Cameron's rapturous pronouncement came after a week of conflict between Hot 97.5's parent company, Radio One, and the popular host, who campaigned with co-workers and listeners to get the station moved to a more powerful frequency. For years, fans and employees have complained that the Hot 97.5's relatively weak signal limited the ability of listeners to hear the station at work and in the suburbs. But in June, when Radio One purchased the significantly stronger 107.9 frequency, the station finally had an opportunity to strengthen its reach by moving up the dial.
To make a case for the switch, Cameron and program director Jerry Smokin' B rallied listener support. In three days, they say, they received over 10,000 petitions via fax, mail and community rallying. Nevertheless, Radio One indicated their intention to create a rock station at 107.9.
Enraged, Cameron walked off his morning show Friday, Sept. 21, and stayed away until the following Tuesday, refusing to make any of his weekend appearances. "I knew I could do something without it costing me my job," he says. "That's one of the benefits of being on the radio for 11 years, you have a little clout."
Upon his return, Cameron says he met with Radio One executives and showed them that people ranging from clergy to bank employees had signed petitions. "My show crosses all demographics. I think that once they saw that, they had to reconsider," he says.
"Listener support had a lot to do with the decision," said Wayne Brown, Radio One's regional general manager of. "We were worried about losing some listeners if we changed frequencies, but now we are very confident about the future of Hot 107.9."
Cameron hopes the stronger signal will allow Hot 97.5 to be more competitive with the city's most popular station, the R&B-oriented V103. "Other stations have always been able to have their foot on our neck, but now it's a fair battle. And that's what we're looking for."
Hot 97.5 is now kicking off an advertising campaign to spread the word about the switch. According to Brown, the vacated 97.5 frequency will become the nation's first FM gospel station within a major radio market.