People of color in the media industry face many challenges when trying to get their foot in the door. There is a certain way that you must look, carry yourself, and speak. In fact, everything from appearance to professional nature can be found in many media professionals contracts when working for major publications and outlets.
And, a number of those clauses coupled with barriers to entry keep many people seeking to enter the industry out.
That is why Boston-based radio personality Danielle Johnson founded Spark FM. After applying for countless positions with big-name broadcast companies and not being hired, Johnson decided to create an opportunity for herself and other media professionals by creating her own radio station.
“It’s really hard to get that urban voice in there that actually has a foot on the ground in the local community,” Johnson said. “There’s not a lot of resources that the urban community knows about that can help them with generational wealth, local politics, community events and engagement volunteer opportunities and all of our entertainment,” Johnson told the Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at Boston University.
She went on to say, “I saw the need for a platform that actually caters to the demographics that are oftentimes overlooked and under-represented from the bigger names in media platforms.”
Johnson is set to launch Spark FM, the first digital radio station owned by a black woman, this spring in Boston.
As Johnson prepares for the launch of the station, she is seeking financial support on Kickstarter to fund her dream. As outlined online, Spark FM hopes to amplify more urban voices on the radio.
- Spark FM will be a platform for urban voices and talent in a way that specifically caters to that under-served and under-represented community
- Spark FM will allow small and local black business owners to advertise their businesses in an affordable and accessible way
- Spark FM will be “logistically local” but have a global impact as a legal, professional, small market alternative to mainstream media
- Spark FM will be housed in a state-of-the-art facility that people can feel proud of and that represents the artistic creativity and skill of our diverse community and culture
- Spark FM will invest in the community by way of community events, live remotes broadcasts, and community sponsorships
- Spark FM will provide mentorship opportunities to younger radio talent (on-air-personalities, DJ’s, etc..) to give them professional training and experience if they desire to pursue big-market goals in the future
- Spark FM will provide relatable news that directly correlates to the people, places, and things in the urban community
- Spark FM will provide programming that matters on topics that are important to this community: educational, political, financial, and entertainment.
In addition to amplifying urban voices, Johnson plans to help marginalized people in Boston’s inner-cities learn about generational wealth and ownership.