Abdul-Hakim Shabazz’s morning radio show on WXNT-AM 1430 will be replaced by the syndicated "Wall Street Journal Report" on Monday in what Shabazz described as a cost-cutting decision made by WXNT’s corporate parent, Pennsylvania-based Entercom Communications Corp.
But Shabazz said Thursday morning that he plans to continue commenting on local politics via a new website and possibly a daily podcast. He has purchased the domain name IndyPolitics.org and hopes to launch new content on the site by Labor Day, in order to cover the Indianapolis mayoral race.
“What I’m trying to do is to almost turn that into the Politico of Indianapolis,” Shabazz said, adding, “There’s nobody doing that citywide.”
Shabazz said he still needs to work out a business model for the site. “How can I use this to actually eat?” he said.
Shabazz was told Wednesday that his show would end after Friday's broadcast. He broke the news that afternoon on his blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Shabazz, 41, began hosting “Abdul in the Morning” in September 2004, and though it typically drew a small audience, he claimed to attract many local and community leaders. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has said that he is a regular listener.
In the June Arbitron ratings, WXNT overall ranked No. 21 in the Indianapolis market.
“We’ve never been a ratings power house per se,” Hakim-Shabazz told IBJ in a February interview. “We’re more like The Economist. And our friends at WIBC are like USA Today.”
In the following videos from IBJ's "Leading Questions" series, Shabazz expounds on his approach to politics, his radio show, and widening his audience through social media. He also discusses his history as a stage performer.
Shabazz received a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism from Northern Illinois University in 1992 and a master's in public affairs reporting in 1995 from the University of Illinois. He earned a law degree from St. Louis University in 2002.
In addition to relaunching his commentary online, Shabazz said he will continue to teach at Ivy Tech Community College and work for the Indianapolis law firm Lewis and Wilkins LLP, where he has an “of counsel” position. He said he would also keep blogging at IndianaBarrister.com.
In the past, Shabazz has been an assistant appellate prosecutor for Springfield, Ill.; columnist for IBJ; stand-up comedian; voiceover talent and actor. He's also been a spokesman and strategic communications coordinator for the Illinois Attorney General's Office, an assistant producer/anchor for a television news program and a disc jockey.
Asked to describe his political views, Shabazz told IBJ in a previous interview: “I am a socially progressive capitalist pig. That means that I frankly don’t care what you do in the privacy of your home; just don’t ask me to pay for it.”