Joe Madison has been a strong and unsparing voice on Washington’s morning airwaves for more than two decades. He started out his D.C. talk radio career first at WWRC and then moved on to 1450 WOL-AM.
But after holding court on WOL-AM for more than a decade, the self-declared radio “Judge”- known for keeping callers in check- has signed off from the Radio One- owned station and can now only be heard on satellite radio: He’ll exclusively be on the Urban View on Sirius XM Monday through Friday from 6 am to 10 am. The fiery personality, who got his start on a Detroit radio station in 1980, talked with the Post’s Hamil Harris about the move.
Why did you leave ?
There was no room for growth professional and financially. At Sirius XM, I now reach millions of listeners from coast to coast. We get calls from all over the world- from Dubai to Japan. WOL has a very limited signal. Even though Satellite radio is subscriber based it has 24 million subscribers. “
What motivated you join radio?
I had been working as the political director for the NAACP and I had been a guest on a number of shows. Then I got a chance to do a weekend show. I then got a chance to do it full time on an FM talk station from midnight to 5:30 am. At one time I commuted between Detroit and Philadelphia and then in the early 1980’s I ended up in Washington at WWRC AM. Then when WRC changed its format I came to WOL.
You are known to be tough with callers. Why?
Whatever is said on the Madison show is attributed the Madison show. If a caller calls in with misinformation and deliberate says something, people won’t remember the caller but they will remember they heard it on the Madison show. It is my credibility that is on the line and that is extremely important. Some personalities are like traffic cop, I have a responsibility of making sure that my audience is hearing factual information.’
We get calls from all over the country. It is like a courtroom and I am the judge. We don’t screen the calls. I have to judge whether it is good call and whether the facts re right. People will call and and try to give you misinformation. Most people get upset out of frustration. They don’t like being challenged but that is how I grew up, people challenged your thought process.”
Do you have any regrets about leaving WOL?
Satellite doesn’t replace AM or FM. It is just a new way of getting information in the same way Cable is replacing the VHF TV it is a new means of delivery. We have to learn to pay for what we need. Not so much what we want. We have information that value and is affordable.
What do you want people to know you for?
I always have seen myself as a person who recognizes that one person can make a difference. . I always tell my audience: “What are you going to do about it ? Rosa Parks was a seamstress, Mabel Teel was mother. Fannie Lou was share cropper. President Obama was a community organizer.”
When we talked about the slaves in the Sudan. We went to the Sudan. We challenged gansta rap. When Travon Martin died we took our show to Florida, I will always asked the question: “What are you going to do about it ?”