Here are the biggest stories of 2015 in Radio Facts . It was a great year for those in business in the industry and we continue to see technology like streaming and podcasting grow by leaps and bounds.
Steve Harvey makes major Faux Pas and Quickly Recovers
Steve Harvey must have some GREAT people on his team. This situation could have been MUCH worse (Miss Universe) but Steve quickly jumped in apologized and cleaned it up in a way that took the wind out of it. He has since had his contract renewed to continue hosting the show. Continue to Click “Next” above or below for next Big Story of 2015
Tom Joyner Story on Being Booted from Show Appears in UK News Source
The biggest news story in the industry today is Tom Joyner. There is a scathing but well-written story posted in the Daily Mail which is a UK news source, stating that Tom Joyner is being booted out of the radio industry at the same time as President Obama will be leaving the white house causing an early retirement for Tom. “I feel that Radio One is giving Tom the boot at the same time as President Obama leaving the white house because it’s the end of an era. Tom and his listeners were very instrumental in Obama’s campaigns.” stated an industry source. The Tom Joyner morning show has over 8 Million listeners. The story states that Radio One, the now majority owner of Reach Media (80%) wants to replace Tom with younger talent and that the black-owned radio corporation is deeply concerned with – See more at: https://allradionews.com/reach-media-responds-to-daily-mail-story-announcing-tom-joyner-show-cancellation/#sthash.gdfyFNUL.dpuf
Big Boy Makes Move to Real 92.3 and Triples Salary
March 2015: Big Boy Makes Big News
Looks like iHeartMedia has won Big Boy over Emmis’ Power 106 who was hoping a judge would continue an injunction to keep the LA vet off the air while they forged ahead with their lawsuit, Emmis going up against behemoth iHeartMedia was not a good gamble and they lost this round. Big Boy starts on March 9 at Real 92.3 earning a whopping 3.4 million a year. Emmis was happy that the judge granted them the right to continue their lawsuit against Big for not giving them the right to match the offer. No word on whether or not he will bring anyone from the Power 106 morning show with him but several industry people have speculated that Fuzzy Fantabulous may be rejoining Big and the two, who are best friends have an amazing chemistry on air. He has been replaced by J. Cruz at Power 106, a longtime jock at the station. This is the second huge iHeartMedia hit for Emmis, the corporation also got Angie Martinez from Emmis’ Hot 97 in New York and moved her to Power 105 after 20 years on the station. Without question, it’s going to be a challenge for both stations, Power 106 and Hot 97, to recover after the loses.
Janet Jackson Opts out of Major Label Deal and Starts own Label
Janet Jackson must have really learned a few valuable lessons about marketing during her 30 plus year career in the music industry. Tired of playing the label game, the youngest Jackson and second most successful sibling of the Jackson clan is almost 50 and while she has had an amazing career, it’s still a youth driven industry that leaves many vet artists out in the cold when radio refuses to play their current songs. Janet was brilliant in using her leverage both financially and her legacy to pretty much finance her own tour and album project. Both of which have been successful. The key is leverage and Janet’s icon status leaves her a ton of it.
Kathy Sledge and Sisters are anything but “Family”
Sept 25, 2015: It took a visit from the Pope to reveal to the world that Sister Sledge’s biggest hit “We are Family” doesn’t hold true today. Apparently the sisters were very upset with the lead singer Kathy, for leaving the group to work on solo projects. They went back and forth in court and the sisters won. Kathy is no longer able to sing any of the previous hits that had her singing lead on them and the feud has been going on for more than 20 years. Kathy feels that the poor relationship with her sisters is unfortunately permanent. The sisters performed for the Pope sans Kathy who finally revealed why she would not be there (can’t blame her) for this monumental performance.
Donnie Simpson Returns to the Airwaves in DC
August 18, 2015: Industry legend Donnie Simpson who had taken a 5 year forced hiatus from radio returned to Radio One’s airwaves in DC. Simpson will also have a TV show on TV One. We have already been hearing “reservations” about Simpson’s choice in music like James Brown marathons etc but we’re sure he had a clause in his contract that allows him to pick the music he wants to play on his show. Time will tell how well the situation works out but Donnie would have been a fool to not sign a long-term deal and we’re sure he did.
Emperor Searcy Released from Radio One’s Hot 107.9
July 31, 2015. Searcy is a legend in the Atlanta DJ market and his release from the station was one of the most read stories on Radio Facts in 2015. Radio One had a couple more cuts of industry vets around the same time, Carol Blackmon and Rene Miller. Shortly thereafter it was announced that Donnie Simpson was returning to the airwaves in DC…. Voila!
Wendy Williams Knows the Best Revenge…. is Success. Talk show host confronts industry Vet Elroy Smith about not hiring her for a Radio Gig.
August 20, 2015, This must have really tasted great to Wendy.
Daytime TV Talk Show Star & Former Radio Personality, Wendy Williams Takes Over the Airwaves at 107-3 JAMZ (WJMZ /Greenville, SC) and Candidly Confronts, Operations Manager, Elroy Smith… Hear Wendy Speak her mind after Elroy rejected her Over 20 Years Ago!!!!
Lew Dickey Steps Down
March 2015: KUDOS to the business owner who admits that it’s time for a new regime to take over if the business is to succeed them. Cumulus’ former CEO Lew Dickey, the founder of the company stepped town and announced the position was going to be held by Mary G. Berner, a specialist in marketing including social networking as well as an impressive history as the new CEO. While he didn’t say it, the company stocks spoke volumes for a need for a change, taking a 84% dive within a year of the time he relinquished his post in March of 2015. Cumulus is in good company with bad radio stock, all of the corporations have had dismal returns (if any) this past year.
Radio One Parts Ways with Two Vets
July 30, 2015: Majic 107.5/97.5 has decided to part ways with two Atlanta female vets. Carol Blackmon and Rene Miller were released from the station this week as the station has experienced continuous ratings challenges. Blackmon started at the station in early 2009 as the midday host and Miller started in 2013 as the evening host. Both have worked at other stations in the – See more at: https://radiofacts.com/radio-one-atlanta-parts-ways-with-two-vets/#sthash.UQvm2IVr.dpuf
Kirk Franklin Rips the Black Church Concept on the Breakfast Club
November 2015: Every time I think I have seen the best work the Breakfast Club can do it keeps getting better. This time Kirk Franklin appears on the show apologizing for the black church’s attacks on the black LGBT community, the church’s systems of religion that target some sins and leave others out and just the overall hypocrisy, greed and the pomp and circumstance and black church leaders. This is not to say that ALL black churches are like this.
I really love the camaraderie between Charlamagne, Yee and Envy and they all ask some great questions during this interview. I implore other jocks around the country to watch how they do interviews to get off the “who inspired you” bandwagon. KUDOS to Franklin for telling the audience you don’t have to partake in the church systems in order to have a relationship with God. Something that the black church has falsely instilled in members for decades while the plate is being passed around for money for the church that is rarely given back to the community in its time of need.
Finally, Franklin goes into even more depth by talking about the curse of being creative and how those who are TRULY talented often have the burden of depression because the circle is so small of people who understand them. I won’t tell you what he says but you have to watch the video to get the message clearly.
Steve Harvey’s 1.5 Million Dollar Mistake
Sept 6, 2015:
STEVE ON BEING SHOT & HOMELESS
HOW HIP HOP CHANGED RACE RELATIONS & THINK LIKE A MAN
BEING VERSATILE IN THE GAME
Ebro’s Great Radio Moment Interrupted by Rosenberg
Without question, New York has some of the most talented jocks in the country. Unlike a majority of the country where corporations are about the music, New York is more focused on great content which is why the number one market is so great for Radio. I have to comment Hot for being the MOST on point for submitting press on everything happening with the Emmis outlets in New York. Their ability to promote that station is second to NONE. No other radio station or corporation in the COUNTRY does as much promoting to the press and industry trades they do. KUDOS. In this example, I was a bit disappointed that Rosenburg literally ruined what could have been one of the best radio moments in decades.
New York radio is simply the best, hands down. They are the number one market for a reason. Whenever I listen to NY radio it truly gives me the itch to go to a smaller market and program a station with that same kind of raw talent and genius. In my entire industry career I have never met Ebro. I doubt we have ever been in the same room together but I greatly respect his talent. He is by far, in my opinion, one of the best black radio jocks in the industry. His talent far exceeds radio and I would easily place him in the top 5. Ebro’s greatest asset is his ability to connect to guests, issues and the audience from a very honest and straight-forward perspective and a deeper level of intellect that is still not over the guests or audience’s head. He makes great points and he makes you think. I rarely see ANY urban jock that can bring a guest to tears and make the moment work.
I get many press releases for radio award announcements. We all know the politics behind that. Get the most popular person who is going to generate the most money and press and THAT’s who we will give the award to. I think it’s terribly unfortunate that the people who REALLY deserve awards in our industry rarely get them.
The fact that I did not see ONE award for Ebro’s segment on Hot 97 where he convinced mister cee to stay at the station after the scandal and mister cee cried and came clean about his past on the air was nothing less than unfortunate and perhaps it’s time for ME to do something ELSE that nobody will ever do and recognize this kind of true talent. That was some of the best radio I have ever heard in my entire industry career whether you agreed with it or not, the comments I saw offered nothing but praise for the segment. It literally sounded like a private conversation where one black man was trying to support and convince another black man to keep going when he felt like giving up which we almost NEVER hear in the form of radio broadcasts. Ebro also did an exceptional job with Azealia Banks when she also broke down and cried about black culture being stolen with no respect. He talked to her like a father and told her that he understood her intentions but that people like her are always the ones who end up looking like the bad guy because so many black people are so caught up in conforming.
This time, Ebro talked about the shootings in Charleston. Once again, he started off by talking about what happened and asked people not to sweep it under the carpet. As he continued to talk about it with the perfect music backing him, he reached a pitch and then he broke down. Silence. You could tell he was overcome with emotion when speaking about the only thing black slaves had left was the church and now that place of sanctuary is being invaded and sabotaged. It is the epitome of disrespect. When you watch the video you can actually FEEL what he is saying as a black person. This is a VERY private moment for everyone but ESPECIALLY for black listeners
In radio we are told/trained never to have dead air but at a moment like this (and there was music still playing) it was essential. His emotional pitch really started to bring his point home and the other staff members wanted to support him and keep the momentum going but you can tell everyone thought twice about jumping in. Still silence… Then Rosenberg JUMPS in like the Rachel Dolezal scaring the hell out of us with way too much energy for the moment and says “You know I would chime in and say something here but no one wants to hear my answer.” He was absolutely right. The mood was shot and the entire segment was blown at that moment. Then one black guy started having a conversation with Ebro trying to bring it back. I so wish he was have done this just a few seconds earlier before Rosenberg said anything. The black jock (even if he isn’t one he should be) was telling Ebro not to be discouraged and to wait for the outcome, the chemistry between the two of them was perfect. You want to hear what Ebro has to say next. Then Rosenberg kept interrupting and kept making it worse by talking about how black people related to the church, let’s all think of Dr. King and how… WHAT?
If I was the PD of Hot I would have run to the window and signaled for Rosenberg to shut the hell up. Rosenberg then says “I know that a white person chiming in on this is relevant BUT not the same…!” Can someone tell Rosenberg to please follow his instincts (lol)? His energy was too high, he was speaking in an authoritative tone instead of a compassionate one and the chemistry was just not there. This was a very private moment about black people, another racist tragedy and it was a conversation between two black men and it should have remained in Ebro’s hands. ALL listeners as well as the segment could have benefited MORE from the message if Rosenberg had just stayed out of it. Ebro continued to try to bring his point home but the momentum, the raw emotion, the message and a potential great radio segment was gone for good.
Major Faux Pas for Ben Carson, Looses Teeth in a Plate of Grits
May 13, 2015: Republican candidate and world-renowned brain surgeon Ben Carson looked more like a waiter at The Hamhock House when he ate breakfast at a country diner called Tommy’s Country Ham. The presidential hopeful fit right in with the locals when he lost his teeth in a plate of grits. It was too late to find them in time, apparently, as he got up and did a speech as his alter ego Uncle Edmond.
Claudia Jordan Fired from Rickey Smiley Show
July 9, 2015
Claudia Jordan has been fired from two major gigs in a month. Unfortunately, this can’t be good news. Nevertheless, Atlanta is not for everyone and it appears within her statement that she is planning on relocating. It was announced recently that she was terminated from the Real Housewives of Atlanta after one season, then yesterday, it was announced she’s also been terminated from the Rickey Smiley Morning Show after one year. Rickey’s politically correct statement was “ Our girl Claudia Jordan is moving on after a year on ‘The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,’ and we will miss her. Just want to thank her for her time with us and we wish her nothing but the best.” Claudia followed suit, for the most part, in addition to mentioning in her statement that she is the second woman to be let go of within a year and that she will pursue other opportunities that will allow her to “better showcase her talents.” This probably could’ve been better played if she had said she needs to relocate after exiting The Real Housewives of Atlanta and would no longer be able to be of part of the Atlanta-based Rickey Smiley Morning show. Her entire message on her Facebook page is below … we wish the best for the show as well as Claudia.
Hey friends and fam. I just wanted to make an announcement here for all that have been supporting me in all of my jobs, ventures and adventures. After working on The Rickey Smiley Show for a year I am moving on to more opportunities. There are a whole lot of things I want to do that will better showcase my talents, personality, intelligence and witness and I’m ready to pursue them! I’m grateful to Reach Media and to Mr. Smiley for giving me the opportunity which in turn helped me have a reason to be in Atlanta to be on the Real Housewives of Atlanta which was another amazing opportunity that has brought me nothing but more exposure, more checks and more opportunities in film and many other things. To those that rode with me through the storm when I was trying to adjust on the show with conflicting advice coming at me from all angles-I thank you. To my critics-I thank you also because you pushed me and motivated me to do better. I know I’m the second female co-host to depart in a year but I have total confidence that they will fill that spot with someone who will do the damn thing and be able to stay forever! I’ll miss the crew and made some real friends on the RSMS and I wish them the best.I also want to publicly say THANK YOU to Ebony Steele who was a total class act to me when I started and has continued to check up on me and has truly shown me sisterhood despite everything. I can not wait to see her next move also. She’s talented and a radio star! But lots of things are cooking as we speak and I’ll post where you can catch me next REAL soon! XOXO CJ
Corey Condrey Returns to the Airwaves After 2 Year Hiatus
In This Episode of the Radio Facts Radio Show… we talked to Cory Condrey who is back after a hiatus of nearly two years as hip hop’s spiritual radio personality “CoCo Brother.” He has decided to form his own syndication company this time called Radio Condrey. The first show “CoCo Brother Live: The Weekend” has already started and he’s accomplished quite a bit since his time off. But what made him walk from such a successful show two years ago? He has a very interesting and exclusive story to tell on this episode of the Radio Facts Radio Show podcast. Enjoy. Also available for download on iTunes and
Shirley Caesar Gets Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
The current Queen of Gospel, legendary artist Pastor Shirley Caesar garners a new milestone, as an honoree in the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s just-announced honorees selected for the class of 2016, to receive a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Recording, unveiled via www.walkoffame.com (date for star ceremony is pending). The award-winning Gospel trailblazer, who’s garnered a career-high 11 GRAMMY® Awards, 18 Dove Awards, 14 Stellar Awards and induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, was also recently inducted into the inaugural Stellar Honors Club at the 2015 Stellar Awards. Pastor Caesar will also celebrate another milestone in 2016, marking 50 years in her internationally-renowned career as a solo artist. With over 40 albums including her most recent hit album Good God, Pastor Caesar will soon be releasing more new music, and remains a beloved community leader in her native North Carolina, continuing to pastor at the Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, NC and serve the community through her Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries.
Phil Thornton, eOne Music Vice President and General Manager of Urban Inspirational, says: “Entertainment One Music congratulates Pastor Shirley Caesar on this monumental achievement as an honoree on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for 2016! What a great blessing to be selected for this honor. Pastor Caesar’s incomparable style, personality and lifelong dedication to ministry have continued to impact and influence so many fans around the world, and we are thrilled to celebrate her upcoming 50-year anniversary and deliver new music to come.”
Pastor Caesar also recently performed in a celebration honoring gospel music’s rich history, hosted at the White House. Her performance will air on “The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House,” which is scheduled to air on PBS and TV One on Friday June 26th.
Denise “Vanity” Mathews Asks for Donations for Medical Challenges
August 12, 2015: Evangelist and former Prince protegé Denise “Vanity” Mathews is ill and asking for your support.
“Praise the Lord everyone this is Denise Matthews I just got out of the hospital again I’ve taken an ambulance 3 times so far. Instead of going back to Washington Hospital I went to Kaiser this time. They diagnosed me and they gave me medicine for my illness, praise God. I didn’t get very much help at all from the other hospital but I did witness to many doctor, nurses and patients in his name. I want to say thank you to everyone for all your help and your generosity that you have sent towards my new medication bills which is what a lot of it will be used for Including financing a % of my hospital bills. I do so greatly appreciate all of you and all of your great love towards me/ Jesus shall deliver me. Please pray for miracles my way. As my breath is slow, But my spirit is full of love for God’s people. May we continue steadfast and to everlasting life. Please note Saints, If you find anything In the way of gifts On my site Note that I’m going to be selling everything real cheap, for a small Donation price. I love you all And bless you all Everlasting life my friends Be sweet Be kind Be fruitful Be gentle to those that are sick To those that have fallen And believe Christ In everything Search him, Find him And obey Him. So much love to you all Love, Denise Matthews. So pick and choose I would love to send you a gift. God bless you!” Gofundme.com
Mark Curry Replaces Steve Harvey in San Francisco
October 2, 2015: KBLX, 102.9/SAN FRANCISCO only urban leaning station is canceling the Steve Harvey Morning Show and bringing in comedian Mark Curry who is from the Bay area. He will start on Monday Oct 12 with vets Kimmie Taylor and Victor “Big Daddy” Zaragoza. We’re not sure how this will work out but from my programming perspective I would allow Mark to bring in his own sidekicks to ensure the trio gels on the air but perhaps this has already been tested but as you know Radio Facts loves local mornings in certain markets so we are not complaining.
“The KBLX audience has been asking for a live and local morning show and we’re giving them exactly that. I’m so excited to have such great talent on the KBLX airwaves and it’s an honor and privilege to put together a local morning show that will not only be engaging and entertaining but will also be an integral part of our listeners’ daily lives” stated PD Stacey Cunningham. Curry said, ‘I’m just glad to have a damn JOB… Thank Ya Jesus’ OK, he didn’t say that he actually said… ‘Do I get paid yet?’ OK, he didn’t say that either… I can’t help it.
He ACTUALLY said “I’m so ready to take to the BAY AREA airwaves. I’m bubbling with excitement to serve the listeners of this legendary radio station in the market where I was born and raised. How great is that? We’re about to change the face of BAY AREA radio forever. Get ready, cause here we come.” He, Big Daddy and Kimme then started dancing like the Temptations.
VP/GM said Steve Dinaro added “Mark Curry” is a great addition to ENTERCOM and the KBLX family. As a BAY AREA native, MARK truly understands this unique and diverse media landscape. MARK’s compelling humor and mass appeal will resonate with KBLX listeners. This team’s passion for the community and their charisma are a winning combination.” Steve Harvey stated “Why is y’all droppin’ my show?”
Jock Dies Penniless
A former St. Louis jock was forced to eat the peanuts she didn’t sell that were left over at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. When she didn’t have any peanuts she would pretend to be a guest and eat at the local hotel buffets until she was busted by employees and thrown out when trying to stuff food in her purse.
LaVerne Holliday, 60, died penniless and sick from an aggressive form of breast cancer June 3. She lost her job as a popular host of a jazz show on WSIE at Southern Illinois University in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she had to take care of her mom who died in 2005.
Holiday lost her health insurance and was then diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She fought the cancer while trying to get back on the air. She was very eager to get back on the air friends stated but she could not. “Nobody was hiring her,” recalled a friend, Robin Boyce. Radio is a hard business, she said, “especially for African-Americans.” Holiday hit her radio peak in the late 90s and early 2000s. She was raised in the old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in north St. Louis. She, her sister and three brothers lived with their mother, who was a housekeeper and evangelist. (see the great movie based on the Pruitt-Igoe projects on Nexflix). The family moved to Pagedale, and LaVerne graduated from Normandy High School before studying speech and acting at Tennessee State University. She went on to earn a psychology degree at Washington University before studying for several semesters at St. Louis University School of Law. Her love for radio outweighed her degree in Psychology and she opted to pursue radio instead. No information on services provided. This story sadly reminds us of another urban jock who was murdered this year after he fell on hard times.
Stevie Wonder’s Live Demo of Song he Wrote for Michael Jackson
Most people around the world know that stevie wonder is an amazing songwriter. Also, most people know that stevie wonder wrote Michael Jackson’s song “I Can’t Help It” that appeared on this Off The Wall album. The song is one of my personal favorites and I always wondered what the studio session was like when those two icons came together. Well, you can at least hear Stevie demo the record. Feel free to check a genius at work.
Tyrese Makes Waves about CHR Radio
Tyrese currently has the number one R&B/Soul album in the country and his album “Black Rose” is the number 3 overall album in the country. That is something to be proud about and Tyrese has done it by creating a great album. It is really a good album but he also has been doing some clever marketing as well to help push the album. The amazing part is that he is doing it all independently. The beautiful thing about independence is that you have the freedom to say things you normally wouldn’t if you were signed to a major.
Tyrese isn’t holding back at all these days. He has been on radio talking about the discrepancy between white artists that perform R&B/Soul music versus black artists that perform R&B/Soul music. He notices that Sam Smith and Robin Thicke get love on all radio formats but he can only seem to get love from Urban formats. Tyrese isn’t talking about anything that most of us don’t know all ready but it is refreshing to see an artist in his position speak his mind so candidly and have a valid point. The R&B crooner has a lot to say. When TMZ caught up with him he didn’t pull any punches. Check out the clip below. See how the radio game works and why Tyrese is targeting the wrong people as explained by Radio Facts editor KevRoss here