Another one of Hot 97’s strongest assets is midday host Angie Martinez, but even she has somebody at Power 105 nipping at her heels. “We have Prostyle on up against her,” Jack says, "and in the last five months during her 3-7 p.m. time slot, Pro has won twice, and we’ve tied the other time.”
Hot 97’s morning show with Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds is also underachieving, losing to Power’s Breakfast Club trio of DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God on a regular basis.
Hot 97’s morning show with Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds is also underachieving, losing to Power’s Breakfast Club trio of DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God on a regular basis. “Clearly we have the best urban morning show in the country,” says Jack. Statistics show they’ve beaten Hot 97 every month this year in each demographic, including 18-34.
What Hot 97 does have over Power 105 is strong legacy and admiration amongst the rappers they play on their station. Established in 1988, Hot 97 is still the station that young rhymers dream of hearing their music on. An interview with Angie Martinez or getting Flex to drop a bomb on your record is considered a rite of passage. And while Power 105 has been going strong for more than a decade now, in many ways, it's still considered an upstart.
A quick search for lyrical references to Hot 97 compared to Power 105 mentions shows an overwhelming win in 97’s favor, especially from New York artists. (Power 105 has even made special radio edits of certain songs, like Biggie's "Juicy," deleting references to Funkmaster Flex.) Darden knows why.
“Hot 97 is the only station that continually supports and breaks New York hip-hop artists,” he says. “We are continually in the community helping young people have a voice. Hip-hop is a culture created to enable those that did not have representatives, be represented—their fantasies, their fears, their anger, their desire to be carefree and party, their dress, and everything in between. For better or for worse Hot 97, has been a part of the fabric of New York hip-hop and we continue to be. Ask any artist from New York what we have done to help them change their circumstances and chase their dreams. Then ask about Poser."
Hot 97 has been a part of the fabric of New York hip-hop and we continue to be. Ask any artist from New York what we have done to help them change their circumstances and chase their dreams. Then ask about 'Poser.'
—WQHT's Ebro Darden
While Jack respects 97’s history, he also believes that their current on-air staff, packed with older veterans, may be soon left in the dust.
“Hot 97 and its personalities have been around for a long, long time,” he explains. “Someone who was 21 when Hot signed on could listen to personalities their own age playing hip-hop music on the radio. Now, though, those same people are in their 40s. Today’s 21-year-old has only known two hip-hop stations in NYC and better relates to Power 105’s younger personalities, who are more in their demographic.”
Still, Darden believes Hot 97 team will win out in the long run. He compares his team to New York’s most heralded baseball club—the Yankees. That makes Power 105 the other team. “Just ask a Mets fan how they feel year after year when the Mets appear to be doing better than the Yankees,” he jokes. “Still no championship.”
But with their current streak of wins and the way Power 105 is competing where it counts, Jack has a question of his own to ask: “Come on, who would you rather be?”