Black-Owned Station Parts Ways With Host Who Asked Biden Questions Provided by the Campaign

WURD says Andrea Lawful-Sanders violated the station’s practices and that it “is not a mouthpiece for the Biden or any other Admin”

US President Joe Biden speaks to the media following the Supreme Court's ruling on charges against former President Donald Trump that he sought to subvert the 2020 election, at the White House on July 1, 2024 in Washington, DC.
US President Joe Biden speaks to the media following the Supreme Court's ruling on charges against former President Donald Trump that he sought to subvert the 2020 election, at the White House on July 1, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Philadelphia radio station WURD has decided to “mutually” part ways with “The Source” host Andrea Lawful-Sanders, as a result of her choice to use interview questions provided in advance by the Biden-Harris campaign for her interview with President Joe Biden. The station said in a lengthy statement that Lawful-Sanders had violated the station’s practices by using those questions. The interview was given to the station as part of the campaign’s efforts to reach hosts with large Black audiences; the station is a Black-owned urban talk station and is aimed at Black listeners.

According to WURD, Lawful-Sanders arranged and negotiated the conditions of her interview with the president independently and that using the questions provided by Joe Biden’s campaign “violates our practice of remaining an independent media outlet accountable to our listeners. As a result, Ms. Lawful-Sanders and WURD Radio have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.”

“Agreeing to a pre-determined set of questions jeopardizes that trust and is not a practice that WURD Radio engages in or endorses as a matter of practice or official policy,” the station said in its statement.

Both Lawful-Sanders and Wisconsin radio host Earl Ingram told CNN on Saturday that Biden-Harris campaign aides delivered eight questions ahead of their separate emails with the president. Lawful-Sanders said, “The questions were sent to me for approval; I approved them.”

“I got several questions — eight of them,” Lawful-Sanders added. “And the four that were chosen were the ones that I approved.”

WURD’s statement is available in full below.

“On July 3, the first post-debate interview with President Joe Biden was arranged and negotiated independently by WURD Radio host Andrea Lawful-Sanders without knowledge, consultation or collaboration with WURD management,” the statement began. “The interview featured pre-determined questions provided by the White House, which violates our practice of remaining an independent media outlet accountable to our listeners. As a result, Ms. Lawful-Sanders and WURD Radio have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.”

“WURD Radio remains an independent voice that our audience can trust will hold elected officials accountable. As Pennsylvania’s only independent Black-owned talk radio station, WURD Radio has cultivated that trust with our audience over our 20-year history. This is something we take very seriously. Agreeing to a pre-determined set of questions jeopardizes that trust and is not a practice that WURD Radio engages in or endorses as a matter of practice or official policy.”

“Earlier this year when WURD Radio was invited to the White House on Feb. 26 to host a day-long live broadcast featuring interviews with cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking officials, we agreed with the explicit understanding that we were not constrained to their suggested topics or talking points. We were clear that our hosts would ask difficult and provocative questions of their own determination based on the needs and interests of WURD’s listening audience — Black Philadelphians. This is a hallmark of WURD Radio’s local, state and national coverage, day in and day out.”

“Black media has a long history of advocating for the interests of the Black community dating back to 1827 when the first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, was founded. Our outlets deserve to have a seat at the table especially because mainstream media has historically ignored, marginalized and stereotyped Black people in their coverage. A recent Pew Research Report examining Black Americans’ experiences with the news found ‘almost two-thirds of Black adults (63%) say news about Black people is often more negative than news about other racial and ethnic groups.’”

“This practice of de-legitimizing Black voices continues today. WURD Radio is not a mouthpiece for the Biden or any other Administration. Internally, we will commit to reviewing our policies, procedures, and practices to reinforce WURD’s independence and trust with our listeners. But mainstream media should do its own introspection to explore how they have lost the trust of so many Americans, Black Americans chief among them.”

“This experience will strengthen WURD as we seek to grow from this incident. We will continue to be the unique platform that provides Black people a place where we can speak and be heard in our own voice – on our own terms. We follow in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass who aptly wrote in the first edition of his North Star Newspaper in 1847: ‘It has long been our anxious wish to see, in this slave-holding, slave-trading, and negro-hating land, a printing-press and paper, permanently established, under the complete control and direction of the immediate victims of slavery and oppression.’”

“Black media matters. As always, we will listen, dialogue and engage with our community, bringing credible information, experts and insights to address the needs, concerns and interests of our people. This is essential as Black Philadelphians gear up to be a pivotal player in one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime.”

Comments

One response to “Black-Owned Station Parts Ways With Host Who Asked Biden Questions Provided by the Campaign”

  1. Leslie N Burrell Avatar
    Leslie N Burrell

    I cannot believe URD would part ways with one of their brightest, and best and beloved on-air talent for trying to be efficient in an effective interview with President Biden. I have heard politicos on this station that had trouble putting coherent questions together regarding local and state elections. PLEASE don’t get me started on the juvenile nature of Phila. City Council coverage. WURD should be ashamed of the fact they didn’t have the vision or “guts” to syndicate this woman’s show and then perhaps BlackRadio really could regain whatever power you Ms Lomax think you have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.