HOT 97 vs. The Breakfast Club……….ON TV!
Growing up as a fan of hip hop in the mid west you always wanted to know and hear the new music! I grew up in the 90’s and back then, it wasn’t as easy to get to music as it is now. Even though the art form has gone global, New York will forever be the Mecca of Hip Hop and Hot 97 has been at the radio forefront of this movement for over 20 years. In the last couple of years (Depending on who you ask), there has been a fierce rivalry between Hot 97 and up and coming station Power 105.1 which includes the highly popular morning show “The Breakfast Club”. It is no secret that there has been a bit of animosity between the two stations and their personalities. They have sent shots and traded insults at one another for a while and its all for one reason, radio supremacy! Not just supremacy in New York City but with all of the new streaming technology, they’re in competition to rule the airwaves nationwide.
Back in December an announcement was made that the Breakfast Club would start broadcasting their morning show on Revolt TV. In addition to branching out into many markets in syndication, moving to TV was a major move for the show. For a while it seemed like Hot 97 was attempting to, maybe take some sort of high road. They constantly tried to drive home the point that Power 105.1 and the Breakfast Club were not being true to the art form, that their approach was to put entertainment and celebrity before the music, pretty much fluff. Well, I think that the powers that be over there finally realized that they couldn’t ignore the signs of the digital/streaming/social media times any longer. It was revealed that the radio station would be coming out with their own reality show on VH1. “This is Hot 97” premiered in primetime on March 31st. Coincidently; this was the same day that the Breakfast Club debuted on Revolt TV.
So now that the two heavyweights are battling it out in the TV arena, comparisons are going to be made and everyone’s going to weigh in on who has the better show. Now in all fairness, its kind of hard to put the two shows head to head simply because they are two totally different formats. With the Breakfast Club on Revolt, what you’re getting is a glimpse into what you usually hear but always wanted to see. From the time they began to post video footage of the interviews they were doing, I became a huge fan of it. It’s one thing to hear your favorite artist or personality in the hot seat but its totally different when you get to see the visuals. You get to see the body language, facial expressions and all of the things that give you a deeper insight into the conversation. Watching on Revolt, you get to see them in their element and get a behind the scenes look at what goes on in the studio during the show. “This is Hot 97” on the other hand, is a weekly reality show that thus far appears to not only poke fun at the reality tv genre but also at themselves. Brought to you by Mona Scott-Young (Love & Hip Hop franchise), it seems the show is making a conscious effort to not go in the same direction as her other shows. They made it very clear that we won’t see any arguing, fighting or “ratchet” behavior on the show. After watching episode one, I get the feeling that the goal is to not take themselves too serious, they’re almost playing caricatures of themselves.
If you are a hip hop artist or personality in pop culture, at the end of the day you have to go through both of these places. You don’t make a trip to New York without sitting down with both groups, that’s just how the game goes. They’ll continue to compete for stories, trade jabs and most importantly fight for those ratings. I think that the TV forum will serve both of them well, we are in a visual age and I think as consumers it helps us identify with them more. It is still early but as of right now, I have to give the edge to The Breakfast Club. I think it’s the authenticity of the show, all of the different camera shots, just gives an up close and personal feel. I applaud Hot 97 for making the leap into TV though. A lot of people began to jump ship saying that they believed the station was stuck in the past, this clearly shows different. We’ll just have to wait and see if their somewhat scripted approach will grab the viewer. I think both stations will have a presence on TV for some years to come.