Black owned media in Florida must organize and work together
By Roger Caldwell
In the 2016 Florida political campaign, there are millions of advertising dollars available to Black owned media companies if the candidates understand the benefits of the Black market. At the present time, the Republicans in Florida control the legislature, the governorships and the administration. With more Democrats on the voter rolls in the state, it makes no sense the GOP controls everything.
During the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama won the state both times with a Republican governor, and it proves that moderates, women, and minorities can change the color of a state from red to blue. In order to make this happen in 2016, the Democratic Party in Florida must have strong leadership, and be totally committed to win.
Allison Tant is the Chairperson of the Democratic Party, and in 2014, many of the Black candidates running for office felt they received no support from the leadership. Thaddeus Hamilton, a Black man, ran for Commissioner of Agriculture in Florida, received over 2.3 million votes, and never received any financial support from the Florida Democratic Party. He was left off the first statewide Democratic candidate ballot box sheet, and many thought it was not a mistake.
Racism in Florida politics is a reality in both parties, but over 95 percent of Black voters are Democratic. There are two Black owned media associations in Florida, and they must work together. They must develop a united front with a plan to take to the national and statewide Democratic Party.
The Florida Association of Black Owned Media Inc. celebrating its 10th year in December 2015 and the newly formed Black Owned Media Alliance in southern Florida are the two Black owned media associations in Florida. African Americans make up 16 percent of the Florida population, and 2.5 million Blacks are registered to vote in 2016. These Black media organizations should be helping to organize and register another 250,000 Black voters for the 2016 election.
In order to make this happen, the Democratic Party should be spending money with the Black media to educate the Black community in Florida about the different elections, and what they mean. In this critical election year, the Black owned media groups in Florida must collaborate and put pressure on the national and local Democratic Party to not ignore our vote and community.
But, at this time, there are too many Black organizations in Florida such as the Urban League, the NAACP, Nation of Islam, and the Black churches that appear lethargic and not excited about the election. They are not mobilizing and educating our community, and the Black media is not endorsing candidates and holding them accountable to their promises and platforms. As local candidates see the Black media more engaged in the voting process, they will spend more advertising dollars with the Black media in Florida.
Eric Knowles, president of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce stated, “That only 3 percent or $2.24 billion out of $75 billions spent on television, magazines, newspapers, and radio advertising was spent on media focused specifically on Black audience. Knowles said, “One reason they don’t care about us is because we’re going to spend our money in their businesses anyway.”
Many of the leaders in the Black owned media groups are beginning to talk about boycotting, if the major advertisers do not spend more advertising dollars in our communities. Black owned media in Florida for the first time are joining forces and are reaching out to the advertising community to get a larger piece of pie as a united front. The same should be done with the Democratic Party, locally and nationally.