conservative talk radio in September with syndicated personalities.
On Friday, the on-air personalities received an email from station manager Kevin Coles that said:
“Thank you (for) your time and contributions at WFDF 910AM Superstation. We wish you the best of luck. Your show will no longer air on WFDF 910AM Superstation. All access passes have been revoked and you are no longer allowed on the premises. The guard has been notified not to give you entry.”
Adell defended the curt memo, telling Metro Times:
“I didn’t have an obligation to anyone because no one was getting paid."
Adolph Mongo had a two-hour radio show on Saturday for seven years before his show was cancelled earlier this year.
Mongo, who got no pay from the station, says his show was yanked because Adell wanted him to share the advertising revenue he generated on his own.
"He's a bigoted, racist and sexist liar," said Mongo, who now hosts a podcast, Detroit in Black and White.
Mongo expressed skepticism that the station had too few listeners, saying:
"Nobody listened to the station? Thousands of callers called from the Black community. I guess he didn't see them as people."
Attempts by Deadline Detroit to reach Adell by phone and text on Monday were unsuccessful.
Disclosure: The author of this story, Allan Lengel, was a co-host on Mongo's Saturday show on 910AM, and is currently a co-host on his podcast, "Detroit in Black and White."