BEST HIP-HOP RADIO PROGRAM - 2005
Two decades ago, there were one or two radio shows in town that played rap music. Now, hip hop is Top 40, with heavy rotation on commercial stations B96 (96.3 FM) and KDWB (101.3 FM), and also on KMOJ (89.9 FM) community radio every Friday and Saturday evening. Specialty shows on other left-of-the-dial stations abound, from The Session on KFAI (2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. on early Saturday mornings) to The Beat Box on Radio K (KUOM 770 AM/106.5 FM from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays). But nobody mixes, informs, or performs quite like KFAI's RSE Radio (formerly 2 the Break-A-Dawn), which has apparently dropped the pretense of being a separate media entity from Rhymesayers Entertainment, the powerhouse local hip-hop label. That bit of business synergy actually benefits listeners: The original radio documentary about Atlanta rapper MF Doom last November helped promote a Rhymesayers show, but it also threw light on a deserving artist who's hardly overexposed. RSE's playlist varies, but it can be counted on to cover the old-school-new-"underground" continuum, with DJ King Otto mixing Boogie Down Production's "Black Cop" into Souls of Mischief's "Tell Me Who Profits" into Mos Def's "Universal Magnetic." Host Siddiq also invites non-Rhymesayers locals to perform live in the studio (Kill the Vultures were particularly spectacular this year). One of the show's DJs, Kevin Beacham (who produced the Doom special) moved on to launch Redefinition Radio on the Current (KCMP 89.3 FM from 11:00 p.m. to midnight on Saturday nights)--notice how the two shows don't overlap. Media monopoly or happy family, these RSE guys are a good influence.