© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Statement To a Racist Listener

In case you missed my statement on-air today, here it is in full:

“I’m going to do something unusual for a classical radio station. I want to tell you about a listener letter we received yesterday. You’re used to hearing praise and love from our fellow members, especially during the fund drives. We don’t usually share the negative letters, but this one deserves mention: because it’s racist.

I won’t read the letter, but I’ll give you enough information to understand the context and why I’m responding on-air. In the letter, a listener states that they and their family have been long-time supporters of WUOL. They’ve also noticed more music by Black composers on WUOL, and take issue with that, and finally state that they will no longer support WUOL because of the increase in Black composers heard on this station. This letter was racist and I hope this person is listening, because...

Let me be perfectly clear: we do not tolerate racism from our members. If you share the views of this letter writer, who is cowardly anonymous, and sympathize with their views, please stop giving Louisville Public Media and WUOL your money. We will make the process of cancelling your membership easy. We don’t want your support.

We are going to continually strive to amplify diverse composers: Black, brown, people of color, women, LGBTQ...and anyone else who has something to say through their music. We are striving to create equity through our radio station format, a format that is traditionally very white and very male. I acknowledge WUOL’s role in a racist system: as gatekeepers to music and culture for a large audience. We have been working on changing, and are on our way to where we need to be. We will do better through determined, systematic change. We are committed to that at WUOL, and at Louisville Public Media overall.

For the rest of my time with you today, we are only going to play music by Black composers, starting with William Levi Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony. Check it out…”

Daniel Gilliam is Program Director for LPM Classical. Email Daniel at dgilliam@lpm.org.