Shortly before his death, Sidney Wood had been caregiving for his mother who died Dec 18th, 2019 and he was trying to purchase a station in Americus, GA. The station deal fell through.
Saturday while taking a drive up the coast, I was talking to a longtime radio friend in Atlanta and out of the blue and completely off the subject, I asked her if she knew Sidney Wood or the name we knew him better by Kenny Diamond. She said the name sounded familiar and she looked him up and said: "Oh yeah I remember him." We then continued the conversation about something else.
Sunday morning I woke up to a message from her stating that Sidney Wood (Kenny Diamond) died this past week. We were both dumbfounded that I brought up his name out of the blue and then this morning she heard from one of her radio contacts that he had died.
I started in radio with Kenny at WIGO in Atlanta in the mid-80s. We were all kids, hungry and starving ( LITERALLY just like everybody else who worked at WIGO) WIGO was truly a test of how bad you wanted to work in radio because it was by far in my 30-year history the first and the worst radio station I have ever worked for and quite often Alum from the station joke about how horrible it was working for the late Dorothy Brunson.
Kenny came to the station from Kiss 104, a super hot station in the market in the 80s that went head to head with V103. Kenny came to WIGO from Kiss and shortly thereafter I went to work for Kiss 104. "I had to fire Kenny because he kept getting chicken grease on the vinyl. He was great on the air but he kept eating in the booth." Mitch Faulker told me as we laughed this weekend.
The late Byron Pitts hired the late Nate Quick and myself at WIGO and I'm not sure if he also hired Kenny but we all worked together and I remember being blown away by Kenny's amazing talent. Kenny not only had the voice he had the confidence and celebrity looks that could have catapulted him into superstardom.
I never wanted radio as much as many people that I know did but Kenny was absolutely MEANT to work in radio. His style and delivery were second to none and he was phenomenal on the air.
He became an even bigger radio star when he went to V103 doing afternoon drive and then he became the music director. At that time he was also working with another radio great from my hometown, the late Keith Pollard who was an AM superstar in the 70s and 80s but he was not a good fit for an FM transition. Like many other AM radio DJs, They didn't sound as good on FM.
Kenny got into an unfortunate legal situation at V that derailed the rest of his promising career. As if that wasn't enough he crossed the street into another investigation simultaneously that sealed his fate.
He disappeared for a while then did what he did best. He reinvented himself. He ran for office and then when that failed he went to work for Creflo Dollar. He was the voice of the church for many years and he also did some side jobs there.
In recent years Kenny was able to get on WAOK with something he had never done Talk radio and he did a great job with that even though he had no experience as a talk show host. He was always willing to give something a try. I never met anyone more ambitious than Kenny Diamond.
At last, he ended up doing sales for Cumulus when WAOK was over and that was his last industry gig to my knowledge. Ironically, he reached out to me within the last few months to do some writing for Radio Facts and to catch up. I never got the chance to respond.
Rest in Power Kenny. Your talent and ambition were undeniable and you were the greatest at whatever you chose to do. Say hello for the rest of the industry to Byron Pitts, Keith Pollard, Nate Quick, and yes even Dorothy Brunson.
- 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
Yeah, I'm Pretty Sure These Things Are True...
Radio Facts has been in business for 24 years. In that time, as the CEO, I've had a LOT of ups and downs. There were times I wanted to walk away, times I've loved it, times I've been frustrated and times I wanted to give up on the industry. But something always kept luring me back. Where am I now? In a GREAT place, Radio Facts is at its peak and I'm focusing more on industry business instead of just an industry site because we NEED more black businesses in the industry.
As the industry is headed in a more entrepreneurial and online event production status, it would behoove current industry pros to educate ourselves on everything from SEO standards to affiliate marketing and blogging to increase side gig revenue for the future. I cannot say it enough, radio is a springboard NOT a reclyner. Radio is to be used to ADVANCE our careers not stagnate.
If I was a statistician and I was concentrating on the industry specifically, there are at least seven things I am confident I know for sure about our industry after 24 years from a national perspective. Ready? Here we go. Click "Next" below for the next segment.
Black People DO look out for other Black People
I can honestly say, had it not been for black people I would not have succeeded with my own business in the industry. This does not mean that ALL black people have supported me. There have been some (especially men for some reason) who don't support any of the black trades but both men and women from all races have looked out for me which is what I focus on. I can honestly tell you that, for the most part, black people DO lookout for other blacks and want to see us succeed.
Racism DOES exist in our Industry
I went to a conference once and went to an event on a hotel roof in downtown LA to meet the president of a big company. I was shocked to see that I was literally the ONLY black person in the entire room of 400 people. In all fairness, there were at least 8 other blacks in the room but they were walking around with trays of hors d'oeuvres and giving me that look like 'help us get the hell out of here, you must be somebody important.' I literally felt like I was in a scene from a slave movie. It was disgusting and this company which is a HUGE company in the industry consistently gets LOW marks for diversity but they make a TON of money from Black product. A few years ago I would have revealed who it is but I won't do it here.
Another example, I called a record label and spoke to the white head of the label who told me ... and I quote "I can't believe you actually have the nerve to call me." I was shocked but not surprised. This is a label that makes a TON of money of rap product.
There are people on the radio side who play a TON of black music and have a ton of black concerts and events who want NOTHING to do with black people in the industry no matter how many pictures they take cheesing it up with black rappers. This does not apply to all of them but way too many to count.
Racism is always ridiculous but when it's evident that the perpetrators are only here to make money off the black talent there is not much that can be done especially when the black artists don't speak up. They are the ones with the true power to change the situation.
Urban Radio Talent Do Not Promote Gigs and Good Quality Content Creation Enough
A MAJORITY of the press releases we get for Radio Facts for as long as I can remember are promoting gigs for everybody BUT black people especially black men. Black talent, especially at radio, RARELY are promoted and don't promote themselves to the trades. Promoting yourself on social media is OK when it's good quality content creation or great segments that happen in the radio studio but when it comes from a national 3rd party to THE INDUSTRY it has added benefits for the future of the talent. I've heard some people say, 'we're rarely promoted, so there is no news.' That, unfortunately, is true. The ladder for black talent in the industry is often missing many rungs but I also know many black radio people also fear self-promotion for corporate disciplinary action.
Please tell me what radio corporation has a policy against promoting yourself and I will call them myself and ask them what the problem is. That makes NO sense to me but I've heard it time and again. For those who don't promote themselves, I URGE you to look at the last segment.
We Rely TOO Heavily on Others to Measure our Efficiency and Effectiveness
I have seen countless Black people ESPECIALLY on the radio side sit too comfortably for TOO long waiting for others to approve of or measure our efficiency and effectiveness not considering that there are radio people in management positions who are lagging when it comes to social media and music trends. When I hire people to work for me. I look for people who are smarter than me. Only a damn fool keeps hiring people they can direct, especially in today's industry.
When it comes to YOU, if there is no risk to find a way to build your brand, without interrupting your radio corporation's rules, there is no reward and when the company is done with you, it can lead to disaster
depending on your age no matter WHAT your age. Be creative in your venture to build your brand and fill the current industry holes that are missing and on the radio side... there is a LOT. I have seen SO many black radio people keep getting the exact same positions after being laid off over and over for YEARS. At what point do we aim higher? If you are comfortable, it's not the time to rest, it's the time to WORK.
Black Women are More Compassionate and Participatory with Black Causes
I've heard black industry women talk about each other, mostly in positive ways. From this perspective, I see a LOT of support from black women for other black industry women and black industry business.
MOST of the complaints about nepotism often apply more to black men in power positions in the industry whereas black women tend to be more likely to give someone new a chance that she doesn't know that well but who is making a worthwhile contribution. When we do the Women of Color in Media magazine, we do run into a bit of animosity from some women who think they should be honored OVER other women but that's with ANY situation where people are being honored. Black women who are in competing positions with honorees still call and ask for copies of the magazine.
We Are Often Apprehensive About Stepping Outside the "Black Box"
Look at the greatest success stories in the Black industry and you will see that people like Cathy Hughes, Charlamagne, Tom Joyner , Wendy Williams and others stepped outside the box and created their own paths to success by daring to be different and using all of their options. Black culture is not only prominent and valuable it is OURS. The industry KNOWS how valuable black culture is but the question is do WE? I have seen SO many examples of us giving away our talent and culture to other races then complaining about them stealing it. We are without question the ONLY race that allows every other race to borrow, use and profit from our culture with little response.
Comfortability, Retirement, Misplacement, Layoffs or Ageing Out Often Means Death
This is the MOST important thing Radio Facts has taught me. Over the years I have written many death notices with headlines that say "Vet Dies" in your emails. I can honestly tell you, at one time it started to take a toll on me and sent me spiraling into a dark funk. Mostly because a LOT of it was preventable. Yes, you read that right, PREVENTABLE. A majority of the people who get sick and die almost always have the same set of circumstances, they are not working and can't get back in the industry. They really die of broken hearts that morph into ailments and diseases. They get frustrated then depressed then ill and then they die.
Out of 100% of the deaths I've written about over the years at least 90% of the cases are what I described above. No joke when I say this... KEEP WORKING, PLAN FOR LIFE AFTER THE INDUSTRY AND PURSUE YOUR OTHER PASSIONS... NOW!!! When you get up each day without goals, drive, passion or purpose you develop the soul of an invalid and it's hard to bounce back. Quite often this comes from a lack of preparation while we are working or failing to plan for the future and the refusal to accept a consistently changing industry. It will not change back to the industry that you once knew in your lifetime, accept the changes and be willing to go with them.