Hot 97 vs. Power 105: New York’s Radio Wars Going Too Far?June 13th, 2012
By Gee King
As is often the case, this year’s Hot 97 Summer Jam festival stirred up enough beef for us to stew on until next June. Nicki Minaj vs. Peter Rosenberg was the main course, but that quickly devolved into leftover drama that stemmed from an unsettled beef between YMCMB boss man Lil Wayne and Hot 97 execs. In the week since Summer Jam 2012, Hot 97 and rival Power 105 have jumped at the opportunity to make ratings off the aftermath of the debacle, and it’s admittedly made for some entertaining morning commutes. But how long until these radio wars get old?
When Hot 97 morning show host Peter Rosenberg and Power 105’s Breakfast Club team started throwing shots at one another in the days following Summer Jam, it wasn’t surprising. The two stations are competitors so the tension between them makes sense. But while Leno and Letterman may have cracked the occasional joke on each other, could you imagine if they went at it on air like Funkmaster Flex and DJ Clue have for the past decade?
Because Summer Jam has always functioned on drama — Jay-Z’s infamous Prodigy diss looms larger in the concert’s lore than a Michael Jackson appearance — it’s no surprise that beefs that are addressed on the stage (or off of it, if you’re Nicki) usually only get deeper after Giants Stadium (now MetLife Stadium) had been cleared out.
At the height of the Nas and Jay-Z feud, Nas planned to hang an effigy of Jay on the Summer Jam stage. When he was not allowed to go through with the stunt, he took it as a slight and sign of Hot 97 choosing sides. For years, he took his talents to Power 105 when it came to New York radio and only recently rekindled a strong relationship with the station, a fact he addressed during his Summer Jam performance this year.
Considering all of the connections, it’s easy to label the recently released behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Nas’ Jay-Z doll as ironic. But it’s no coincidence, it’s a pattern. The negative energy that New York’s premier hip hop stations try to profit off of will come back to bite them if they continue to abuse it.
As funny as Rosenberg and Charlemagne are, no one cares about beef between two radio hosts. We’ll listen, like we listen to crazy folks arguing on the subway, because drama is interesting. But by continuing to exploit beef for easy ratings, they may find themselves in more situations like last Sunday’s — without a headliner for their biggest show of the year and public beef with one of the station’s three most played labels.
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