Shaila Scott is a New York legend. The Harlem-bred radio personality got her start working for WBLK in Buffalo in the late ’80s before transitioning to WBLS. She later joined the 98.7 KISS FM team in 1994 as the female host of Kissing After Dark and was a co-host on The Wake Up Club with Jeff Foxx, Talent, and the late Bob Slade. Thirty years after the station and home to “Classic Soul and R&B” launched in 1981, it merged with its longtime competitor, WBLS. Scott rejoined the station as their midday host and has dominated the slot ever since.
Unfortunately, Scott was let go from the radio station according to her announcement on Thursday (June 2).
A statement was shared on social media by Scott and her daughter, host, and media personality Scottie Beam. “Sadly, Mediaco decided not to renew my contract and advised me that ‘the station is going in a different direction,” it reads. “As a native New Yorker, it has been a pleasure to be your radio relative, and I am humbled to have been rewarded with consecutive #1 rankings in the 12 and over, 18-49, and 25-54 age demographics. Thank You for trusting me to deliver content that touched and concerned our communities.”
She continues, “My objective was to use the power of that microphone to speak into the spirit of the village that raised me. Thank You! for allowing me to do that for 3 decades. I appreciate every one of you that made this epic journey possible. Thanks to my legendary radio family for being a source of inspiration, my beautiful children for sharing me with millions and never complaining & Thank God for giving me the strength to endure it all. Although this is the end of my journey with WBLS, it is, of course not the end of OUR journey. Stay Tuned! Love Shaila New York’s Sweetheart.”
Mediaco holdings who now owns @WBLS1075NYC & @HOT97 told my mother who is currently and consecutively the #1 midday personality in New York City on WBLS that they are going in a “different direction”.. from number one. pic.twitter.com/72zVePDtQt
— Scottie. (@ScottieBeam) June 2, 2022
Naturally, this sparked an onset of outrage. Scottie Beam responded, “These corporations don’t give a f**k about legacy or your impact. Thank God for community which always shows love and appreciation for my mom. Every. Where. She. Goes. That is the true blessing. The dumbest decision on @wbls1075nyc part […] You kept that radio station afloat for years and it was magical to witness.” Others expressed, “WBLS without Shaila makes no sense.”
Emmis Communications, which owned KISS, leased out the 98.7 frequency to turn the R&B platform into a sports talk radio market for Disney and ESPN in a deal worth $96 million back in 2012. Emmis also owns Hot 97 and bought WBLS and AM station 1190 WLBI for $131 million in 2014. In 2019, Emmis sold Hot 97 and WBLS to the public company, Mediaco Holding and private investment group, Standard General.
That year, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, shared in an official statement. “We look forward to continuing to manage two of the world’s most iconic radio brands in HOT 97 and WBLS and employ our award-winning New York team as we partner with Soo Kim and Standard General to form a new public company to invest in media opportunities. The transaction provides Emmis significant capital to aggressively pursue new business opportunities that align with our entrepreneurial spirit and management skills.”
In June 2021, Rahsan-Rahsan Lindsay took over as MediaCo CEO after previous roles at Urban One and Viacom. “The opportunity to work with iconic brands like HOT 97 and WBLS is just too good to pass up,” he stated. “I see a number of potential ways to further cultivate both brands, build on their well-established legacies, and drive new revenue streams.“