Fans of local conservative commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz have been waiting for his on-air return to commercial radio since WXNT-AM 1430 cut his “Abdul in the Mornings” show in 2011.
The wait is about over, as the cigar-chomping attorney will host a show at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays on WIBC-FM 93.1, starting June 1.
“He has a nice following and he does a fun show,” said David Wood, program director for Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp.'s local stations. Shabazz will take phone calls from listeners on politics and current affairs.
He has frequently made light of his incongruous profile—being black, conservative and a Muslim. Shabazz currently is editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.org and a frequent commentator in print publications. He’s also an attorney at Indianapolis law firm Lewis and Wilkins.
The 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. slot is currently home to sports host Jersey Johnny, who also has a show on Emmis’ WFNI-AM 1070, on Sundays. Years earlier, the Saturday afternoon slot was home to “Crime Beat,” hosted by former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.
On Monday, federal officials announced that one of Brizzi’s former lieutenants, ex-chief deputy David Wyser, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of bribery. Wyser, 53, has agreed to cooperate with authorities as they continue an investigation led by the FBI. Brizzi is a target, according to IBJ sources, but has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, WIBC this week may fill its vacant position for news director, Wood said.
A few months ago, the news-talk radio station, one of the few in the state to offer a local news reporting team, switched its network affiliation from ABC News to Fox News.
The move has fueled speculation that the station might pull back on its local news coverage—perhaps leading the hour with a Fox news report followed by smattering of local news on the backend of the report. Such a change could portend a reduction in news staff, local media sources told IBJ.
Wood said the incoming news director will review operations, but that “we’re not dialing back our news in any way.”
Shabazz’s old employer, WXNT, recently switched from all-syndicated news-talk to sports-talk content from CBS.