Our nation is rapidly transitioning to a globalized economy where lack of access to information, computer and technology skills and access to internet/broadband, are impairing our community’s economic and cultural advancement. These “digital divides” however not only affect people, but businesses within the communications industries, particularly those businesses that have historically served minority and low-income communities. Over time, the rising costs of communications infrastructure, changing of business models to online platforms, as well as a tremendous shift of online consumer behaviors are causing these businesses to struggle to stay alive.
At this panel, hosted at and in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia will discuss the case of three longstanding respected and trusted businesses within the communications and telecommunications industries in Philadelphia; They are Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc., one of the largest African-American owned private cable operators in the Eastern United States, 900AM-WURD, the only African-American owned talk radio station in Pennsylvania, and The Philadelphia Tribune, one of the oldest continuously published African-American Newspapers in the United States.
Along with a special keynote address from Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the panel will explore the challenges that these companies have to stay relevant in the digital age, what they are doing to change with the times and remain trusted community providers. Additionally we will examine how the FCC’s national plan to tackle the digital divide is important to the success and future of not only these companies but for the entire African American community in Philadelphia and beyond.