Radio Facts has just learned that industry vet Sidney Miller has died. He was 89. Miller ran BRE (Black Radio Exclusive) magazine for more than 40 years which culminated into a conference and other events. BRE was one of a few Black music industry trades to make an impact in the history of music. We will keep you posted of further details as they come in.
In establishing the first black music industry trade, Sidney Miller, Jr. earned his place as a pioneer in Black Music. His publication, Black Radio Exclusive (BRE), was founded on a dream, developed with perseverance, and brought to its leadership pinnacle through excellence. Under Miller’s leadership, BRE has contributed immensely to furthering the cause and importance of Black radio, promoting the significant impact that Black music artists and Black music have had in the world of contemporary music.
Miller had been a pioneer in marketing concepts before the start-up of BRE. A graduate of FAMU, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, the Pensacola native had become familiar with the club circuit along the East Coast while still in college. A musician himself, a mean trumpeter, he was a pre-med major but had to make a living. The Adderley brothers, Cannonball and Nat were among his college peers, and he spent most of his weekends booking them and others he put together in bands up and down the coast. Continuing to combine his artistry with good business sense, he entered the military as an officer where he continued his sideline business of playing and booking bands and entertainment for the Army.
Capitol Records was his first record business home where he headed the Fame label imprint and worked in A&R under Artie Mogull with such diverse acts as Helen Reddy, Joe South, The Fortunes and Cannonball Adderley. He relocated from the Capitol branch in Atlanta to the Los Angeles tower at a rapid pace, eventually heading the entire promotions division, which included country & western, pop and R&B.
He believed so strongly in the potential and importance of a publication targeted to this market that he sold his house, his car and invested his savings into launching BRE, and the first issue of the publication in 1976. He introduced it to the NATRA Convention in Antigua, and it quickly became recognized as the first major magazine focusing on black music.
In addition to the magazine, Miller instituted the Annual BRE Conference, a prestigious gathering of key national and international Music figures. Superstars performing have included Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Sade, L.L. Cool J, Hammer, and many more. Naughty By Nature was discovered at BRE. Hammer begged to be allowed on stage at a Los Angeles conference and then took off. Stevie Wonder composed a special song for BRE.
Miller also began “Hollywood Live,” the first live via satellite radio syndicated show of its kind to feature 800 call-in numbers and active participation with the music consumer. Frankie Crocker, of WBLS fame, was his host.
He served on the board of NARAS MusiCares Foundation, the Evander Holyfield Foundation, the National Black Programmers Coalition, the New Orleans Music Commission, the Atlanta Music Commission and the Washington, D.C. Music Commission. His walls are lined with many awards, accolades and commissions including the NAACP Image Award.