Kyle Santillian’s Ready to TAKEOVER the Radio Industry

radio facts,radio djs,urban adult,Urban Radio,
urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singers  Many urban radio people, including PDs (still), feel it's better to maintain a low profile to maintain a more neutral stance with their respective corporations.[/penci_blockquote]This story originally ran June 11, 2017Several years ago I was getting constant videos and segments from a radio show at WJMH. Kyle Santillian was on a hustle to do greater things. I ran the segments because it was almost unheard of for black Radio DJs to promote themselves and as an industry news trade it made my job very difficult but I understood the resistance. Many urban radio people, including PDs (still), feel it's better to maintain a low profile to maintain a more neutral stance with their respective corporations. I also understand the corporation's need to protect its branding. Nevertheless, Santillian found a way to slip through the cracks and do what he needed to do. The industry took note including industry vet Derrick Brown who took a chance by bringing the vet to a major market to do the morning show after a previous morning show at GCI failed. Before that WGCI had been running syndicated shows. Kyle Santillian was born in Philadelphia and raised in Franklinville, New Jersey, a small rural town about 30 minutes from downtown Philly.  He started his radio career in 1999 as an intern at WJMH (102 Jamz) in Greensboro, NC. while he was a Junior at Winston-Salem State University. He was then promoted from intern to promotions assistant. Promotions assistant to part-time on air. Part-time on-air to full-time nights in 2001.  He hosted nights for two years. Then he hosted Mornings from 2003 to 2014….amazingly all at the same station. After that, his 15 year run at Jamz, ended and he was unemployed for about six months then he landed at WGCI doing mornings in Chicago.RADIO FACTS: I remember before the WGCI gig your online hustle was hard. You were obviously determined. How did you motivate yourself? KYLE SANTILLIAN: I was just motivated by not wanting to be a failure.  Not wanting to be a person who lost their job and was never working in radio again.  I was using the only outlet I had at the time, the internet.   Did/Do you have any mentors? Absolutely!  I would say my first mentor was Kendall B most recently of KS 107.5 in Denver.  He was working Nights when I was interning at Jamz. He was the 1st person to allow me to touch the board and even run his board for a portion of his show. From there, I’ll just list some names of some people that have given me great advice and have been an inspiration to me at different times in my career.
  • D’ Cherie of WNAA 90.1 Greensboro (Rest in Peace)
  • Brian Douglas of WJMH Greensboro
  • Uzi D of WPEG in Charlotte
  • Sammy Mack aka Buckwilde formerly of 95.7 Jamz in Birmingham
  • BJ Murphy of Charlotte
What has been the greatest asset to your career? I personally believe that it’s the ability to be a “real person.”  I was trained from day one to be a personality…be who you are on air, rather than just a “liner Radio DJ.”  Let your personality show & don’t overemphasize your words. What has been the greatest challenge? Sometimes the challenge is maintaining the balance between work and family.  I try to do my best to handle both accordingly. Sometimes there are conflicting things on my calendar but overall, I think I’ve done pretty well with it. It’s not easy though. Many radio people say that syndication sucks but if they are offered the chance to do it, they will jump at it. Is that fair? It’s a catch 22. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of one day having that national audience as well.   What's a typical day like in your working world? A typical day starts at 4 am.  On air from 6-10 am.  Depending on the day, after work is either meetings, recording promos or commercial/sponsor reads.  Hopefully get home with enough time to catch a power nap, before the kids get out of school.  Juggle their after school activities and helping with homework, dinner, family time. Then spend a couple of hours on prep for the next day, searching the internet for tomorrow’s news, topics or soundbites.  After all that, some nights there are evening events to attend and sometimes I can just shut it down, but it just depends on the day. Are there any industry people that you greatly admire? Absolutely.  I grew up listening to Power 99 in Philly, So I have great memories of Cater & Sandborn in the Morning.  I always admired them. (Rest in Peace to Brian Carter.)  Also, Lady B was influential to our whole generation of Hip Hop! Then, of course, Colby Colb’s “Radioactive” show.  As far as those who are currently on-air, I’ve always loved Big Boy’s show in LA.  I have a lot of respect for Charlamagne and The Breakfast Club Radio Show. I also used to listen to Angela Yee on XM before they all formed the Breakfast Club.  Because I started radio in NC, I admire all of the people before me who began or spent their early days there and went on to achieve great things. People like Skip Dillard (WBLS and WLIB), Derreck Corbett, Bushman, Mad Hatta, Tre Black (RIP), Afrika Perry, Angelique Perrin, and many more!Where do you see the industry going in the next couple of years? I see the industry continuing to evolve and further utilizing Digital. The radio industry is already utilizing all the available digital platforms as a way to extend our brands and I expect that to continue. How do you feel about technology?  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I’ve always had a love for electronics, technology, recording equipment, computers and things like that.  It's dope to have the world at your fingertips BUT always being on your phone can make you MISS what’s actually in front of your face. Social media is consuming people. We have to find a way to balance and use it productively without it dominating our lives. How important is social media to do your show? When it comes to our show, it’s very important.  It helps people get a glimpse into who we are.  It lets them know what’s coming up.  It allows people to follow up on what they may have already heard on-air.  I find that most importantly, it allows people to connect with us.  When you meet people in the street that follow you on social media, they talk to you like you’ve been best friends for years. Lol.  I love that about it.What's the greatest mistake that you find many radio people constantly make?  Trying to be too cool.  Just be you.  Be fun. Be vulnerable. Be emotional (at times.) Just be a real person. What do you think makes a Charlamagne vs a local radio Radio DJ who is stuck in a market for years? Exactly what I previously stated.  He has always been unapologetically Charlamagne.  He is who he is.  Also, people don’t network like they use too.  You may work in one market, but who do you know in other markets?  Who can you reach out to another city if you had to?  For YEARS I was in Greensboro trapped in a bubble so to speak.  Then maybe 2-3 years before my run ended there, I made every effort possible to go and meet people outside of my market.  I think that helped me when I found myself looking for a new job.  I also think that, even when you’re trying your best to be local, you have to work on having a sound that can also resonate in other markets. What would you be doing if you were not in radio? I used to make a MEAN hoagie back in the day when I worked at Wawa! Lol.  But honestly, I don’t know.  Other than Hip Hop itself, radio is the only thing that kept my attention long term. Being in the 3rd largest radio market how do you stay grounded from the "industry life?" (separating personal and professional) Two things.  #1 is my family.  All that “celebrity stuff” means absolutely NOTHING inside the walls of my home.  My wife and I are trying to raise responsible kids who will achieve their own greatness and also have an understanding of the struggles of our people, past and present. The second thing is, I was an adult before I ever got into radio.  I remember what real life can be like, and will never let me allow an “industry” life to get me jaded.  I do enjoy being in the industry and participating in industry events but at the same time, I kinda vowed to never fall into that “industry” mindset.  What's the best way to develop lasting relationships in the industry?  In my opinion, being genuine, humble and listening more than talking. Do you think it's possible to have true friends in a lifestyle industry? Yes.  And if not, just have a friend who’s NOT in the industry. Personally, I had enough family and friends before I got into this, so I’m good.  I’m the oldest of damn near 30 1st cousins…they’re my friends. Lol. What are some of the things that you are working on to build your branding?  Being consistent with my on-air features, appearances in the community and have a presence in the Chicago social/entertainment scene are my priorities.   How do you educate yourself about the future of the industry? Mostly through conversations with people like yourself and various friends and PDs around the country. Any advice for a young Radio DJ interesting in radio? Dedicate yourself to being the same person on-air that you are in real life.  Utilize the platforms that you have to develop your skills.  Create your own content. Develop your own audience.  Listen to those who’ve done it before you.  Don’t expect the station to put you in a position to do anything.  Be a self-starter!Do you come across young people who are interested in radio or has that dwindled over the years? Of course!  I JUST got a call from someone who wants to do radio and is looking for advice.  Also, I’ve recently spoken to a classroom full of media students.  The interest is strong. Where do you see yourself in 3 years? Gainfully Employed. Lol. Anything else? Yeah man, I’m happy to be in Chicago!  The city has been good to me since day one.  Shout out to Derrick Brown for returning my email and bringing me on board here at WGCI! Lol.  Seriously though, I’m just grateful to still be doing this every day.  Has it always been easy? No.  But I do believe that it’s always been worth it!   

Kyle Santillian’s Ready to TAKEOVER the Radio Industry

radio facts,radio djs,urban adult,Urban Radio,
urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singers  Many urban radio people, including PDs (still), feel it's better to maintain a low profile to maintain a more neutral stance with their respective corporations.[/penci_blockquote]This story originally ran June 11, 2017Several years ago I was getting constant videos and segments from a radio show at WJMH. Kyle Santillian was on a hustle to do greater things. I ran the segments because it was almost unheard of for black Radio DJs to promote themselves and as an industry news trade it made my job very difficult but I understood the resistance. Many urban radio people, including PDs (still), feel it's better to maintain a low profile to maintain a more neutral stance with their respective corporations. I also understand the corporation's need to protect its branding. Nevertheless, Santillian found a way to slip through the cracks and do what he needed to do. The industry took note including industry vet Derrick Brown who took a chance by bringing the vet to a major market to do the morning show after a previous morning show at GCI failed. Before that WGCI had been running syndicated shows. Kyle Santillian was born in Philadelphia and raised in Franklinville, New Jersey, a small rural town about 30 minutes from downtown Philly.  He started his radio career in 1999 as an intern at WJMH (102 Jamz) in Greensboro, NC. while he was a Junior at Winston-Salem State University. He was then promoted from intern to promotions assistant. Promotions assistant to part-time on air. Part-time on-air to full-time nights in 2001.  He hosted nights for two years. Then he hosted Mornings from 2003 to 2014….amazingly all at the same station. After that, his 15 year run at Jamz, ended and he was unemployed for about six months then he landed at WGCI doing mornings in Chicago.RADIO FACTS: I remember before the WGCI gig your online hustle was hard. You were obviously determined. How did you motivate yourself? KYLE SANTILLIAN: I was just motivated by not wanting to be a failure.  Not wanting to be a person who lost their job and was never working in radio again.  I was using the only outlet I had at the time, the internet.   Did/Do you have any mentors? Absolutely!  I would say my first mentor was Kendall B most recently of KS 107.5 in Denver.  He was working Nights when I was interning at Jamz. He was the 1st person to allow me to touch the board and even run his board for a portion of his show. From there, I’ll just list some names of some people that have given me great advice and have been an inspiration to me at different times in my career.
  • D’ Cherie of WNAA 90.1 Greensboro (Rest in Peace)
  • Brian Douglas of WJMH Greensboro
  • Uzi D of WPEG in Charlotte
  • Sammy Mack aka Buckwilde formerly of 95.7 Jamz in Birmingham
  • BJ Murphy of Charlotte
What has been the greatest asset to your career? I personally believe that it’s the ability to be a “real person.”  I was trained from day one to be a personality…be who you are on air, rather than just a “liner Radio DJ.”  Let your personality show & don’t overemphasize your words. What has been the greatest challenge? Sometimes the challenge is maintaining the balance between work and family.  I try to do my best to handle both accordingly. Sometimes there are conflicting things on my calendar but overall, I think I’ve done pretty well with it. It’s not easy though. Many radio people say that syndication sucks but if they are offered the chance to do it, they will jump at it. Is that fair? It’s a catch 22. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of one day having that national audience as well.   What's a typical day like in your working world? A typical day starts at 4 am.  On air from 6-10 am.  Depending on the day, after work is either meetings, recording promos or commercial/sponsor reads.  Hopefully get home with enough time to catch a power nap, before the kids get out of school.  Juggle their after school activities and helping with homework, dinner, family time. Then spend a couple of hours on prep for the next day, searching the internet for tomorrow’s news, topics or soundbites.  After all that, some nights there are evening events to attend and sometimes I can just shut it down, but it just depends on the day. Are there any industry people that you greatly admire? Absolutely.  I grew up listening to Power 99 in Philly, So I have great memories of Cater & Sandborn in the Morning.  I always admired them. (Rest in Peace to Brian Carter.)  Also, Lady B was influential to our whole generation of Hip Hop! Then, of course, Colby Colb’s “Radioactive” show.  As far as those who are currently on-air, I’ve always loved Big Boy’s show in LA.  I have a lot of respect for Charlamagne and The Breakfast Club Radio Show. I also used to listen to Angela Yee on XM before they all formed the Breakfast Club.  Because I started radio in NC, I admire all of the people before me who began or spent their early days there and went on to achieve great things. People like Skip Dillard (WBLS and WLIB), Derreck Corbett, Bushman, Mad Hatta, Tre Black (RIP), Afrika Perry, Angelique Perrin, and many more!Where do you see the industry going in the next couple of years? I see the industry continuing to evolve and further utilizing Digital. The radio industry is already utilizing all the available digital platforms as a way to extend our brands and I expect that to continue. How do you feel about technology?  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I’ve always had a love for electronics, technology, recording equipment, computers and things like that.  It's dope to have the world at your fingertips BUT always being on your phone can make you MISS what’s actually in front of your face. Social media is consuming people. We have to find a way to balance and use it productively without it dominating our lives. How important is social media to do your show? When it comes to our show, it’s very important.  It helps people get a glimpse into who we are.  It lets them know what’s coming up.  It allows people to follow up on what they may have already heard on-air.  I find that most importantly, it allows people to connect with us.  When you meet people in the street that follow you on social media, they talk to you like you’ve been best friends for years. Lol.  I love that about it.What's the greatest mistake that you find many radio people constantly make?  Trying to be too cool.  Just be you.  Be fun. Be vulnerable. Be emotional (at times.) Just be a real person. What do you think makes a Charlamagne vs a local radio Radio DJ who is stuck in a market for years? Exactly what I previously stated.  He has always been unapologetically Charlamagne.  He is who he is.  Also, people don’t network like they use too.  You may work in one market, but who do you know in other markets?  Who can you reach out to another city if you had to?  For YEARS I was in Greensboro trapped in a bubble so to speak.  Then maybe 2-3 years before my run ended there, I made every effort possible to go and meet people outside of my market.  I think that helped me when I found myself looking for a new job.  I also think that, even when you’re trying your best to be local, you have to work on having a sound that can also resonate in other markets. What would you be doing if you were not in radio? I used to make a MEAN hoagie back in the day when I worked at Wawa! Lol.  But honestly, I don’t know.  Other than Hip Hop itself, radio is the only thing that kept my attention long term. Being in the 3rd largest radio market how do you stay grounded from the "industry life?" (separating personal and professional) Two things.  #1 is my family.  All that “celebrity stuff” means absolutely NOTHING inside the walls of my home.  My wife and I are trying to raise responsible kids who will achieve their own greatness and also have an understanding of the struggles of our people, past and present. The second thing is, I was an adult before I ever got into radio.  I remember what real life can be like, and will never let me allow an “industry” life to get me jaded.  I do enjoy being in the industry and participating in industry events but at the same time, I kinda vowed to never fall into that “industry” mindset.  What's the best way to develop lasting relationships in the industry?  In my opinion, being genuine, humble and listening more than talking. Do you think it's possible to have true friends in a lifestyle industry? Yes.  And if not, just have a friend who’s NOT in the industry. Personally, I had enough family and friends before I got into this, so I’m good.  I’m the oldest of damn near 30 1st cousins…they’re my friends. Lol. What are some of the things that you are working on to build your branding?  Being consistent with my on-air features, appearances in the community and have a presence in the Chicago social/entertainment scene are my priorities.   How do you educate yourself about the future of the industry? Mostly through conversations with people like yourself and various friends and PDs around the country. Any advice for a young Radio DJ interesting in radio? Dedicate yourself to being the same person on-air that you are in real life.  Utilize the platforms that you have to develop your skills.  Create your own content. Develop your own audience.  Listen to those who’ve done it before you.  Don’t expect the station to put you in a position to do anything.  Be a self-starter!Do you come across young people who are interested in radio or has that dwindled over the years? Of course!  I JUST got a call from someone who wants to do radio and is looking for advice.  Also, I’ve recently spoken to a classroom full of media students.  The interest is strong. Where do you see yourself in 3 years? Gainfully Employed. Lol. Anything else? Yeah man, I’m happy to be in Chicago!  The city has been good to me since day one.  Shout out to Derrick Brown for returning my email and bringing me on board here at WGCI! Lol.  Seriously though, I’m just grateful to still be doing this every day.  Has it always been easy? No.  But I do believe that it’s always been worth it!   

EPIC Records, Home of DJ Khalid, Future and More, Label Chairman and CEO Sylvia...

She is the Chairman and CEO of Epic Records and her history in the industry is inundated with enough success stories to fill this entire site. Her legacy has made her one of the most respected executives in the music industry. She has worked for several decades in an i

Former Detroit Radio DJ Reggie Reg Davis Segues to the Political Arena

KUDOS to the radio pros that use their leverage in radio to climb greater mountains. Reggie Reg Davis is one of those amazing people.

radio facts,radio djs,urban adult,Urban Radio,
urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singers

Originally posted Feb 2, 2016

We have seen many comedians do it by coming into our arena and taking over but we have one skill that they don't have. We are trained and EXCELLENT communicators. That leaves the door to doing something else WIDE open, we just have to believe in ourselves. While we all love radio and music, when it stops loving us, we must look at divorcing it and starting a new relationship. I hope this inspires someone.

Reggie Reg Davis is a 30-year radio broadcast veteran. He worked in markets across the nation such as WQMG at Greensboro N.C., Tampa Florida at 95.7 The Beat/iHeartMedia and afternoon drive at KJLH. Even though Reggie enjoyed his travels to various markets, he began (and ended) his career in his favorite market in his hometown Detroit, Michigan. With his massive involvement with the community, aside from his on air gig, he made a life of doing GOD’s work, helping others, in the city of Detroit.

He won three "Radio Personality of The Year" awards from various regional radio ranking groups and he was nominated for a national "Radio Personality of The Year" award in 2001 by Radio & Records (R&R). He won numerous Community Outreach and Community Advocate Awards over a 30-year span.

"This decision [to leave] was also based on PPM'S arrival, personality radio vanishing, salary compensations being demolished, comedian syndication take-over and a host of other deals that began to slowly evolve into the new radio lifestyle that no longer was appealing to true radio vets."

In 2004 Reggie was granted an honorary degree from the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts and in 2015 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Entertainment Awards Group. Reggie was a Rosa Parks Scholar who was granted a full ride of undergrad studies at Wayne State University he is an Alma Mater from the great Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Leaving Radio

In 2001, Davis lost his youngest brother to gun violence and since that time he founded (and is President of) The CeaseFire Youth Initiative Inc., a non-profit group aimed at educating youth about the seriousness of gun violence. He is a true advocate for the cause.

In 2009, Davis was elected to the City of Detroit’s Charter Revision Commission and adopted many positive changes in city government such as the election of the city’s Police Commission in order for the electorate body to have a say in the oversight of the para-military group known as the Detroit Police Department.

Since completing his work with the city’s Home Rule Charter, he was appointed Deputy Manager for the Department of Neighborhoods by current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in 2014. Reggie’s responsibility is to revitalize the neighborhoods which have been on a decline over the past 20 or more years. Davis is also responsible for the repopulation of Detroit which has also been on a downward spiral for decades. He is accomplishing this task by organizing community persons in an effort to work together on the same objective; making Detroit a more vibrant and safe city for all. Radio Facts got a chance to talk to the former radio pro who is now working in the Detroit political arena...

radio facts,radio djs,urban adult,Urban Radio,
urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singers

RADIO FACTS: You left radio a few years ago for politics, how did this come about?

REGGIE REG DAVIS: In 2009 conflicts of interest forced me to make a decision, whether to stay on-the-air or represent my constituent base via elected office. Management at the station came into the studio one day and asked me to make a choice between radio and politics while I was on the air doing my afternoon drive shift.  They had their attorney's to do the research on a non-compensated, non-beneficial elected board which met twice per month, only to come back and congratulate me on my work in the community and allow me to stay on air while simultaneously serving the people as an elected public servant.

I had already been consumed about the 'Equal Time' regulations by the FCC, for more than 10 years, however, this particular situation did not seem to fit the mold considering the fact that I would not be able to earn a living wage; which was the reason management decided to research the deal. So, after deep prayer and meditation, I decided that it was about time to leave my career in radio and jump into the political arena.

This decision [to leave] was also based on PPM'S arrival, personality radio vanishing, salary compensations being demolished, comedian syndication take-over and a host of other deals that began to slowly evolve into the new radio lifestyle that no longer was appealing to true radio vets.

As I emptied my locker I thought to myself this was simply GOD’s way of showing me that He had something different for me to do. As I continued on my lifelong quest to follow His path and do HIS WORK I was able to leave.

RF: Were you actually able to use the station to promote your political aspirations? From my experience, most urban radio stations shut down any potential growth for black Radio DJs.

RRD: I believe that if there were any attempts to shut down what I totally perceive as GOD’s work, I was totally unaware of it. While working for iHeartMedia (then Clear Channel) in 2001, I produced a particular segment during my afternoon shift entitled ‘Holla At The Mayor’ which showcased the work of the now-infamous Hip Hop Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. This segment was by far the HOTTEST piece of Detroit radio during the time. Sadly enough, it was one of the brighter sides of Mayor Kilpatrick’s first term in office as the rest ultimately became a part of this good brother’s demise.  So sad to see one of my peers; a good brother, rise so fast and fall so hard. And no matter what one may say, to give that brother 28 years with a charge of racketeering, to say the least, was overkill.

Another brother who GOD sent to me as an angel who REALLY, WHOLEHEARTEDLY looked out for me and my best interest was my program director during that time Mr. Michael Saunders. I can’t begin to describe the peaceful, kind, magnanimous character this brother exemplified

I recall walking into Mike’s office one day after I hadn’t heard anything from him in about a week or two. I said "Hey Mike, what’s up? I haven’t heard from you on the hotline, you have not asked to meet with me, you have not come into the control room, is everything ok?" Mike would give it to me so plain and so simple. He replied, "Reggie Reg look at this’ (as he reached for a document from the side of his desk) ‘this is all the talking we need to do, it’s Arbitron’s last book and you are number one with a bullet, now get out of my office" (with a slight smile on his face).

Michael Saunders would probably allow me to get away with murder, as long as the product (ratings) were at a premium and I admit, I took advantage of this one-of-a-kind treatment as I went hard into the community. I promoted the hottest parties, threw the liveliest concerts, hung out with the Who’s Who like my good friend Jerry Stackhouse, who at that time played for the soon to be champion Detroit Pistons. Jerry partnered with me on many promotions and anytime the Pistons were in town on the night of one of our events, he would invite the starting line up from the Pistons as well as the starters from the opposing team. Kevin, we had parties with Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson; name them and they were there. Jerry made me look like a star and together we made Michael Saunders and iHeartmedia look like the star of Detroit radio.
Aside from the fun, I also took full advantage of going in and out of the Detroit Public Schools, mentoring young men and being a guiding force to those faced with no direction, no hope, no focus, no father figure; those youth in search of the truth but are oftentimes stuck between adversity and a hard place. My non-profit, The CeaseFire Youth Initiative would team up with local rap artists, former gang members, clergy, elected officials (including the Mayor), successful hometown athletes, poets etc. to gain the attention of the youngster in an effort to lead them in the right direction, graduation, and lifelong productivity.

The Good and the Bad

Let’s start with the not so good. In my 30-year radio career, the one thing I despised most were the few times I was totally used to make a fortune for the mom and pop station. They would bring you in and set you up on air just the way you wanted to be. They’d tell you all of these great stories about the new direction the station was going in and how you will be an asset to the great, positive future of the brand. Then the ratings would come out and even though you absolutely killed the competition about 180 days later, after you kept hearing all the rumors of this "big sale" to the big radio conglomerate, which they consistently denied, they would call you into the big conference room just to introduce you to the guy who operates the new company, which just hours prior wrote them a 77 Million dollar check with your name nowhere attached.

In contrast, I am very proud to see the way GOD works through me and how he uses me in a totally different manner. Case in point, I was driving home one weekday morning, coming back from vacation in upper Michigan. And just as all of us real radio people do, I turned the radio on as I traveled in my car just to see

what everybody else was doing. So upon picking up reception as I traveled I-96 East passing Lansing, I turned on a station I formerly worked for only to hear these young ladies cute but authoritative voice. She was the morning show co-host and she was giving out important information to the residents of the capitol city. I immediately called the old station hotline (which had never changed) and spoke to the young lady. She could not believe it was Reggie Reg from JLB in Detroit and to excite her even more, I asked her if she’d like to do traffic on my afternoon show in Detroit. After the amazement rubbed off she simply said ‘Yes Reggie Reg, I would be absolutely honored to accept the offer … WHEN DO I START!’ And not to many moons later she was hired in to do the afternoon traffic report in major market Detroit; a true dream of hers.

The young lady I’m talking about is Ms. Cheron Sanders, who went on to do weekends on air, and later was promoted to APD, MD and full-time midday personality at WJLB. Cheron replaced the late, great Kris Kelly who was promoted to PD at WGCI in Chi town. Today Cheron is Director of Urban Programming for iHeart/Detroit. I am SOOOOO very proud of her it makes me cry. Congrats Cheron!!!

RF: Many urban radio people feel urban radio is their last stop and that they can't have other opportunities, what would you suggest for the MANY frustrated urban Radio DJs that are stuck in the moving-from-station-to-station-but-not-progressing grind?

RRD: I would like to say to my dear brothers and sisters who just feel like you are stuck in quicksand over all this radio madness to remember two very important things: Put GOD first and do good deeds for others. I don’t know if your niche will be in the form of politics, spokesperson for a corporation, real estate or Voiceover. Whatever the case, you must believe in those that stood there for you all those years and marked in the old Arbitron diary your station's call letters and your time slot as if they were a robot. Go to them and they will pull you straight up out of the quicksand and give you hope again.

RF: How does it feel to have taken control of your own destiny? What's it like to make a move like you did?

RRD: Taking control of my destiny simply reminds me of my commitment to the most high. It actually was not difficult for me because I am a man of substance and I do not only talk the talk I walked it. Because of my talk with GOD and the clear understanding that I have about this life and my duty while here, it was never hard for me to withstand the evils of like. For example fads and pop culture, and cars and money and liquor and drugs; you know the things that other people fancy? It never moved me. Now I do admit I had my experiences with a nice car or two and a couple of dollars here and there but I am so grateful that I’m guided by GOD’s will verses man’s will or I would have fallen into a big hole a long time ago.

I am so thankful that I have detached personality verses an addictive one. I can have something one day and it can be gone the next and it does not shake me or send me into a deep depression. So, long story short, as my favorite group of the 90’s Tony, Toni, Tone would put it ‘It Feels Good!’ It feels good to be able to tell a multi-million dollar powerhouse goodbye.

RF: Do you miss radio? What do you miss most about it?

RRD: I miss delivering important information to a mass group of folk simultaneously and watching the community respond to the information or advice I gave them. For example, my former P.D., the late KJ Holiday would refer to me as the radio personality/CNN reporter because I always felt the need to not just talk up a song hitting the post and give away the Janet Jackson concert tix or the $1,000 give away at 4:22 pm. I instead found it far more important to open the mic and say ‘Hey cuzin, are you in a gang and can’t get out? I can help you’ or ‘Young lady are you pregnant and just totally terrified of what could happen, little cuzin I got you, call me at this number …’

In addition, listeners never forget about us because they tuned in to us everyday, just as they drank their morning coffee and dropped the little ones off at school, we were an important part of their everyday life; they counted on us just as they did their snooze button.

In my case, the single mom's who connected with me when I lost my baby brother Vito to gun violence in 2001, they heard my cries on air as I asked them 'Cuzin help me find my brother's murderers.' They went out and helped me and within a 40-hour period all five assailants, between the ages of 16 and 20, we're apprehended and two received a life sentence.  The phone lines poured in as I begin to assist families, on air, find their loved one's assassins. Listeners do not forget those types of actions; how could they?

So Kevin, if I do miss radio that is the part I miss. Not the parties and the ladies and the liquor and the after hours club. Not the many things that came along with the program but the actual moments on air in the control room, which was normally a mere 30x30 ft. in diameter, when I turned on the microphone in hopes of helping or in some cases saving people’s lives; that’s what I miss.

RF: Would you ever go back to radio? If so, how would it be different this time?

RRD: Kev, by GOD’s so glorious will, I will go back to radio in an effort to continue to do what he told me back in 1987. If there is ever a time that a programmer or whatever it is they call em’ these days? Brand manager, OM or GM wishes to sit with me and have one of those cool conversations, the first thing on the list of discussion has to be how we can help in the community in which those awesome people whom I refer to as my cuzin or my family members reside. Radio has to be in the community or it just will not work Kevin; it just will not.

rickey smiley morning show, rickey smiley

Rickey Smiley talks to Radio Facts on his Book and “Being Difficult” to work...

rickey smiley morning show, rickey smiley

"...with the people who say that I’m “difficult to work with,” I want you to look at where they are, and look at where I am."

Originally published Dec 17, 2017

Rickey Smiley is an incredibly entertaining comedian and radio host. He's been doing his syndicated radio show for 12 years now but he continues to supplement or leverage his radio career while continuing to do sold out weekend comedy shows. While he pokes fun at the black church he is a devout believer who feels most at home in it as well as away from all the pomp and circumstance of show business. During our interview, he was at a relative's house named Ms. Jenny, in the projects in Alabama. He had to let the elderly woman in the background know that he was on an important call when she was trying to have a conversation with him.

Rickey's somewhat of an anomaly like I have found most comedians, you know who they are on stage but what you get off stage may be completely the opposite. During our conversation, I noted that Rickey is an astute entrepreneur and family man to his children. He is not the type of comedian that jokes around all the time especially when it comes to taking care of his business. He eluded to what I have heard many Black entrepreneurs state,  that having a dedication to hiring and helping our people can sometimes come at a high price when a sense of entitlement overrules respecting another black person's business. Rickey started his career in the radio industry in Alabama as a sidekick on a morning show before he achieved national fame for several years. He just released a book "STAND BY YOUR TRUTH: And Then Run For Your Life," Some of the points Rickey makes in his book are:

  • How it’s impossible to come back from mistakes without self-forgiveness
  • Why “The Deadbeat Dad” is a myth
    How to break out of that comfort zone — because you are not a chicken
  • The often untold ups and downs raising kids (and teenagers) as a single father
  • Proof success can only happen when opportunity meets long preparation'
  • Ways speaking up for yourself is nothing to be ashamed of, so “Handle Your Business”
  • Why, now more than ever, our lives depend on what we stand for — and then sticking by it.

... all of Rickey's real-life experiences.

Kevin: So let’s talk about the book.  Um, you, some of the statements that you made, I found pretty interesting, about forgiveness.  Can you tell me about that?

Rickey:  I mean, forgiveness is something that I am personally still working on, ‘cause I do hold grudges, but there are certain situ-, you know, as you get older, as you grow.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey:  You know?  You have to learn how to forgive. You know, I had to forgive a young man that almost took my life. And, you know, sometimes we have to forgive, and not, uh, you know, uh, do anything in retaliation.  Retaliation is sometimes you have to let God handle it, and it that case, uh, God did handle it.  The dude served time in prison, served twenty-two years, I think, or twenty-three years in prison. And you have to read the book to find out what happened after he got out of prison, ‘cause, you know, we from the same community, and I was trying to set up a conversation where he and I could talk, you know, just where we wouldn’t run into each other.  You know what I mean?

Kevin:  So the name of your book is Stand by Your Truth, and Then Run for Your Life, which is pretty funny! (laughing) Is that in jest  Do you believe to a certain extent that you, that your truth may scare you?

Rickey:  Well, stand by your truth, but you have to run for your life ‘cause other people can’t handle the truth

Kevin:  Oh, I see what you’re saying.  Okay.

Rickey:  You know?

Kevin:  Okay.

Rickey:  Yeah, yeah. Especially us, we don’t, we don’t like that.

Kevin:  No, we don’t.

Rickey:  Black folks, black folks want you to tell them what they want to hear. As a matter of fact, if you go, if you go to my Facebook page and look at a video that I put out, uh, you can get a lot of material and content from that, a video about using the word, “no.”  And, and, and, uh stop, stop allowing people to bully you and pressure you into doing things that you don’t want to do. But you have to watch the video, it’s a fifteen-minute video that went viral that’s probably got about, uh, two or three hundred thousand views, if not more, uh, where people are sharing the video. Because we all Christians and have a good heart and trying to do the right thing, however, you know, we don’t, uh, we don’t know how to say, “no.”

Kevin:  Right.  Yeah, and then we’re like you said, we’re put in a position because we’re always in the position of need, you know, we want to help each other, you know to the extent of fault ...

Rickey:  Right.

Kevin:  perfect sense.  (older woman interrupts in the background)

Rickey:  (talking to a woman in the background) Hold on, this an interview. I’m at this lady named Ms. Jenny’s house I’m sorry.

Kevin:  (laughing)  That’s alright.

Rickey:  (more talk) Okay, I’m on the phone…Yes ma’am, but this a very important phone call…okay…oh my God, You see what I have to go through, Kevin?

Kevin:  I was just getting ready to tell you or ask you, what is it like to be successful, ‘cause you definitely stay connected with the community,

Rickey:  (laughing)

Kevin:  and with people that you came up with.  Do you find that those people think that you do nothing all day and that you are just a resource for everything?

Rickey:  Yeah, they, they, the thing about it is, man, you also get, you get tired of the celebrity part after a while,

Kevin:  Uh-huh.

Rickey:  and then, and then, you have to boil down to being, being, being a regular person, just being yourself, helping people. If you don’t go around regular people and everyday people, then you wouldn’t have any type of content to talk about on stage as a comedian.

Kevin:  Okay.

Rickey:  You know, if you sit in your house and you forget about the everyday people and you don’t go to the barbershop in the hood, around the drunks, around the winos, around the senior citizens, you would have no content, you wouldn’t have anything to talk about. So, so, that’s why you have to continue, continue to go around people, and, and spend time with people, you know, and you can have something to talk about.  You know, and that’s what you pull material from, because comedians, they just can’t write jokes.

Kevin:  Right.  So then the part about learning how to say, “no,” that you wrote about in your book. Has there been a time that you think that you said “yes” too many times?

Rickey:  Yeah, you have to learn how to say, “no,” uh, and “no” is a complete sentence that warrants no explanation.  And, and, and not allowing people to manipulate you into thinking that you’re mean because you said, “no.” And that is something that I talk on, if you read, if you listen to that post, I give a whole spiel on it, and it’s interesting, and I think a lot of people’ll learn from it.

Kevin: Why do you think that people don’t stand up for themselves, um, so I guess it’s all sort of related ...

Rickey:  Well, you have to.  If you don’t stand up for yourself you’ll get taken advantage of.

Kevin: Do you think that black celebrities are made to feel like they owe the community?

Rickey:  Uh, I think, I think a lot of African-American celebrities just feel, they just naturally give back. And I think that everybody has good intentions to help people once they make it. Because when you grow up and you don’t have anything, then, uh, when you make the money you want to just try to make sure that other people get an opportunity, but don’t go through what you went through. You know, so, so that’s just something that’s just natural, and I think people just naturally like to help people and do the right thing.

Kevin:  Right. But you’ve also seen people who’ve done it to the extent where they’ve hurt themselves.  Other celebrities.

Rickey:  Oh yeah, absolutely, a lot of celebrities get bent out, and don’t have anything to show for anything. And that’s just what it is, so, um, you have to learn from that, and learn from some of those documentaries, in order to become a better person, and to try to, you know, set yourself up for when you do retire, that you do have something put away for yourself.

Kevin:  Right.  So your show, you have a lot of fun on the show, joke a lot, how important do you think it is that you educate the community?

Rickey:  Well, you supposed to lift as you climb. So yeah, you have to educate the community and, you know, just do whatever you can, um, to help people, um, you know, learn from your mistakes, and keep people from making some of the mistakes that you made. So yeah, it is a, uh, something that you just have to do. it’s called paying it forward. Somebody helped you, and you have to help somebody else.  That’s what it’s all about.

Kevin:  Okay.  So, what prompted you to write the book Just life experience or you just felt it was time?

Rickey:  Well, 28 years in the business and my manager is a literary agent. so he said, “Hey while we, you know, we’re coming up some, let’s go ahead and write a book.”   So that’s how we kind of put it together and, uh, Cherise, uh, I forgot her last name, Cherise came all the way down from New York, and, we spent a lot of time together, and we put that book together, and, um, and, and, you know, it’s a great book, a page turner, and uh, people absolutely love it.

Kevin:  Okay.  So tell me, um, as far as your show is concerned, you just did a new, two-year deal, uh, you’re in, are you based in Atlanta or Alabama?

Rickey: Atlanta. But sometimes, you know, I work, I work from Alabama. But, uh, it’s a, it’s a two-year deal, but it’s really a five-year deal. Uh, uh ut has a little small renewal at two, at two years just to see that, hey, do we still like each other?

Kevin:  Okay, I got you.

Rickey:  Yeah, but it’s a five-year deal, uh, I’ve been with this company twelve years, and it’s been awesome.

Kevin: You’ve been doing your show for twelve years?

Rickey:  Twelve. Yeah, we started off in Dallas. yeah, we were on in Dallas for four years before we got syndicated.

Kevin:  Got you.  I used to actually book your show.

Rickey:  Oh yeah?

Kevin:  Yep. Let me ask you another question, you, I’m sure you’ve heard that people have said that, you know, sometimes you’re not easy to work with.  What do you, how do you respond to that?

Rickey: That’s, uh, typical of somebody that I was not going to allow to take advantage of me, somebody that didn’t come to work, somebody, uh, see, here, so let me explain something to you, let me answer that for you, Rickey Smiley is the boss of Rickey Smiley. I don’t work for anyone. And I don’t allow people to run me. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke.  I don’t do drugs.  But I also don’t allow anybody to run me. And whenever you don’t allow black folks to run you in this industry then they say that you’re difficult to work with. Now, to answer your question, how is it that I get up and go to work every single day for the past twelve years, perform, um,  every weekend, don’t miss a show, don’t miss a performance, shake hands, give away stuff with the Rickey Smiley Foundation, kind to people, you know, unless people are rude, then I’m difficult to work with.  And that’s just a black rumor, that all black people put out on all black people, when they don’t get what they want, the way they want it, when they want it. If I ran across and got somebody that was an ass, or that disrespected me or anybody on my staff, I am the lion, and I bark, and I will roar,  loud.  So they say that, and they run with it.  Or, if they got fired, or I didn’t renew their contract, or if they didn’t get what they want, then they try to label you, as “difficult to work with.” And the people are the same people, that say you’re mean when you say “no” to something.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey:  So, so, you know people can say whatever they want to say.  “Difficult to work with,” if I was “difficult to work with,” I would never have hosted BET ComicView for two years, 2000 and 2004.  If I was “difficult to work with,” I never would have worked with Alfred and Cathy Hughes for twelve years, I wouldn’t have had two deal for TV One and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.  Now, with the people who say that I’m “difficult to work with,” I want you to look at where they are, and look at where I am.

Kevin:  (laughing)

Rickey:  ... and you tell me whose, “difficult to work with.”

Kevin:  (laughing)

Rickey:  Now, now, now you run back and tell that.

Kevin:  Yeah.  Well, you know, the proof is in the pudding, and you don’t have to say anything, and trust me, I’ve been running my own business for 23 years,

Rickey: No, I’m, yeah, I’m actually glad you asked so I could clear that up.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey: But you just make sure you run, you run back to that former, that ex-girlfriend, or bitter employee that not, uh, ‘cause,  why don’ you ask one of the people that are from my morning show that’s been with me for twelve years? You know, ‘cause, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t take no shit from nobody, and I don’t play no games.  So, in the black community, that makes you difficult.

Kevin:  Right.  Right.  What are your goals as far as with the show?  I mean, outside of doing your shows during the weekend and you know, maybe some, some philanthropic work, what are you other goals as far as taking the brand to the next level?

Rickey:  I’m okay with where I am. If I get a new show, or another TV show, fine.  If I don’t, I’m fine.  I’m happy doing radio. I’m happy performing on the weekends because I don’t get caught up in trying to go the next level because there are consequences coming with going to the next level. I enjoy my peace, I enjoy my quiet, I enjoy laying on the couch, I enjoy going fishing, and I just don’t let this business and entertainment industry run me.  And, and, you know, that’s difficult for some people.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey:  Some people say I’m difficult because I say, “no” to a gig.  I don’t want to perform in a comedy club, I want to sit at home all weekend. I worked my butt off for 28, almost 30 years, doing stand-up comedy and twelve years of radio.  I’ve shaken almost millions of hands, took millions of pictures with fans, and I’m okay with where I am.  I’m happy for Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, Deon Cole and the rest of them, but I’m just not, being in the mix, on that level, is not my comfort zone.  I’m a little older, and I’m more focused on raising my kids and looking out for my, you know, my little one-year-old grandson, and, and, I’m okay, and I’m happy with, I’m very happy, as a matter of fact, I’m happier now then I was when I was on top. I’m happier now, ‘cause I’m older, I know who I am.  I love going to church on Sunday, I love being on the usher board, I love going over Mr. this person's house, or Ms. that person's house to sit down and have a nice quiet dinner, and all that kind of stuff.  I’m, uh, simplicity at its best.

Kevin:  You know what?  I totally, totally get that, You realize what’s important, you know, and the grind is not as attractive.  

Rickey:  Exactly. It’s like, I’d rather drive then get on a plane.  I’m over it.

Kevin:  Well considering all that, what you’re saying, that you want to live a pretty normal life, then that must be a challenge living in Alabama.

Rickey:  Uh, I live a real normal life in Alabama, why is it a challenge, living in Alabama, not to live a normal life?

Kevin:  Well, I’m saying, not normal, but I’m saying like, if you lived in LA, per se, or New York, it would be, I mean people treat you differently in Alabama, right?  Aren’t you constantly running into people who want autographs and who...

Rickey:  No, everybody, everybody in my community, where I grew up?  I’m just Rickey, like, “hey Rickey.” Nobody, nobody over here, in these projects, where I’m sitting at, right now, as we speak, I’m sitting in the projects, right now.  When I pulled up to my friend’s house, everybody was on their porch, and nobody asked for a picture, and nobody cares.  And I love it! And that’s good enough for me. I don’,=eed people going crazy, and screaming my name, uh, to validate me.

Kevin:  Okay.

Rickey:  I like being, me, and walking in neighborhoods to walk from an uncle’s house to an auntie’s house, to my granddaddy’s house, nobody bothering you, nobody, nobody has asked for a picture all day.  So today is a perfect day.

Kevin: Yeah.  So, you want, you like balance.

Rickey:  Oh, I have to have it, or I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Kevin: Okay.  So you, I know a lot of your comedy is about church, um, but I also know that you’re a believer, in, in religion and church, so do you, how often, you mentioned earlier, you said you go every week, or you go more than once a week?

Rickey:  Probably every week.

Kevin e can we get the book?  Um, I know it’s like probably available on , and I know it’s Simon and Schu-

Rickey:  yeah, you can go to www, uh, let me see, you can go to uh, www.rickeysmileybook.com. Or you can go to , or Barnes and Noble.com, or .com, but definitely rickeysmileybook.com.

Kevin: Okay, and so I want to close by saying, this book is about lessons in life, it’s a little bit of everything, I take it, comedy and we can learn more about you?

Rickey:  So you gonna get some great stories and good inspiration at the end of it.  It’s a great book, you gonna absolutely love it, and, um, I hope that everybody read it, and enjoy it, and, uh, they can really find out how difficult I really am.

Kevin: (laughing)  I knew you were still thinking about that!  Rickey, I appreciate it, thank you for addressing that.  Continued success!

Rickey: Thank you.

See Rickey Smiley video on saying no here.

 

rickey smiley morning show, rickey smiley

Rickey Smiley talks to Radio Facts on his Book and “Being Difficult” to work...

rickey smiley morning show, rickey smiley

"...with the people who say that I’m “difficult to work with,” I want you to look at where they are, and look at where I am."

Originally published Dec 17, 2017

Rickey Smiley is an incredibly entertaining comedian and radio host. He's been doing his syndicated radio show for 12 years now but he continues to supplement or leverage his radio career while continuing to do sold out weekend comedy shows. While he pokes fun at the black church he is a devout believer who feels most at home in it as well as away from all the pomp and circumstance of show business. During our interview, he was at a relative's house named Ms. Jenny, in the projects in Alabama. He had to let the elderly woman in the background know that he was on an important call when she was trying to have a conversation with him.

Rickey's somewhat of an anomaly like I have found most comedians, you know who they are on stage but what you get off stage may be completely the opposite. During our conversation, I noted that Rickey is an astute entrepreneur and family man to his children. He is not the type of comedian that jokes around all the time especially when it comes to taking care of his business. He eluded to what I have heard many Black entrepreneurs state,  that having a dedication to hiring and helping our people can sometimes come at a high price when a sense of entitlement overrules respecting another black person's business. Rickey started his career in the radio industry in Alabama as a sidekick on a morning show before he achieved national fame for several years. He just released a book "STAND BY YOUR TRUTH: And Then Run For Your Life," Some of the points Rickey makes in his book are:

  • How it’s impossible to come back from mistakes without self-forgiveness
  • Why “The Deadbeat Dad” is a myth
    How to break out of that comfort zone — because you are not a chicken
  • The often untold ups and downs raising kids (and teenagers) as a single father
  • Proof success can only happen when opportunity meets long preparation'
  • Ways speaking up for yourself is nothing to be ashamed of, so “Handle Your Business”
  • Why, now more than ever, our lives depend on what we stand for — and then sticking by it.

... all of Rickey's real-life experiences.

Kevin: So let’s talk about the book.  Um, you, some of the statements that you made, I found pretty interesting, about forgiveness.  Can you tell me about that?

Rickey:  I mean, forgiveness is something that I am personally still working on, ‘cause I do hold grudges, but there are certain situ-, you know, as you get older, as you grow.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey:  You know?  You have to learn how to forgive. You know, I had to forgive a young man that almost took my life. And, you know, sometimes we have to forgive, and not, uh, you know, uh, do anything in retaliation.  Retaliation is sometimes you have to let God handle it, and it that case, uh, God did handle it.  The dude served time in prison, served twenty-two years, I think, or twenty-three years in prison. And you have to read the book to find out what happened after he got out of prison, ‘cause, you know, we from the same community, and I was trying to set up a conversation where he and I could talk, you know, just where we wouldn’t run into each other.  You know what I mean?

Kevin:  So the name of your book is Stand by Your Truth, and Then Run for Your Life, which is pretty funny! (laughing) Is that in jest  Do you believe to a certain extent that you, that your truth may scare you?

Rickey:  Well, stand by your truth, but you have to run for your life ‘cause other people can’t handle the truth

Kevin:  Oh, I see what you’re saying.  Okay.

Rickey:  You know?

Kevin:  Okay.

Rickey:  Yeah, yeah. Especially us, we don’t, we don’t like that.

Kevin:  No, we don’t.

Rickey:  Black folks, black folks want you to tell them what they want to hear. As a matter of fact, if you go, if you go to my Facebook page and look at a video that I put out, uh, you can get a lot of material and content from that, a video about using the word, “no.”  And, and, and, uh stop, stop allowing people to bully you and pressure you into doing things that you don’t want to do. But you have to watch the video, it’s a fifteen-minute video that went viral that’s probably got about, uh, two or three hundred thousand views, if not more, uh, where people are sharing the video. Because we all Christians and have a good heart and trying to do the right thing, however, you know, we don’t, uh, we don’t know how to say, “no.”

Kevin:  Right.  Yeah, and then we’re like you said, we’re put in a position because we’re always in the position of need, you know, we want to help each other, you know to the extent of fault ...

Rickey:  Right.

Kevin:  perfect sense.  (older woman interrupts in the background)

Rickey:  (talking to a woman in the background) Hold on, this an interview. I’m at this lady named Ms. Jenny’s house I’m sorry.

Kevin:  (laughing)  That’s alright.

Rickey:  (more talk) Okay, I’m on the phone…Yes ma’am, but this a very important phone call…okay…oh my God, You see what I have to go through, Kevin?

Kevin:  I was just getting ready to tell you or ask you, what is it like to be successful, ‘cause you definitely stay connected with the community,

Rickey:  (laughing)

Kevin:  and with people that you came up with.  Do you find that those people think that you do nothing all day and that you are just a resource for everything?

Rickey:  Yeah, they, they, the thing about it is, man, you also get, you get tired of the celebrity part after a while,

Kevin:  Uh-huh.

Rickey:  and then, and then, you have to boil down to being, being, being a regular person, just being yourself, helping people. If you don’t go around regular people and everyday people, then you wouldn’t have any type of content to talk about on stage as a comedian.

Kevin:  Okay.

Rickey:  You know, if you sit in your house and you forget about the everyday people and you don’t go to the barbershop in the hood, around the drunks, around the winos, around the senior citizens, you would have no content, you wouldn’t have anything to talk about. So, so, that’s why you have to continue, continue to go around people, and, and spend time with people, you know, and you can have something to talk about.  You know, and that’s what you pull material from, because comedians, they just can’t write jokes.

Kevin:  Right.  So then the part about learning how to say, “no,” that you wrote about in your book. Has there been a time that you think that you said “yes” too many times?

Rickey:  Yeah, you have to learn how to say, “no,” uh, and “no” is a complete sentence that warrants no explanation.  And, and, and not allowing people to manipulate you into thinking that you’re mean because you said, “no.” And that is something that I talk on, if you read, if you listen to that post, I give a whole spiel on it, and it’s interesting, and I think a lot of people’ll learn from it.

Kevin: Why do you think that people don’t stand up for themselves, um, so I guess it’s all sort of related ...

Rickey:  Well, you have to.  If you don’t stand up for yourself you’ll get taken advantage of.

Kevin: Do you think that black celebrities are made to feel like they owe the community?

Rickey:  Uh, I think, I think a lot of African-American celebrities just feel, they just naturally give back. And I think that everybody has good intentions to help people once they make it. Because when you grow up and you don’t have anything, then, uh, when you make the money you want to just try to make sure that other people get an opportunity, but don’t go through what you went through. You know, so, so that’s just something that’s just natural, and I think people just naturally like to help people and do the right thing.

Kevin:  Right. But you’ve also seen people who’ve done it to the extent where they’ve hurt themselves.  Other celebrities.

Rickey:  Oh yeah, absolutely, a lot of celebrities get bent out, and don’t have anything to show for anything. And that’s just what it is, so, um, you have to learn from that, and learn from some of those documentaries, in order to become a better person, and to try to, you know, set yourself up for when you do retire, that you do have something put away for yourself.

Kevin:  Right.  So your show, you have a lot of fun on the show, joke a lot, how important do you think it is that you educate the community?

Rickey:  Well, you supposed to lift as you climb. So yeah, you have to educate the community and, you know, just do whatever you can, um, to help people, um, you know, learn from your mistakes, and keep people from making some of the mistakes that you made. So yeah, it is a, uh, something that you just have to do. it’s called paying it forward. Somebody helped you, and you have to help somebody else.  That’s what it’s all about.

Kevin:  Okay.  So, what prompted you to write the book Just life experience or you just felt it was time?

Rickey:  Well, 28 years in the business and my manager is a literary agent. so he said, “Hey while we, you know, we’re coming up some, let’s go ahead and write a book.”   So that’s how we kind of put it together and, uh, Cherise, uh, I forgot her last name, Cherise came all the way down from New York, and, we spent a lot of time together, and we put that book together, and, um, and, and, you know, it’s a great book, a page turner, and uh, people absolutely love it.

Kevin:  Okay.  So tell me, um, as far as your show is concerned, you just did a new, two-year deal, uh, you’re in, are you based in Atlanta or Alabama?

Rickey: Atlanta. But sometimes, you know, I work, I work from Alabama. But, uh, it’s a, it’s a two-year deal, but it’s really a five-year deal. Uh, uh ut has a little small renewal at two, at two years just to see that, hey, do we still like each other?

Kevin:  Okay, I got you.

Rickey:  Yeah, but it’s a five-year deal, uh, I’ve been with this company twelve years, and it’s been awesome.

Kevin: You’ve been doing your show for twelve years?

Rickey:  Twelve. Yeah, we started off in Dallas. yeah, we were on in Dallas for four years before we got syndicated.

Kevin:  Got you.  I used to actually book your show.

Rickey:  Oh yeah?

Kevin:  Yep. Let me ask you another question, you, I’m sure you’ve heard that people have said that, you know, sometimes you’re not easy to work with.  What do you, how do you respond to that?

Rickey: That’s, uh, typical of somebody that I was not going to allow to take advantage of me, somebody that didn’t come to work, somebody, uh, see, here, so let me explain something to you, let me answer that for you, Rickey Smiley is the boss of Rickey Smiley. I don’t work for anyone. And I don’t allow people to run me. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke.  I don’t do drugs.  But I also don’t allow anybody to run me. And whenever you don’t allow black folks to run you in this industry then they say that you’re difficult to work with. Now, to answer your question, how is it that I get up and go to work every single day for the past twelve years, perform, um,  every weekend, don’t miss a show, don’t miss a performance, shake hands, give away stuff with the Rickey Smiley Foundation, kind to people, you know, unless people are rude, then I’m difficult to work with.  And that’s just a black rumor, that all black people put out on all black people, when they don’t get what they want, the way they want it, when they want it. If I ran across and got somebody that was an ass, or that disrespected me or anybody on my staff, I am the lion, and I bark, and I will roar,  loud.  So they say that, and they run with it.  Or, if they got fired, or I didn’t renew their contract, or if they didn’t get what they want, then they try to label you, as “difficult to work with.” And the people are the same people, that say you’re mean when you say “no” to something.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey:  So, so, you know people can say whatever they want to say.  “Difficult to work with,” if I was “difficult to work with,” I would never have hosted BET ComicView for two years, 2000 and 2004.  If I was “difficult to work with,” I never would have worked with Alfred and Cathy Hughes for twelve years, I wouldn’t have had two deal for TV One and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.  Now, with the people who say that I’m “difficult to work with,” I want you to look at where they are, and look at where I am.

Kevin:  (laughing)

Rickey:  ... and you tell me whose, “difficult to work with.”

Kevin:  (laughing)

Rickey:  Now, now, now you run back and tell that.

Kevin:  Yeah.  Well, you know, the proof is in the pudding, and you don’t have to say anything, and trust me, I’ve been running my own business for 23 years,

Rickey: No, I’m, yeah, I’m actually glad you asked so I could clear that up.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey: But you just make sure you run, you run back to that former, that ex-girlfriend, or bitter employee that not, uh, ‘cause,  why don’ you ask one of the people that are from my morning show that’s been with me for twelve years? You know, ‘cause, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t take no shit from nobody, and I don’t play no games.  So, in the black community, that makes you difficult.

Kevin:  Right.  Right.  What are your goals as far as with the show?  I mean, outside of doing your shows during the weekend and you know, maybe some, some philanthropic work, what are you other goals as far as taking the brand to the next level?

Rickey:  I’m okay with where I am. If I get a new show, or another TV show, fine.  If I don’t, I’m fine.  I’m happy doing radio. I’m happy performing on the weekends because I don’t get caught up in trying to go the next level because there are consequences coming with going to the next level. I enjoy my peace, I enjoy my quiet, I enjoy laying on the couch, I enjoy going fishing, and I just don’t let this business and entertainment industry run me.  And, and, you know, that’s difficult for some people.

Kevin:  Right.

Rickey:  Some people say I’m difficult because I say, “no” to a gig.  I don’t want to perform in a comedy club, I want to sit at home all weekend. I worked my butt off for 28, almost 30 years, doing stand-up comedy and twelve years of radio.  I’ve shaken almost millions of hands, took millions of pictures with fans, and I’m okay with where I am.  I’m happy for Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, Deon Cole and the rest of them, but I’m just not, being in the mix, on that level, is not my comfort zone.  I’m a little older, and I’m more focused on raising my kids and looking out for my, you know, my little one-year-old grandson, and, and, I’m okay, and I’m happy with, I’m very happy, as a matter of fact, I’m happier now then I was when I was on top. I’m happier now, ‘cause I’m older, I know who I am.  I love going to church on Sunday, I love being on the usher board, I love going over Mr. this person's house, or Ms. that person's house to sit down and have a nice quiet dinner, and all that kind of stuff.  I’m, uh, simplicity at its best.

Kevin:  You know what?  I totally, totally get that, You realize what’s important, you know, and the grind is not as attractive.  

Rickey:  Exactly. It’s like, I’d rather drive then get on a plane.  I’m over it.

Kevin:  Well considering all that, what you’re saying, that you want to live a pretty normal life, then that must be a challenge living in Alabama.

Rickey:  Uh, I live a real normal life in Alabama, why is it a challenge, living in Alabama, not to live a normal life?

Kevin:  Well, I’m saying, not normal, but I’m saying like, if you lived in LA, per se, or New York, it would be, I mean people treat you differently in Alabama, right?  Aren’t you constantly running into people who want autographs and who...

Rickey:  No, everybody, everybody in my community, where I grew up?  I’m just Rickey, like, “hey Rickey.” Nobody, nobody over here, in these projects, where I’m sitting at, right now, as we speak, I’m sitting in the projects, right now.  When I pulled up to my friend’s house, everybody was on their porch, and nobody asked for a picture, and nobody cares.  And I love it! And that’s good enough for me. I don’,=eed people going crazy, and screaming my name, uh, to validate me.

Kevin:  Okay.

Rickey:  I like being, me, and walking in neighborhoods to walk from an uncle’s house to an auntie’s house, to my granddaddy’s house, nobody bothering you, nobody, nobody has asked for a picture all day.  So today is a perfect day.

Kevin: Yeah.  So, you want, you like balance.

Rickey:  Oh, I have to have it, or I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Kevin: Okay.  So you, I know a lot of your comedy is about church, um, but I also know that you’re a believer, in, in religion and church, so do you, how often, you mentioned earlier, you said you go every week, or you go more than once a week?

Rickey:  Probably every week.

Kevin e can we get the book?  Um, I know it’s like probably available on , and I know it’s Simon and Schu-

Rickey:  yeah, you can go to www, uh, let me see, you can go to uh, www.rickeysmileybook.com. Or you can go to , or Barnes and Noble.com, or .com, but definitely rickeysmileybook.com.

Kevin: Okay, and so I want to close by saying, this book is about lessons in life, it’s a little bit of everything, I take it, comedy and we can learn more about you?

Rickey:  So you gonna get some great stories and good inspiration at the end of it.  It’s a great book, you gonna absolutely love it, and, um, I hope that everybody read it, and enjoy it, and, uh, they can really find out how difficult I really am.

Kevin: (laughing)  I knew you were still thinking about that!  Rickey, I appreciate it, thank you for addressing that.  Continued success!

Rickey: Thank you.

See Rickey Smiley video on saying no here.

 

Brian McKnight Talks about New Project and the Changing Music Industry

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urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singers About eight or nine years ago I was asked to attend a Brian McKnight concert at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. While I accepted the offer and had a great deal of respect for McKnight's talent, I wasn't that enthused about attending the show. I was thinking to myself, “This will be a show with a bunch of swooning ladies and ballad after ballad after ballad.”Originally posted May 3, 2017 
Bruno Mars understands the power of this music, which is why he decided to recreate it in his way. Now kids that love him think that is him creating that. They have no idea where it comes from because he's one of the few examples of someone doing it who is their age and he does it very well.
As my female companion and I entered the theater, I was definitely right about the number of swooning ladies as they came out dressed to the nines with full Brian McKnight adoration in tow. All I could hear were phrases and praises of "Girl, his voice!" or "He is so sexy" or "I might faint when he starts singing" and the man hadn't even stepped on stage as of yet. Once Brian and his band ascended to the stage, all you could hear were screams from women of various backgrounds, ages, and intentions. A few men were clapping respectfully, some had their arms folded, and others seemed disinterested.And then it happened! What happened? you may be asking. Brian McKnight caused a complete paradigm shift in the attitude of the audience. About three songs into his show, every man and woman in attendance was standing on their feet in full amazement of McKnight and what he brought to the stage and to music in general. I would be included as one of those arms-folded men who were now on his feet cheering, clapping, dancing, singing, and everything else as this man had completely killed it in less than three songs. The vocal range, comedic timing, fun-loving spirit, multi-instrumentation talents, and even dancing were just a few of things Brian possessed that had everyone captivated and fully engaged on this evening and beyond.Fast forward nine years later and I’m on the phone with Mr. McKnight, about to interview him about his upcoming album Genesis and his new single, “Forever.” Now that I am “Forever” a fan, it was only right that I told him this aforementioned story. This came to no surprise to him, as he acknowledged he often witnesses and laughs at the metamorphosis that transpires in the audience among his male fans once they get a chance to experience his talents up close and personal.“One of the greatest things I’m most proud of is to watch the men that come to my show that brought their significant others. Many times they don’t want to be there, but they only came because this is the one night they can do something special for their woman so she won’t be on their back the rest of the week. Like you said, by the third song or by the middle of show – because I have included them and I have been who I actually am – I have won over those guys. I can actually see a physical change in them and it is a great thing to see. I try to tell guys: If you are having problems, if you are looking for somebody, or have somebody and want to continue to keep them, my show is the perfect place to bring them.”I have to absolutely concur with the above sentiments of Mr. Brian McKnight. He is the songwriter’s songwriter, he is the musician’s musician, and – frankly speaking – he is damn good at what he does. I would say that his live show, albums, and the plethora of songs are the perfect solution for those who crave genuine and soul-searching music. Although Brian has been quite successful around the globe, I think some people still sleep on his legendary talent. Although he has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, there is still somebody at the show with their arms folded. Although he is an extraordinary singer, songwriter, and producer, there is still someone who hasn’t witnessed his brilliance. Although Brian is a multi-instrumentalist, playing nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet, there is somebody saying, “What about the saxophone?”  In the end, it doesn’t even matter because Brian McKnight has nothing else to prove to any naysayers. He is a living legend who deserves his “Forever” in the world of music. Now that he is back, flexing his grown-man status with the new single “Forever” that is heating up the Billboard charts, Brian is poised to bring some legendary rhythm & blues back into the game with Genesis. With the album title and feel representing something of a new beginning for Brian, we had the chance to talk about where he is in life, including working with his musically gifted sons, being pigeonholed as an artist, the state of music in general, the business of music, being a charismatic introvert, happiness, and even his beautiful wife, Leilani. Check out our back-and-forth below.Radio Facts : You wrote the song “Forever” alongside your son, Brian McKnight Jr. How is it to write with your son? Do you find yourself more critical, inspired, amazed, or appreciative?Brian McKnight: My son is one of the best songwriters I know, so when we get together it’s like me writing with myself. That is how much we are exactly the same. What he brings to the table is a perspective of youthfulness that I don’t have. I don’t want to say he is keeping me current, but he brings a new fresh perspective musically and lyrically that an old jaded person like me wouldn’t have.RF: I’ve witnessed your sons Niko and Brian McKnight Jr. rock on stage with you and they are obviously talented. You also come from a musical family. Do you think your family is just blessed with God-given talent, is it genetics, or is it more about the immense amount of effort you all put into your craft?BM: I think it is genetic. I have a hard time believing if there is a God, he has decided “I’m going to give Brian’s family all this musical acumen.” I think somebody had it from my grandparents or before and it’s been passed down because if you have some of my grandparent’s blood in you, you are musical.RF: Is the album title Genesis symbolic of a new beginning for you or does it possibly mean something else?BM: I would say it is definitely a new beginning. Being in this business as long as I have, you’ve tried everything under the sun. Now it is almost like if I was to make a record that no one ever heard or knew who I was, what would that sound like? It’s “genesis,” from that standpoint.BM: I would say it is definitely a new beginning. Being in this business as long as I have, you’ve tried everything under the sun. Now it is almost like if I was to make a record that no one ever heard or knew who I was, what would that sound like? It’s “genesis,” from that standpoint.RF: What else can we expect from this project? I saw the video for “Forever” and thought it was simple yet highly effective. It was classic Brian McKnight but with an edge. I see you rockin’ the grown man beard now, so is that the vibe we can expect from the album?BM: I think it is all of the above. It is what you expect and what you don’t expect. That is all we ever try to do. We want to satisfy those folks we already have and then take stabs at things you don’t think I would necessarily do. The things I like, I hope other people would like it, too. I think sometimes you get pigeonholed into doing the same ole thing. If I do that, people say, “That is just the same ole thing.” If I don’t do that, people say, “That is not what he does.” I have to kind of walk the tightrope of trying to satisfy everyone but trying to expand what I do musically as well.RF: Speaking of being pigeonholed, do you think it’s the fans, industry, or the artists that pigeonhole themselves? For instance, in 2012 you had that parody song, “Let Me Show You How Your Pu**y Works,” and people lost their minds like you went crazy or something. If R. Kelly did a song like that, everyone would probably just say, “oh, that is R. Kelly,” but with you, people were concerned. Why do you think people like to put you and other artists in such a small box?BM: The thing about that is, the backlash proved my point. That was just a parody song and I was just messing around based on other stuff I was hearing. There is a perception out there that people don’t want you to do anything except for what they think you should do. You are right. If you start out good, you can never be bad, but if you start out bad, you can always be good. That is sort of a strange place to be in. When I did it, do you think I never got some pu**y before in my life or should I never talk about it? I couldn’t understand how people couldn’t see that was all a joke, especially when they saw the video was for FunnyOrDie.com. They were so confused and I didn’t get it. I could put out regular songs all day and no one bats an eye, yet I can put out one song about some pu**y and I’m the number one trending topic around the world. That tells you right there [about] the world that we live in.RF: One place I feel every artist can let loose is on stage. You’re an incredible live performer. I’ve attended quite a few shows and many artists are not that good live yet they still sell records. How important do you think the live show is in this day and age and does it still have the power and impact it used to?BM: I think it is still both powerful and detrimental. When you are in front of someone, you can’t fool them. You can fool them on the radio, video, and even award shows. But if you pay your money to see somebody live and they are not good, that is the first impression that you will never be able to change. I think you have to be good. The only time you may get away with that is if you are really big. How many times have you gone to see someone and you find yourself saying, “Man, the light show was really awesome.” I’m like, “Didn’t you go to hear music?’ Technology and money can make you look good, but if you are not at that point yet, you better be good.RF: Speaking of being good, I was interviewing another R&B artist and they said they felt today’s R&B is lacking emotion, love, and it's not very good. Do you agree with that sentiment or think something completely different?BM: I think that is just society in general. I think black music has always had its finger on the pulse of what is happening in society more than any other kind of music. If society doesn’t love anymore and if our kids only want to have sex and have a good time, then it is going to reflect in the music. I have an 18-year-old in my house and she is the only one that I know who would love to have the real thing. Everyone else that she knows in school and online are ten partners in at 16 years old. When you look at it from that perspective, the music can only reflect the times. Either we have to call the music something else or we have to resign to the fact that R&B is now this.rfocus.org RF: Bruno Mars, who is a very successful and crazy talented artist who is doing his variation of black music, was quoted as saying, “When you say ‘black music,’ understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip hop music and Motown. Black people created it all. Being Puerto Rican, even salsa music stems back to the Motherland [Africa]. So, in my world, black music means everything. It’s what gives America its swag." Do you think it will take more artists like Bruno Mars to speak the truth about black music for it to truly be appreciated in our current music industry? Do you think other artists should own up to the fact that most genres in America are a variation of black music?Brian McKnight: The paradox here is, why does it take someone who isn't black to revive what we consider to be black music? Why aren't our young artists doing the same thing, because it would change the paradigm. Surely, Bruno Mars understands the power of this music, which is why he decided to recreate it in his way. Now kids that love him think that is him creating that. They have no idea where it comes from because he's one of the few examples of someone doing it who is their age and he does it very well. He is doing it better than all the young black artists that are out there. That is unfortunate or even sad to say, but it may be true. I think it is great that he is saying it and I think it is even greater that he is owning up to it, but my question would be to the young African American artists out there – do you not see what’s going on? How do you not get a piece of that? He’s so popular because he is actually doing music. Interesting.RF: That’s a great point. Why do you think black artists don’t go that route? Are we afraid? Are we persuaded to do other things in order to make money?BM: I think our people, in general, do what we think is the coolest thing at the time. Maybe they think doing a song about love isn’t cool. It’s far cooler to smoke weed, drink, and party. That is the trend. You can’t look cool if you’re doing something different. Honestly, I really don’t know. I do hope they take his lead and bring some sensitivity and emotion back into the music.RF: I saw recently that you performed in Singapore and of course I know you have performed all over the world. Do you think they have a greater appreciation for our music than we do here?BM: I don’t know if it is greater but I do know that have a great appreciation for it. Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask because I have done well all over the place. I do think it is harder these days for newer artists to crack that side of the world because they are not doing the music that people over there still love. People like me, it’s like it is 1995 all over again as far as how much they love the music.RF: Living in L.A. and being in the industry, you hear all these crazy stories about artists and their process in the studio. For instance, I’ve heard engineers talk about Michael Jackson not being able to read or write music but he could create an entire song including the instrumentation all by using his mouth, beatboxing, and vocal ability. If we talked to some engineers, what would they say about Brian McKnight’s process?BM: They wouldn’t know about it. I’ve worked with one guy for 20 years. Now if you talked to him, he will tell you that he was never in the room. I would literally be in a room by myself and when I was writing I would just call him when I was ready to sing. He would come in and he would tell you the craziest thing is that he would leave, come back in two hours, and we would record an entire song that wasn’t there when I first got to the studio. I’ve been completely autonomous since I was 18 years old. I’ve never really wanted to let people in. That is one of the problems with me; I’ve always been very fixated on what I was doing. It wasn’t really a choice I made; it was more about just the way that I work. There are very few people that know about the process. Now if you ask my significant other, Leilani, she could tell you because she sees it every day because now I work at home. I just came into the bathroom the other day with a guitar and asked her what she thought about something I just wrote.RF: Are you one of those artists who can come up with an entire song in like five minutes? It’s like you get one thought and just run with it.BM: It happens every single day of my life.RF: How many Brian McKnight songs are in the vault that most people never heard?BM: Probably about three thousand. To be honest with you, most of them suck, but I believe you have to finish a song in order to get to the next song. One of those next songs is going to be a hit song. If you want to talk about the process, most people labor over that one song they believe is great. I don’t do that. I finish a song. If it’s great, wonderful. If it isn’t great, that’s fine because I know another one is coming.RF: I know you don’t do well with letting people into your process, but if you had to let someone in to create the soundtrack to your life, who would it be?BM: That would be my son. Brian Jr. would be the only one that I could allow to do something like that.RF: Do your sons ask you for advice musically?BM: They know I’m here but they don’t ask me about specific songs because I always wanted them to have their own voice. As far as the business goes, they know I’m here because I have done it. They don’t listen to me necessarily but they know I’m here.RF: Speaking about the business side of music, if there is one thing you could change about the business of music, what would it be?BM: I think it would have to do more with infrastructure. Artists have been taken advantage of since day one. They will continue to be taken advantage of. Writers will continue to be taken advantage of, so for me, it would be more about changing the structure. The people that created the business benefit more than the actual creators of the music.RF: Speaking of the current state of the music business, social media is a huge part of it. I see that you take advantage of social media as well. Is it something you gravitated to easily or did you have to warm up to it?BM: I had to warm up to it. It’s the greatest and worst thing that has ever happened, from my standpoint. The worst thing in the world now is that what we do, the value of it has been downgraded to zero because it is all free. I don’t know anyone else out there who is willing to work for free.RF: On top of that, do you think social media takes away from the mystique of the artist? Back in the day, we didn’t know what Prince was doing. Now we know when some artists wash their socks or whatever.BM: I believe it is a double-edged sword. Everything is in the open so you better be careful what you do because everything is in the open.RF: Looking at your post on Instagram, you appear to be in a really happy place. My question is a very general one. What makes you happy?BM: Leilani! Listen, I’m not just saying that because that is what people would say. Everything you see about us on Instagram is the real thing. I don’t know anybody else that has what I have, but I wish everybody did. There would be no more wars, no more hunger, we would find the cure for cancer, AIDS, and everything else if everyone had what we have.RF: What do you want people to know about this project that we haven’t talked about?BM: The only thing is that it is out. The hardest thing to do today is to get people to focus for ten seconds on something you want them to. When a record or single comes out, just getting the word out is probably the hardest thing to do because you are wading through a sea of everything else. It’s a very difficult process to conquer. Thank you for taking the time out to remind people that I’m not dead and I’m still making music.RF: What do you want your legacy to be while you are still here? Forget about when you are gone, what do you want people to say now?BM: Just that I wrote some good songs. If they said that, I will be happy.RF: Lastly, we know you play ball, golf, and I’ve even witnessed you shoot a little pool in small pool halls in L.A. What other talents do you have that people may not know about?BM: I can fart on command. That’s a talent that very few people have. Just to put a stamp on this conversation, we both laughed out loud after he said that.

Sybil Wilkes Talks to Radio Facts about New Job and Working with Tom Joyner

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radio facts,radio djs,urban adult,Urban Radio,
urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singersSybil Wilkes Prepares for a New Radio Journey

Sybil Wilkes has inspired, informed and brought the laughter to the Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS) for 25 years.  Tom is hanging up the microphone at the end of the year but Sybil will keep bringing that Black Girl Magic to a new show and is just getting started. She chopped it up with Radio Facts’ TV and radio personality Jazmyn Summers (This podcast interview has been edited for this post)JASMYN SUMMERS: Tell us about your new project "Sybil Wilkes What You Need To Know?"SYBIL WILKES: Oh, my goodness. I am just so blessed and excited to be doing this. I'm lucky to be working with my best friend again. She and I met when Tom brought us all together to do the Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS) more than 25 years ago. Yolanda Starks White. We became best friends. She's coming back out of her so-called retirement in another business to be my executive producer. It really is going to be about, Black Girl Magic, about women doing it for ourselves. This will be done with the help of David Kantor, CEO, Radio Division & Reach Media, and all the other good folks at Radio One and the Radio One properties. I'm going to be delivering news and political updates, as I have been doing for Tom Joyner . But we'll be doing it for the other syndicated programs that we have. That's really my passion. I'm very excited and a little nervous, but excited about what the year 2020 and the elections are going to bring. Whatever your political makeup is, whatever your leanings are, I just want people to be involved. And that includes getting people to register to vote I know we said it before, but this is really the most critical election of our lifetime. What are the top three types of news stories that you’ll be focusing on?The most important one is I want to get people registered [to vote] because part of the problem is that there is a real effort on the part of the other party [Republicans] to dismiss people from voting and to have them purged. And so we have to do everything we possibly can to make sure that this does not happen. If this purging had not taken place in Georgia. We would have a black woman governor there right now. When you look at the margins of victory around the country particularly where Black folks are strong, all they have to do is peel off a small percentage.  And that’s what the voter suppression does. It impacts Blacks, elderly folks, young people, all the folks who tend to vote Democratic.  Yeah we got our kids who are in college and they're taking away the voting polls from the college campuses, especially from the historically black colleges and universities. You have people who have been going to the same place and suddenly finding it gone. My parents are both deceased. But I know that the same school across the street where I grew up, going with my mom to vote, just overnight, they could change that. So voter registration and doing away with the horrible efforts to stop people from voting and combating voter suppression is probably the most important thing in terms of voting. You are like a fighter for democracy. You go, girl. I really am. I’ll also be doing a newsletter and developing programs that we're going to take around the country. It's about helping and supporting black women physically and mentally. My best friend and I, we have a yoga studio in Fort Worth. So when you come to Dallas, People in the studio look like you and me. That's really important. JS:  You've been with Tom Joyner for 25 years. What’s the secret to that longevity?SW:  Mortgage payments? (lol).  Seriously, my mother used to say; where else could I get paid for what I used to get in trouble for? And, you know, in my graduation addresses, I tell students if you can find something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. And I've been blessed to do something that I love. And despite the hours, you know, and getting up at one o'clock and two o'clock and three o'clock in the morning, I really couldn't imagine doing anything else. JS:  You always rock those big words like lagniappe (extra gift or bonus) that helped us all front like we were super smart (lol).  Will that continue? SW:  I love the power of words. And that's why I love radio. I don't want to do television.  I just love radio. And I love giving people information and also encouraging them to expand their vocabulary and to do great things, helping us grow, helping us grow mind, body, soul. JS:  What was the most embarrassing moment with Tom? SW:  I don't know if Tom remembers this, but back in the day before he started wearing all the expensive suits and doing all that, he was just like a real regular guy.  In the summertime, when we would do live shows he would wear shorts and his shirt or whatever and he was going commando.  But here's the other thing. Tom drinks a lot of water, and he sweats profusely, which is a good thing for your body. But when you're in the middle of a Sky Show and he's got these light-colored shorts on and he comes out from behind the stage for another hour of the show ... somebody pointed out "Oh, my God! Tom peed on himself!" And we were like, oh, no, no, no, no, no, we had to go and quickly pull him off the set and get him a change of clothes and just get him out of the way. You can’t have the Fly Radio DJ looking like he peed on himself.JS:  Because you're funny and can do everything from gossip to news, people don't realize you are also one deep sister. You've got some doctorate degrees going on. You have a bachelor of science in political science and communications studies. I mean, you are the all-around, gorgeous, smart, funny, exciting boss chick.  Does that make dating difficult? We rarely hear about your love life. You keep that on the low – so spill the tea –are you booed up? SW:   No, I'm not. And it's very difficult when you get up in the middle of the night to go to work. First of all, because you can't stay out and play all night. Here’s the other thing, guys who hear you on the radio think that they want to be a part of the crew. You know, back in the day when it was Tom, J, Myra, Miss. Dupri, me and George Wallace ... that's what they really want. They want to hang with the crew. And so you have to be very discriminating in terms of 'are they there for the crew?' 'Are they there for you?' And it makes you very wary in terms of relationships. And because I talk for a living. I don't need to come home and talk for the rest of the day either. But when you are dating in another city it's even better because when he starts to get bored with me, I'm like, I got to go. (lol)JS:  I can't imagine anybody getting bored with you, but you probably can't online date because you're a public figure. SW:   I've not tried it. And you know what? A lot of my friends are still recommending it. I have friends who have met their mates for life online. So I’m open. JS:  OK, Well thank you for chopping it up with us.  Check out Sybil Wilkes What you need to know on Radio One. You don't want to miss it. You will stay informed. You'll stay laughing. You'll stay inspired and it'll keep you healthy. Mind, body, soul. Thanks, SybilSW: Thank you Jasmyne.[caption id="attachment_244314" align="alignnone" width="96"]radio facts,radio djs,urban adult,Urban Radio,
urban radio personalities, rap radio stations,r&b radio station, hip hop music radio, black female singers Jazmyne Summers[/caption]

Rick Party Talks to Radio Facts Reveals Childhood Challenge that led to his Success

Rick Party is a man I truly admire in the industry. He has left few stones unturned in his career and he continues to reach new highs and attempt to be better than he has ever been while many people his age appear to have lost their drive to thrive and have settled Rick goes the extra mil

WBLS/WLIB OM Skip Dillard (WBLS and WLIB) Talks to Radio Facts: “You’re Never Off...

radiofacts.com"You're never off the clock. These days you're always working while finding time to learn, teach and help grow your business."

I have stated on this site, in the magazine and in several forums you never want to be the old man in the room with no purpose. This is not, in any way, referring to seasoned industry people in power positions. They are where they are supposed to be. This is for those of us who think that they have figured out the formula and they stop learning, stop growing, stop moving and stop taking on new challenges. Who we WERE is not as significant as who we ARE. It's just the nature of the progressive industry that we work in.From this perspective (national trade magazine). I have literally seen MANY industry people die from stagnation. Heart attacks, cancer, and strokes are the end result but first and foremost it starts with regret and a broken heart from allowing too many opportunities to pass us by. I can honestly say, while it's not advisable to work yourself to death, it is rare that I have seen progressive, working industry people die. Fear of growth is our friend and the only cure to irrelevance and being the old man in the room with no purpose is to analyze the real estate in the market in advance and buy another house to AVOID "the room" in the house that's getting smaller. Go to a part of town where the ROI is greater (take chances, dive in). The wise man constantly reinvents himself or he remains stagnant and awaits his demise. As communicators, programmers and broadcasters the opportunities are endless.I have always greatly respected WBLS and WLIB Operations Manager, Skip Dillard (WBLS and WLIB), for this very reason, his ability to step outside the box of just urban radio and exploring other formats and various aspects of the industry like being an editor in 2003 for Billboard's Airplay Monitor. He has consistently reinvented himself and he has a lot of experience, leverage, and value to fall back on because of it. He continues to educate himself and take on new challenges in order to KEEP growing. At the end of the day school is in session for a lifetime.Skip started his career in Norfolk, VA. After working at WBLK in Buffalo as a PD, where I met him, he worked in several other markets before landing in New York at the world famous WBLS. In 2003, he took a break from the industry to work at Billboard writing for the Airplay Monitor.[caption id="attachment_217047" align="aligncenter" width="384"]radiofacts.com Skip with Colin Kaepernick[/caption]Besides the format, how is WBLS unique with listeners in NYCNew York marches to its own drum. The impact of Hip-Hop, Dance and Spanish culture give NYC a very complex universe. WBLS also has an unmatched community connection. It was founded by Percy Sutton who, among other leadership positions, served as the Manhattan Borough President. He was an entrepreneur, lawyer for clients including Malcolm X, and caretaker of the historic Apollo Theatre in Harlem that was slated for demolition before he rescued it with his own money. All this gives us not only our signature sound but our mission. We have over five hours of spoken word programming on WBLS alone weekly with more on WLIB, and proudly accept our mission of dedication to making NYC a better place for our listeners every day.You've been a programmer for quite some time. What is your philosophy when it comes to programming that you rarely waver from?Get out and talk to people. Get involved in your community. I'm currently active on three non-profit boards including the Living Legends Foundation, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies and volunteer for other initiatives in the area.What is WBLS' landmark event each year?Circle of Sisters is our signature event. We're the largest expo for women of color outside of Essence and proud to grow this event on both digital platforms and innovative concepts yearly. It takes place at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan at the beginning of Fall each yearDo you also look at your online stats? Where are some of BLS's biggest fans around the world?We do well across the U.S. with much love coming from South Africa, Japan, and the CaribbeanHow do your online stats help you with programming the station?It's research that helps you keep track of today's fast-changing audiences. From content that drives engagement to music, there's much to be learned from how your audience uses technology.[caption id="attachment_217048" align="aligncenter" width="412"]radiofacts.com Skip with Iyanla Vanzant[/caption]What's missing in our industry?A talent incubator system. There's lots of talent but identifying and grooming people that can "cut-through" is a challenge. We also need a pipeline for training young future sales executives. There's money left on the table out there for radio but you need sellers who are savvy at digital, tailoring a targeted campaign and providing a recap outlining measured success at the end.What are your thoughts on Podcasting?Although it's been around, advertisers are just discovering it. On-demand audio is as much a part of our lives as on-demand TV and fast food. Compelling content 'to go' occupies a major part of our universe.Some PDs think the talent pool for new Radio DJs is drying up, do you?YesHave you looked at Podcasters as potential Radio DJs on your station? Why or why not?Yes. Podcasting is a great place to find communicators honing their skills. I haven't hired anyone from podcasting yet but can see doing so in the near future.Who would you consider to be your biggest competitors in the market?In NYC it's everyone but primarily we battle with WLTW for at work listening, Power 105.1 and UAC Radio 103.9 for overall quarter hours. And our listener's tastes grow more diverse as they age with sports, all news and NPR shows figuring into the picture. There are only so many quarter hours and in any given month almost 20% of our audience come from somewhere other than African Americans.What do you think of the growing festival market?There are too many. Only a few will make money and you've really got to find a niche. Just throwing out a flyer and trying to secure artists isn't a recipe for success. Most recently in our area "Curl Fest" and "Afro-Punk" have really done a great job breaking into a crowded field of festivals in our region. And certainly, both have a sizable niche that was previously underserved. We've had quite a few proposed events never materialize or quickly go away after a year or two as well.What is your greatest challenge as a programmer?You're never off the clock. These days you're always working while finding time to learn, teach and help grow your business.What do you think makes a GREAT programmer today?Strong management skills are crucial. You must have a love for research and a willingness to get out into your marketplace. The ability to adapt to change is a must and you are always a 'student' of what you do. Effective time-management is also very important. And, being a little nerdy, weird and an insomniac are all a must.Where have you seen other programmers go wrong in their approach to radio?Most often it's treating it like a typical 9 to 5 job. Not getting out in the streets, not networking and poor communication inside your building with your boss, staffs and corporate are all recipes for failure.Three pieces of the best advice you have ever gotten
  1. Get out from behind your desk and meet listeners face to face.
  2. There's no 'secret sauce' for getting great ratings. It's working to refine your station, have the best talent from morning to evenings and inspire them to perform better every day.
  3. Take time to improve yourself. Take a course, grow your hobbies and translate your growth as a human being into your programming efforts.
How has a PDs job changed over the last 20 years? What makes him or her most effective?Programming is much more strategic. Structure, focus, and planning are all much more important traits than when I got in the business. We work with far fewer people and support staff, yet are busier than ever. Technology from smartphones to smart speakers constantly refine and redefine how we win.How do you break away from the industry? What are your other hobbies?Family time is most important to me. I read like crazy, travel, play the piano, love film, discover new restaurants and love photography.

Radio Facts Talks to Michael Baisden on his “Best Return of the Year” win

Michael Baisden "Best Return of the Year"Michael Baisden, Radio Facts

I produced my social media page in the same way I did the radio show, and the audience responded.”

Michael Baisden is one of the most compelling, dedicated, and entertaining people on the air. He took a break from radio for four years. I have seen many people sit back and wait for another opportunity, but I was extremely impressed with how Michael grabbed the bull by the horns and kept his social media accounts entertaining and active. I followed him and was in awe at how he continued to build his brand and fan base while he wasn't even on the air. When the category for "Return of the Year" came up, everyone agreed he was at the top of the list. We got a chance to talk to Baisden about his return.Congratulations on your successful return to the airwaves. You sound amazing. How does it feel?It feels great! I've been waiting to get back on the mic for almost 4 years now, and my passion for radio is greater than ever! It should be obvious to anyone listening to the show that I'm excited and ready to go for another 5 to 10 years. During your break, you were constantly on social media and making appearances. Your determination to keep in touch with your fanbase was unparalleled. What made you decide to do this?During my 10 years producing my show, I was accustomed to producing music, features, and topics daily, and I enjoyed that aspect of the show, so I figured, why stop? So, I produced my social media page in the same way I did the radio show, and the audience responded. I went from 200,000 fans in 2013 to over 4 million by the time I returned to radio in January 2017.michael baisden, radiofactsCan we expect more branding from you, like more books, movies etc.?Yes, there will definitely be more books. I’m currently working on a book about pursuing success and a children’s book about fatherless children. And of course, relaunching my TV Show, Baisden After Dark, and other film projects are on my things-to-do list for 2018.Where would you like to see yourself in the next couple of years?I want to have the number one afternoon show in the country, syndicated in over 100 cities, as well as the number one social media content company. I am currently working on the re-launch of my digital platform, Video Pitch. I'm determined to change the game in the radio industry when it comes to audio and video content.What advice would you give a younger Michael Baisden today?Stay true to your brand and don't allow others to convince you to perform on-air in a way that doesn't reflect who you truly are. Also, understand that in order to have a great radio show that will stand the test of time, you must have great producers and an ideology of inclusiveness. I never liked the term Urban Radio or Black Radio. That may be advantageous for sales, but it limits the opportunities and reach of the talent.Tell us about your team. Well, of course, I have to start with comedian George Willborn, who’s been with me since 2007. It's great to have his energy and perspective back on the show. Our chemistry is second to none. Then there's Tamara G, the lady of the show, who I've known for many years from her work on Jacksonville and WEDR and Hot 105 in Miami. I also brought on Doug Davis, who was working as a PD in Savannah when I met him. He's been doing a great job of holding down the production and editing duties. Of course, we needed some young blood on the team, so I hired a talented young man from New York—we call him Juan Carlos Urena-Acosta, We call him Juan C, who’s responsible for editing and managing the production of the show to the satellite company. My daughter, Michae' Baisden, is my intern show producer and is doing an excellent job of scheduling guests and producing show topics. And finally, the two newest members of the team are Tanisha Carmichael and Miles Low, both of whom are working out great as producers. Anything else?I'm happy that my comeback has been so well received. I think it's important that radio programs have substantive content that people will talk about long after the show is over. For too long, Black Radio has relied on news and humor, instead of opening up the phone lines and talking directly to the people. When you have compelling content and add in the perspective of the on-air personality, it's an experience that's exclusive to that host and station. That's how we win long-term in radio, by engaging the audience every hour instead of having personalities operate in a bubble. And no one engages the audience more often and better than The Michael Baisden Show!

Digital and Radio Facts Talks to Michael Baisden on his "Best Return of the...

Michael Baisden "Best Return of the Year"“ I produced my social media page in the same way I did the radio show, and the...

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