Kiss FM's Open Line Celebrates 20 Years

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“I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the past 20 years, and hold those accountable who previously believed they could ignore the community,” Slade said.

[On The Media]

Twenty years ago, an intrepid news director at WRKS 98.7 Kiss FM in New York, noticed a disturbing trend wherein African Americans were largely unable to receive relevant information on the issues affecting them.  

So in true trendsetting fashion, Bob Slade, the award-winning broadcaster and producer, created a public affairs program catering to this disenfranchised community.  It was then that Slade established a talk radio medium that was eventually responsible for the election of Mayors and other political figures. 

The talk show also took on issues wherein they blew the whistle on bogus cases such as the Central Park Jogger 5.  Now, two decades later, the crew of “Open Line” welcomes its loyal audience for a star-studded broadcast at the legendary BB Kings on 42nd Street in Manhattan on Sunday, October 11th. 

Open Line will air live from Times Square during its regular broadcast hours of 10 AM to noon, along with a pre-show at 9 AM. 

Opening the doors to its dedicated listenership in the NY tri-state area, Bob Slade, James “The Third Answer” Mtume and Bob Pickett will host this 20th anniversary special along with a slew of special guests from the highest levels of government to some of the biggest names in entertainment. 

“The secret to the show’s success is our audience, who consistently jam the phones lines every week patiently waiting on hold for the chance to weigh in on the topic under discussion,” explained Mtume who has been a co-host of Open Line since 1994 after an overwhelmingly stellar career in the music business.

Entrenched in news radio since 1971, Bob Slade juggles multiple hats at Kiss-FM where he maintains his news director role, while appearing as an on-air personality for the station’s morning show with DL Hughley, as well as The Week In Review and Open Line.  He also executive produces ‘Soul Beginnings’ at Kiss-FM, and is the recipient of several awards, including a Peabody Award; the 1998 & 2002 New York Metro A.I.R. Award for the ‘Best Public Affairs Program’; the Garden State Association of Black Journalists award for ‘The Best Syndicated Show,’ and two Armstrong Awards from Columbia University.

“I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the past 20 years, and hold those accountable who previously believed they could ignore the community,” Slade said. 

Bob Pickett, who first appeared on Open Line in 1994 to provide legal expertise on the O.J. Simpson murder trial, is regarded as one of the top legal minds in talk radio.  A former administrative law judge in NJ, former aide to Vice President Hubert Humphrey and assistant counsel for education to Governor James Florio, Pickett has practiced law for 36 years with experience in complex litigation in both civil and criminal court. 

A member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court and the United States Circuit Court for the Third and Sixth Circuits. He has provided extensive knowledge to cases such as the Central Park Jogger 5 and the Amadou Diallo trials.  An on-air personality for ‘The Week In Review’, Pickett also serves as the executive producer of the station’s ‘Legend Music Series’ and producer for ‘Soul Beginnings’ with Bob Slade. 

“What makes this show so unique is the triangle of voices - Mtume’s, Slade’s and myself that dissect issues and events while occasionally disagreeing at the same time on issues, without being disagreeable,” explained Pickett. 

And last, but certainly not least, is the tutelage of the third answer James Mtume whose moniker remains “there is the right answer, the wrong answer and then of course the third answer.”  Passionately expressing his views on everything from music, politics and international suffering, Mtume brings a unique perspective to radio that stems from an award-winning entertainment career. 

A former jazz percussionist who played and toured with the legendary Miles Davis, Heath Brothers, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, and others, Mtume established himself as an incomparable producer and writer, and chart topper for artists like Stephanie Mills and Roberta Flack, unleashing hits like “You, Me and He” and “Juicy Fruit.” 

The two-time Grammy award winner, has produced music on TV’s “New York Undercover” and his political activism and global initiatives make him a perfect fit on Open Line.

As Bob Slade, James Mtume, Bob Pickett, executive producer Fatiyn Muhammad, associate producer Robin Williams and supporting cast members prepare to celebrate 20 years on the airwaves next Sunday, the NY tri-state area cannot ignore their impact.  Voted as one of the top 100 shows in America in Talkers Magazine in 2003, recipient of numerous awards and a consistent ratings winner in its time slot since 1994, Open Line has played a critical role in the elections of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and one of the first to garner tri-state area support for candidate Barack Obama. 

But perhaps most importantly, this program has played an integral role in the lives of everyday folks.  The public is invited to join these Open Line luminaries in celebrating their historic milestone at BB Kings in Times Square on Sunday, October 11th from 9 AM to 12 noon.


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