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Hot 97 Goes Viral As Listeners Revolt

Hot 97 Funkmaster Flex Meek Mill Twitter WQHT DrakeA feud between rappers Drake and Meek Mill was supposed to be escalated this evening on Emmis Rhythmic CHR “Hot 97” WQHT New York, but instead the station was left with listeners in revolt and petitions for Funkmaster Flex to quit the station.

The feud began when Mill accused Drake last week of using a ghostwriter on his songs. Drake released a diss-track on Saturday to go after Mill and Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex who released a reference track used by Drake during production. Flex began hyping that Meek Mill was to appear on his WQHT show at 7pm Monday to discuss the situation and teased the debut of a Mill track to “counter-diss” Drake.

As 7:00 came and went with no appearance from Mill, WQHT listeners began to vent their frustrations and point out the limited playlist they were hearing.

As the evening went on and no word from Meek Mill or Funkmaster Flex the tweets from listeners had “Hot 97” among Twitter’s worldwide trends. One WQHT personality did chime-in as morning co-host Peter Rosenberg made light of the situation and also on the multiple spins of Fetty Wap.

By the end of the evening a petition calling for Funkmaster Flex to resign from WQHT was circulating online, Mill posted something and Flex was calling attention to all the complaints.

Instant Insight

So what was the big deal? If you lose the trust of your audience why should they keep listening? Funkmaster Flex hyped something and didn’t deliver. Nor did he at any point follow up and explain what happened to the audience. If you promote something and don’t deliver, why should the audience care next time you hype something? While they may have gotten an audience boost last night thanks to the intrigue and social media backlash, many of those listeners will not be back.

With WQHT trailing iHeartMedia’s “Power 105.1” WWPR and being attacked by CBS’ “92.3 Amp Radio” WBMP for the Hispanic crossover audience, the one-time powerhouse is being attacked like never before. There’s been much turnover in the past year, yet Funkmaster Flex was the one station veteran who stuck around as a bridge from the station’s glory days. Is his brand and legacy now something that could hold the station back as it attempts to move forward with Angie Martinez and others no longer there and younger names in their place.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

1 Comment

  1. Profile photo of johndavis


    What’s the phrase? Don’t write checks with your mouth that your ass can’t cash?

    This reminds me of when another station in my town ran promos claiming to have a leak of a new release from a big artist of the day with a cash giveaway tied to the first time they played it. They didn’t have it, but they wanted to “own” the new music position and figured that when the single dropped everyone would assume they played it first because of the promo.

    Only problem was their competition was sitting on a copy of the leak. So they played it that night. Hourly. Had there been Twitter back in the day, there would have been killer memes all night.

    I don’t doubt that Flex intended to play the track, but whenever he learned that he wouldn’t be playing it, it would have been better to say something than nothing. The only way to keep your audience’s trust is to be honest and real.

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