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The Breakfast Club Radio Show Interviews Cipha Sounds Cipha Sounds stops by The Breakfast Club Radio Show to talk leaving his radio gig to pursue comedy and much more: - Mentoring Yee
- - Do you miss radio?
- - Why did you do mornings?
- - Fun fact: Offered job at Power
- - How Hot 97 did him dirty
- - Envy breaks down their history
- - Breaking Rihanna, Rick Ross, and Clipse's "Grinding" on the radio
- -How he started the first podcast ever
- - History with K Foxx
- - VH1's Hot 97 Show
- - Did Breakfast Club shake up Hot 97?
- - Telling bad jokes
- - Mister Cee
- -His food addiction
- - Stand up Comedy
- - Tru Tv Show
- - Why are you and Jay so tight?
Time waits for no one and neither does radio. The legendary Sam Sylk knows that from his experience and he is wise not to forget it. He's originally from Chicago. Over the years, I've always been impressed with his ability to brand himself in a way that opens the door of opportunity. When you look at his FaceBook page, you don't see a lot of pictures with celebrities. Let's face it, for the most part, we all know how small yet segregated the industry is. We have to ask ourselves what's more important? Always promoting what THEY do or finding a way to also promote what WE do. Sam promotes his show, the station, his events and now his restaurant on social media. He's brilliant in getting the most out of the social media concept. Sam also understands leverage, use it or lose it. No doubt this helps him in many ways on and off the air. He's building a legacy that goes beyond radio. KUDOS. His food looks great too. I encourage all industry people to order something from his restaurant (lol). I'm not sure if he ships but help this man build his business. I hear the fried salmon is the best. Sylk attended Kennedy King College & Columbia School of Broadcasting. His first radio gig was at WACR in Columbus Mississippi. After that, he did stints in Tulsa Oklahoma, West Helena Arkansas, Chicago, Philadelphia and he's currently in Cleveland and Cincinnati. He's also been a programmer. We wanted to catch up with him to get his perspective on a few things in and out of today's industry. Which market have you been in the longest? Chicago & Cleveland Many people think that Radio is a dying medium what are your thoughts? Content that is relatable and interaction with the listeners is key that sets us apart from the playlist. The days of us being first playing a song is over unless an artist delivers it. What changes do you predict will happen over the next few years in the industry? Hip Hop stations will have Syndicated afternoons. Radio DJs with a brand will be able to survive if they plan ahead e.g. cars are WIFI. If you have a platform people can listen to you as much as they do terrestrial radio. I remember when People thought satellite radio wouldn't last well how long has that been? People thought Howard Stern was crazy for leaving terrestrial. What are some of the common mistakes that you consistently see Radio DJs making? Being comfortable and scared of change. Study your craft you should listen to other formats it will help develop you as a talent. Do you have a podcast? I have one on SoundCloud, TuneIn, iTunes and an App Sam Sylk Radio. The podcast right now is just an extension of my content from my show and celebrity interviews. Sam Sylk Radio is an internet Radio Station. What do you think of the podcasting industry? I think it's a huge way to connect with your listeners and if done right a huge payday. [caption id="attachment_182035" align="alignnone" width="960"] Whoever took this picture should get an award. Chicken wings from Sylk's restaurant.[/caption] You are a Radio DJ AND an entrepreneur tell us about that I've always had a passion for the food industry and being an owner. For years I've endorsed many products this time it's my turn (lol). I want to be what I talk about on and off air and that's building our community that means creating jobs and ownership for those who want it. Do you like to cook? For sure I enjoy it I had to show the team how I wanted it done. What are some of the greatest challenges that you experience as an entrepreneur? 1. Finding good help, people say they want a job but they really only want a check 2. Blocking out the naysayers, you can't expect everyone to get the vision it's yours it belongs to you so you have to stay focus. Remember when they started selling bottled water? Someone said that was silly now we all buy bottled water. 3. Time management that got me at first but now I'm way more focused. 4. Getting over fear, I had to get over it now we are doing it and I praise GOD for the strength How do you balance a shift, the restaurant, and a personal life? It's hard but you must make time for what's important to you. God, Family I'm now starting to force myself to take time for me it's a must if I want to stay sane. What are some of the things that take precedence over your career at this point? (financial planning, longevity, business ownership etc) Man, you answered the question all the above. I'm learning to be smarter with my money. It's a must. For me all three play into each other. Besides me, who are some of the other people you greatly admire in the industry and why? (Lol) You're funny bro Lol, real talk I like how you were the first that I know to go digital with the industry trade magazine and look at you know. I'm waiting for the Radio Facts Conference. Man, this list is long and I don't want to leave anyone out. (in all fairness All Access was first but we were the first BLACK industry trade to go digital) 1. Colby Colb, There's no doubt he's a force to be reckoned with. I like his sense of urgency let's get it done winning attitude. In this business, you have to continue to grow and I've learned a lot under his leadership. 2. Rick Party, when I came back home from Tulsa he invited me to his show we met through a mutual friend. I will never forget what Rick Party did when I had my audition for GCI. He volunteered to run my board. I'm like really dude it's Saturday night 10 pm you are off and a full timer. In an industry where it's so competitive, he has no problem sharing his knowledge and experience. I can call him right now 3. The Late Doug Banks. When I was on college Radio WOUI I use to prank call Doug's morning show. When I got my first Radio gig Doug invited me to the station and showed me the ropes he also gave me his famous 911 call. What Radio DJ do you know now that will offer their bit for free? No matter how many markets Doug was in he remained humble and approachable. 4. Elroy Smith is a creative and marketing genius. If Elroy believes in you, he pushes the envelope, A great talent coach. 5. Bill Black, Bill is not afraid of going against Urban AC Tradition what does that mean? It can't be the same programming when I was a kid. He has the future playbook for Black AC format Quick shouts outs to Derrick Brown, Terri Thomas, Skip Dillard (WBLS and WLIB) and Hurricane Dave these are some of the best programmers in the game. One of my favorite morning shows is Dee in The Morning she's dope, now that's a radio show, my friend. What are some of the things middle aged Radio DJs can do to keep working in the industry Stay relatable to their target demo be willing to change when necessary and have fun!!! What social media platform do you get the most out of and why? Facebook & IG. FB is where the majority of the world lives that's because they keep reinventing and staying competitive. Where do you see yourself in the next 2 years? Growing my digital platform and going national also another book. As far as the restaurants I will be a major player ... let's go Global baby!!!
Where is our Creative?The current state of the Black radio Radio DJ is not only in danger of becoming extinct, it's easily up for grabs according to trends in Black radio. Several people have emailed, called and sent me texts about comedian Michael Colyar replacing comedian Rudy Rush who replaced the late radio legend Doug Banks on the syndicated Doug Banks Show (recently changed to "Rush Hour"). "Why didn't they just give the show to Ebony Steele? She has the strength to carry that show as the host" has been the overwhelming sentiment. Ebony is one helluva Radio DJ and she certainly has a following but the truth is, we have to be more aggressive in our approach to succeed in radio. We haven't talked to Rudy about his departure but I'm willing to bet (as usual) it has something to do with money. Unlike Michael Baisden who completely put his situation on a billboard (Radio 101: Has anyone heard from Baisden?) Rush is being "classy" and evasive per a few recent tweets. Great move Rudy.
Are WE to Blame as Radio DJs...?We do have to take some of the responsibility. Many of us have sat idly by and waited for opportunities to come our way instead of creating opportunities which is what has essentially allowed comedians to enter the radio industry and pretty much drop us off at the bus stop and take the driver's seat. When they are not satisfied with their careers they look at other options, we don't, our options are usually another radio gig. Today's comedians look at what a comedian like Steve Harvey has done and they want a piece of the overwhelming monetary pie. Is anyone looking at us as Radio DJs and thinking the same thing? Not according to some of the leading Black radio industry pros who readily admit the Radio DJ pool for fresh talent has not only been depleted but is damn near bone dry. What does that mean for the future of the Black Radio DJ?
Who is D.L. Hughley...?I would be amiss to say that D.L. Hughley is just a comedian. He is also an exceptional radio host and an intellectual (whose new book, the audio version of "Black Man, White House" annoys the hell out of me because there is too much going on with all the characters instead of a straight read). His coverage, passion, and connection to the mass media pertaining to the recent shootings was second to none. He came off of his vacation to participate. I don't know nary not nary Black radio Radio DJ that would have done that or that could have covered it the way that he did. (Is "Nary" a real word?) While DL has been on the radio on and off for at least 20 years, his celebrity certainly opened the door for the opportunity to be heard but aren't we also celebrities? Where are the Black Radio DJs, even locally, for situations like this? I saw some coverage by Black radio Radio DJs in some markets during the shootings and from what I saw, we need some work brethren. Some of us had great guests and opportunities in the studios during the onset of events but what I often saw lacked authority, knowledge of laws, political savvy, community sense and passion. Many took the easy way out by simply explaining how they too had been stopped by the cops. Wow, let's all make room for the new Doug Banks. Have you ever googled the solution to a problem that you were having and you find a link but it's an endless thread of people saying "I am having the same problem too" who cares? Give me the damn solution. Same here, being in the same position as other black men or women who are stopped by the police doesn't make us a star it makes us, well.... another black man or woman stopped by the police, that's it. Are we the listener or the authority? I'm curious. I will say that Rosenberg at Hot 97 in New York did an exceptional job as well as Frank Ski at V103 in Atlanta but did I miss something? Did YOU see any excellent coverage by an Black radio Radio DJ that made you jump up and shout "Gloraye... GLORAYE Hallelue?" or did you simply prefer to tune in to the biased commercial TV news? URBAN Radio DJS CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE Seriously, what is it that we can do to make ourselves "exceptional" and the "go-to" person whenever news breaks in our market or beyond instead of the pack yo sh and "run-from" source? In today's radio realm, being an Black Radio DJ is just not enough. This is not 1982 and you don't make as much money as the Radio DJs did back then (wait, that might be true) anyway, we have to aim for being exceptional at the end of the day NOT ordinary, predictable and basic. What is it that's going to keep the "Urban Radio Radio DJ" concept alive and better than anyone else with a mic in the studio? You will have to figure that out sooner than later. How Can Radio Facts Help? Let me know and I will implement... My best, Kev
Use Your LeverageLeverage your Success and Outsource your Weaknesses. I can't tell you how many Pro Broadcasters that I talk to who do NEITHER. Your past success is your leverage or your 'money in the bank.' Invest it and us it wisely by morphing it into something else. In my case, I used my radio experience to start Radio Facts because I literally saw where radio was going in 1995 and I was right. I didn't want to be a 50-year-old man pushing buttons for a comedian's show on the radio while I was waiting for another radio gig and it was the best decision I ever made and I've been doing it for 21 years. Sometimes it takes a bit of gambling but we can generally see what he future holds if we look at how it's trending. Where you are weak? Hire someone to help you. Many pro broadcasters are weak when it comes to Social Networking an absolute MUST in today's business realm. If you are weak hire a kid or someone else to set up your networks and to auto post from one to the other. It may cost you a bit in the beginning but the investment will have a very high return in the end. "Click NEXT for next segment"
Just MoveI can only post this video of Oprah to explain no further she said it all right here. Click "NEXT" for new segment [video width="640" height="360" mp4="https://radiofacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Oprahs-Do-it-God-is-waiting-YouTube.mp4"][/video]
Get Into Tech[caption id="attachment_171990" align="alignleft" width="392"] Lori Lewis, VP Cumulus Social Media[/caption] The Social Nets are NOT going away, they are going to keep coming and getting better and bigger. Right now, there is room for someone else especially on the Black side in the industry to become an expert in social media and to be hired by radio execs and corporations. A prime example of this is Lori Lewis a very successful industry FaceBook friend of mines who took advantage of a great opportunity...Lori was a sidekick for Bubba the Love Sponge then she became a successful PD in Baltimore in 2008. She LOVED the digital space and she wanted to try something different. So she quit her job and moved back to her hometown. Telling herself that if she failed she would be around close friends and family. At the start of her career as a social media expert in the industry she got a LOT of rejection, here's a quote from her to Radio Facts readers... "I had fear leaving day-to-day programming in 2008. Fear my radio colleagues would judge me as someone who couldn't succeed as a programmer so she did something else. But the truth is, I didn't like being a PD. I loved the digital and social space. So in 2008, who knew, I was actually paving the way for others in radio to be OK with leaving programming for digital and or social. 8 years later, we have a great number of former PDs and on air talent helping radio in the digital space now. It's exciting looking back at what was a blank space and no promises to what's happening today. Evolving our careers is critical. No need to ever feel the fear I had. I'm proof you can evolve successfully." Lori admits it was difficult in the beginning because the 'progressive' industry that we work in can be VERY behind the times, which is so true. It almost took me 2 year to sell my first ad for the online version of Radio Facts because many labels didn't see blogs and websites as the new frontier. As far as Lori, today she is the VP of Social Media for Cumulus Media. She helps to develop integrated social media strategies for the corporation's stations as well as Westwood One. She took a chance and came out on top.
Create OpportunityWhat are you good at? I mean REALLY good at? You don't have to be an entrepreneur but consider using whatever that skill is to create a cushion for yourself and to make extra money in the industry. Go back and watch the Oprah video again. Stop waiting for someone to open the door for you, OPEN IT YOURSELF.
Stop Sabotaging YourselfStop believing the negative crap others put on you. If you are passed over for a promotion or fired from a gig maybe they really ARE cutting back to save money or maybe the person that was hired is better suited for the gig but TIME is NOT on your side and you have to take control of YOUR OWN career. Either you gamble and wait two to three years until the new person leaves and hope they consider you then or you leave and get the opportunity that you deserve NOW. I would leave. When we stay at stations that reject us and pass us over for promotions we're not only being mislead, we may have done something to CAUSE ourselves to be mislead. Perhaps being too desperate or too available or too eager. Sometimes that can work AGAINST you and you never stop begging or being viewed as 'the desperate one.' That can become your legacy at that outlet especially for an inexperienced, selfish or insecure PD. If you see this happening... MOVE to another station or opportunity and don't keep repeating previous mistakes.
Radio is Just the Beginning NOT the END to EVERYTHING[caption id="attachment_171994" align="alignnone" width="525"] Radio is just the Start to a LONG road of opportunity...[/caption] Radio is an amazing opportunity to open doors for other things. I fail to understand why so many people can't seem to get away from it to better themselves. Sometimes you HAVE to walk away especially as you get older and the opportunities fade. On this very site, I've written MANY stories about Radio DJs being found dead or dying in the process of waiting for another radio gig that was never going to come when they were older. Set goals by using TIME, your MOST VALUABLE ASSET, as your barometer to progress NOW. Give a new station a year to see how they like you but MORE importantly how YOU like THEM. Explore other opportunities either in the market or outside the market. Stop being afraid to sell yourself. Nobody owns you.
Re-invent YourselfWhen I worked at Urban Network in the early 90s it was new ground for me. I was a radio DJ who had moved to LA, a place I always wanted to live, and now I had an opportunity to write and be the Rap Editor for the popular industry trade magazine that I used to report to when I was an interim PD in Columbus, GA at Foxie 105. Foxie didn't hire me as the PD, they hired Phillip David March so I left the station and went to Denver to program KDKO. I was not going to wait a few years for the opportunity to arise again. KDKO lasted a year and then I took a chance and moved to LA. I was so close at that point. Working for Urban was an honor at first but then I HATED being the rap editor and the politics at Urban Network were outrageous. The power struggles amongst management was like a bunch of kids in the playground trying to grab a bag of candy and too many outsiders were invited in who caused a lot of negativity. I KNEW it was just a matter of time before I got caught up in the BS so I used that job as college, I let management fight while I did every job I could and learned as much as I could, once they fired me, which I KNEW was coming, I started my own trade magazine and became their competition. The more that you know and can do the longer you will have a career and the more valuable you become. You will be able to fall back on any other gig to keep yourself working until the next gig comes along. If the station asks you to do another job, make sure it's something that is a bankable career and not cleaning toilets in addition don't be afraid to leave if you are passed over for a promotion or to negotiate a higher salary if you are performing well but look at any industry gig as college, you are not only getting a great education, you are getting paid for it while everybody else complains about the extra work. That extra work can serve you well at a later date.
Invest in YourselfI have a great disdain for lazy black folks. When I say that I mean the people who call you for free tickets from YOUR clients. I have never asked my clients for free tickets. If they support me I need to support THEM and buy my OWN damn tickets but I have had people call me and ask me to ask my clients for tickets for not only them but for their dates and friends? I will not tell you what I tell them when they have asked. Thank GOD I don't hear from those people anymore, mostly because I cut them off. Investing in yourself means surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Not a bunch of users. Also the "Hook a brotha up-ers." If you are that guy I can promise you a lifelong struggle and pity. It's a turn off for most people and like a homeless beggar who CAN do better but refuses to. These types are like poorly dressed and dated pimps who think the world owes them something. When everything comes to you for free there is no value in what you are getting or giving back to the world. When you have respect for what other people do and you pay them for their services, you get back the blessings 10 fold. The other day, I purchased an ad from another trade and the person has never done anything for me and I don't expect them to ever do anything for me. I just felt like doing it to support them. A good friend dogged me out for it but by the end of that day, I made triple the money back without making much effort. I don't mind helping others if I see a good cause even if there is no return. We should not look for a return, the universe will take over. If you want to be paid full price for your services then pay other black people FULL PRICE for theirs and stop asking for free sh.
Find Mentors OnlineMentors are overrated. I never had one and Wendy Williams, during a recent interview with Radio Facts admitted she didn't have one either and she made a very good point. A mentor will guide you to be like them and it may not be who you are. She was so right. I'm SO glad nobody stepped up to the plate to train me because I would have never taken the chances or said or did some of the crazy and amazing things that I did. I was able to remain true to who I was and it served me and continues to serve me well. What I WILL suggest is that you can get AMAZING motivation online from people like TD Jakes, Oprah and Gary Vee. The person should be wildly successful themselves because you should never take great advice from an old fool who has nothing. That's a waste of time.
[caption id="attachment_170703" align="alignnone" width="703"] Chamillionaire - rapper and business mogul. photo credit Peter Holslin[/caption] A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to submit names for an awards ceremony for nominees. I did and was glad to see a majority of the people I put on the list were on the list of the finals. I thought long and hard about who I picked. When I saw the final list, I was disappointed. There were no young industry people on it, very few industry entrepreneurs and a several industry people who treat other industry people like sh. I bowed out of the continued voting process. As many of you know, if you have followed Radio Facts over the years I don't like industry politics. I know they are often a necessary evil but I prefer not to play them. When it comes to these lists because they always honor the same people and almost always ignore the younger industry generation and those in the trenches but I get it, it's business. I guess it's like the late Maya Angelou stated: "If you don't like something change it and it can't change it change the way you look at it." (paraphrasing). I think I need to change it. As a champion of the underdog and (sometimes) advocate I wanted to take this time to truly thank those who get up each day and go to a radio gig in a market that either doesn't pay much, where there is little growth opportunity or where you work for a PD that's got more ego than talent. I know what's that's like because I have been there. I'd also like to thank those who work in medium to large markets who work hard on their social networks (if the corporation allows it) and who are in the community and constantly grinding to get people to listen to your show with innovative ideas and concepts. I'd also like to thank those who seek outside opportunities and who created their own path of success. Finally on this Friday I'd like to thank those who I am MOST connected with the entrepreneurs. We are kindred in the way we understand that while we work tirelessly and all responsibility falls on us, we wouldn't trade if for the world because we are not only doing what we love, we are doing it for ourselves. I had a great conversation with an industry vet yesterday and she said something that stuck with me. Ask yourself what kind of entrepreneur are you because there is a difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner. An entrepreneur is usually wealthier because they start, build and sell businesses. A small business owner usually runs his or her business until he or she dies and the business usually dies with them. Black folks tend to be small business owners and everybody else especially in today's tech world are "entrepreneurs." There is a great story from last year on how rapper Chamillionaire wants to be a millionaire and he talks about how people in the music industry are not truly wealthy when you compare that to a 24-year-old billionaire who owns a tech company or creates an app. He is absolutely right. Here is the article. To that end my industry brethren while this may not be an award I hope that you know that Radio Facts honors your efforts. When it comes to business make sure handle YOUR business FIRST as in your future, investing in yourself and knowing your value. For all that you do... underserved and often ignored industry heroes and sheroes, Radio Facts says thank you! You are incredibly valuable to our industry sans an award yet worthy of recognition. My best Kevin Ross
We are thrilled to announced the first of 2 Radio Facts 21st Anniversary Magazines. The first "MAKE ROOM" spotlights industry innovators, entrepreneurs and those who used their leverage to take a radio gig and turn it into a greater opportunity. This issue is about inspiration and we are very excited about it. "We wanted to create a trade magazine that people actually read instead of thumb through, we tossed the usual industry politics and we're featuring those we feel are changing the industry by their own rules. (certain cover elements may change) The second issue of Radio Facts 21st Anniversary issue "GIVING BACK" will be announced soon.