Syndicated host Michael Baisden has been espousing the value of mentoring for years. And he puts his money where his mouth is: he donated $10,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America earlier this month in Atlanta for a Mentoring Brothers in Action National Summit.
“Long-term mentoring is the fastest way to save these kids,” said Baisden in an interview before leaving for Miami. In 2010, he traveled to 72 cities to drum up support for mentoring.
Baisden, who is heard in Atlanta on Majic 107.5/97.5, said he is so busy with his radio show that he can’t do one-on-one mentoring himself. “I invest the money. I use my platform on the radio. I promote it,” he said. “Everybody has a role.”
Baisden is now on 78 radio affiliates. Majic has been one of his biggest platforms for several years, going back to when he was on Grown Folks Radio at 102.5.
He said in recent years, he has had to cut back on the amount of time he spends talking on the air. Arbitron people meter research tends to show listeners like the talk tight.
“The focus is on the quality of the content,” he said, “not the quantity. We’re playing more music. We’re talking about more substantive things.”
Still, relationship talk is his bread and butter. Long before Steve Harvey, he wrote a book called “The Maintenance Man” that sold more than 300,000 copies, a big best seller. He has finished a sequel set to be released in June. (Baisden refuses to get into a competition with Atlanta-based Harvey, whose two relationships books have sold more than 2 million copies and has a film coming out based one the first one. “It’s not in me,” he said. “He’s been very respectful of me.”)
Locally, Baisden is very popular. In January, his program tied for third among 25 to 54 year olds, behind only Ryan Cameron on V-103 and Sean Hannity on AM750 and FM 95.5 News/Talk WSB.
Baisden is an unabashed Pres. Barack Obama supporter. He foresees re-election. “It’s going to be a landslide,” he said. “I say that because after all the smoke settles from distractions such as abortion, gay rights and contraception, they realize they can’t attack him on other issues like foreign policy, education and defense.”
Obama, he said, “is the coolest guy in the history of politics. Who else could have endured all of this: the birthers, the people who call him a socialist?”
He still believes Mitt Romney will be Obama’s Republican opponent. “He isn’t crazy but he’s talking crazy to appeal to that 20 percent,” he said. “Sometimes, you go so far to the right, how do you come back? That stuff is going to come back and haunt him” for independents.
And he was never thought Herman Cain was a serious candidate. “He was very entertaining. He was good for ratings,” he said.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk