We put together this list of the people we were most impressed with this year in the industry and beyond. Your thoughts?
Diddy – REVOLT TV
Kudos to Sean “P-Diddy” Combs for creating another ALWAYS much-needed minority owned media outlet to reach the masses. REVOLT TV was born in October 2013 after Congresswoman Maxine Waters pressured congress for more minority owned networks and REVOLT TV was one of 4 networks chosen out of over 100 proposals as a result (there are more on the way). Diddy describes the network as: “The first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media. We’re building this platform for artists to reach an extraordinary number of people in a completely different way. Revolt will be live, like all great moments in television history. It’s your channel to do what you want to do, how you want to do it.” The concept is a great idea and has extended the reach to not only include TV but Radio (The Breakfast Club Radio Show) and movies. Diddy is on the way to building a minority owned media empire and we love the idea. In addition, the first REVOLT conference was held this year which is an event that merges the industry with prospective artists and consumers. While we are not sure how the company plans to get radio involved, or even if radio needs to be involved, the conference appears to have great potential. Click NEXT above for next innovator
The Breakfast Club Radio Show
It is outrageously refreshing to hear AND see a morning show that comes from true radio pros who trash all the rules of commercial radio and simply go for it. At RadioFacts we readily admit, this is by far one of the best syndicated shows in the industry, proving, amidst the staunch belief of urban radio corporations, that people with radio backgrounds CAN be stars too when given a platform to be themselves. The camaraderie between Charlamagne, DJ Envy and Angela Yee is refreshing and authentic. You literally feel like 3 friends are having a conversation about interesting subjects and they are letting you in on it. Charlamagne brings a great comedic and intellectual element to the show, Yee does an amazing job of researching and interviewing the guests and Envy’s history and respect as a DJ who is also able to host completes the team. All three have a great knowledge of the music and go far above and beyond the typical morning radio show where the announcers are often on a corporate leash and constantly ask the same boring questions over and over, year after year. See this story about urban radio interviews.
Earlier this year, we profiled industry vet Steve Hegwood on what we would love to see more urban radio programmers do. Find the radio holes and fill them. Unfortunately, everyone can’t be a programmer, afford a station and be an entrepreneur but Hegwood has done it. When he was let go from Radio One in Atlanta a few years ago, they did him a huge favor, he used his experience as a previous radio entrepreneur and his knowledge of the broadcast license and ownership realm to build his own unique radio station in THE most competitive urban radio market in the country. The result is W233BF FM/Streetz 94.5 in Atlanta. Hegwood’s company Edgewater Broadcasting licensed the station as a broadcast translator, which is a service intended to retransmit analog FM stations to distant or terrain-obstructed areas. The station has a very limited signal but manages to reach their target demo by playing more local hip hop music unlike the commercial staitions in the market like V103, WHTA and a few others who are greatly dependent on PPM, tight playlists and research. Hegwood goes against the grain and is able to get the local advertising that the major stations pretty much ignore or price out of the market. Streetz is operating independently under a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) legal fiction that allows such stations to transmit original programming if it is also simulcast on another station’s HD Radio digital subchannel. To get a full description of how the station works see here. We have heard how much the station is billing and we will not reveal that here but we will say the local corporate stations even beyond urban are very much aware and concerned about the impact of Steetz in Atlanta.
Tony Cornelius has done an amazing job of continuing his late father Don Cornelius’ legacy with various events around the legendary Soul Train brand, including a cruise and reigniting the successful Soul Train Awards show. There is also an independent Broadway play dedicated to Soul Train in the works. Tony exudes the same class and finesse as his father and he admits that his father taught him a great deal about business when he worked with him for 15 years.
Rushion has been a quiet marketing riot behind the scenes contributing to the massive success of many of mega star Steve Harvey’s greatest ventures. What is greatly commendable about McDonald is he gave up his own career as a comedian to partner with Harvey to make Harvey the star because he knew this was what Steve was meant to do and he admitted his heart wasn’t in comedy like Steve’s was. He took a gamble but he proves that none of us can succeed alone. The duo has had massive success starting with Rushion helping to broker Steve’s first major radio deal with the former KKBT/Radio One in Los Angeles and the success has moved into the stratosphere since then, including best-selling books, TV shows and award shows and movies. Rushion is modest about his achievements and we’re glad to see him share his knowledge and success with others via social media chats. Our podcast with him garnered close to 10,000 listens and we are still hearing from fans on how much they loved the show.
Steve Harvey is THE most successful syndicated radio hosts on urban radio who has created such incredible leverage and branding, his legacy is now solidified. Urban stations know the benefit of carrying the show and they have expressed it to us stating that they get the greatest bang out of Harvey’s show. He has struck while the iron was hot and created an iconic business status in the process. He planned and executed and made sure he surrounded himself with the right people. When you compare Harvey to most other syndicated hosts on the urban side they are not leveraging their success into other ventures as well as many announcers on urban radio stations. There is always a heavy price to pay for this. Harvey currently has a book about success detailing his experiences and concepts.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar goes the extra mile by using his celebrity to spread a different kind of message. Bravely covering subject matter other rappers have never touched like admitting he suffers from depression and finding ways to use his celebrity to bring attention to the many issues that affect young black men.. He’s grounded and proves you can be a huge star and care about people at the same time in Hip Hop.
TV One – Hollywood Divas
I absolutely HATE the word “Diva” and I did not watch this show because of the title. One day while flipping though the channels, I came across an episode and was pleasantly surprised with the content. TV Reality shows are absolute garbage for the most part but I understand the allure and the foolishness is often so interesting it’s hard to break away so I rarely watch at all. Hollywood Divas does what very few other reality shows do, it brings to the forefront what REALLY happens in Hollywood for black actors and actresses. I know because I see it everyday. There are MANY more actors and actresses trying to get work than those that you see on TV. In addition, it can be a ruthless industry because there are so few opportunities for black talent. I’ve seen actors who were in hit films at one time at the bus stop, check cashing places while I wait at the red light and hanging on street corners and that’s what I love about this show. It is brutally honest even showing one of the women walking around with garbage bags with her possessions admitting she has been homeless after filming Hustle and Flow. I don’t see how Lisa Wu fits into the cast but the show is very interesting and it needs to be seen.
There seems to be a whole new slew of rappers who are coming to the industry from a more grounded perspective. They incorporate intellectual lyrics in their songs and speak about current issues affecting the black community, capitalism and the need for concern. J Cole is one of those artists. His interview with Angie Martinez recently was excellent.
Ramsey Orta Man who filmed Eric Garner Video
Unfortunately this man has not gotten his just due and he was indicted on other charges the same week the cop got off for the taped murder of Eric Garner Ramsey’s timing for taping the altercation was impeccable as the assault that went viral internationally and brought an incredible amount of attention to the need for massive police reform and the problems with race relations in the US.