Dallas hasn't always been synonymous with underground hip-hop, but, as the culture of area hip-hop has grown, DJ EZ Eddie D, born Eddie Murphy, has been there to witness it all.
Since 1987, the KNON-89.3 FM "The Voice of the People" radio personality has served as the host of the station's Saturday night hip-hop program, "Knowledge Dropped, Lessons Taught." His is the second-longest running hip-hop radio show in the country.
But after his show ended last Saturday, EZ Eddie D came to learn some bad news: Due to a lack of monetary pledges from his listening audience, the community radio station had been forced to cut his future programs down from their two-hour run-time to a new one-hour format.
It's a tricky situation. For starters, KNON bases its show lengths on the number of pledges each individual show receives, so it's up to the DJs themselves to raise money to keep their show on the air. And, though KNON listeners can pledge any time by going to the station's website, the publicly run station also hosts quarterly pledge drives. The most recent drive ended a few weeks ago.
And, during that drive, it became clear to station managers that Murphy's program was no longer bringing in the money required to earn a two-hour program block.
Overall, KNON employees admit, pledges have been on the decline in the past couple of years.
According to Murphy, the problem isn't a lack of listeners:
"Basically," he says, "at KNON, if pledges don't come in, it makes no sense to continue the show. There might be tons of people listening, but they didn't pledge."
And yet despite the cut in programming time, Murphy still sounds relatively upbeat.
"I'm lucky that I'm actually still there," he says. "It could have been worse -- I could have been axed. I'm just going to try to get back to a better place."
In order to get his regular timeslot back, though, he needs help from the people who listen to his show, as well as the artists who are featured.
"The artists will have their music played and still not pledge," Murphy laments.
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And, according to KNON station manager Dave Chaos, his show's fate is ultimately up to the listeners.
"Eddie is an amazing DJ," Chaos says. "We hope to see his listeners support him, and have him build up that track record of support."
It's not too late for listeners to contribute to Murphy's show: The next pledge drive will be held in May, and hopes are high that EZ Eddie D will be able to get his show back to the amount of time it was at before -- two hours a week.
"We still really need people's help," Murphy says. "I'm not going away. I plan to have this rectified. But it's really out of my hands, as far as KNON is concerned."