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Kanye-West-Sunday-Service-choir-1200x900Kanye West’s Sunday Service choir employees filed a class action lawsuit against the rapper. The workers took legal action when the Keeping Up With the Kardashians co-star failed to pay their wages for the debut of his first opera.

2020 has been a challenging year for the American rap artist. Between running for president in the US election, dealing with mental health issues, and facing divorce allegations, Kanye has been through a lot this year. Now, he’s facing a lawsuit for nonpayment of wages. In November 2019, West launched his first opera called Nebuchadnezzar, a name derived from the king of Babylon. The event’s premiere was held at the Hollywood Bowl and produced by Live Nation. The show reportedly took many weeks to orchestrate, and there were constant changes resulting from the rapper’s perfectionism. All of the alterations requested by Kanye took a lot of time to incorporate into the performance, which resulted in overtime. Over a dozen of the employees reported they never got paid for services they performed, which is why they took legal action against the hip-hop musician.

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KBLATavis Smiley is making his return to radio, but this time the veteran radio and TV talker is jumping into ownership. Smiley has signed a deal to buy KBLA Los Angeles (1580) from Multicultural Radio Broadcasting. The sale – valued at $7.15 million – will usher a new talk format into the market. Smiley will position KBLA as “unapologetically progressive” according to its website.

KBLA has 50,000-watts day and night with a signal that stretches from Thousand Oaks to San Clemente. It is currently airing ethnic brokered programming. The station shares tower space with Multicultural’s KYPA (1230) and, according to the filing, Smiley will pay the seller $10,000 per month to not only remain on the tower but to also rent studio and office space. The deal also includes an eight-year non-compete agreement in which Multicultural pledges it will not help any other broadcaster with an urban format in the Los Angeles market.

Smiley lives in Los Angeles and his move into radio does not appear to be part of a national radio plan, but rather a take-it-slow step onto the Southern California airwaves.

Smiley came to national attention on radio when in 1996 he became a frequent commentator on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” BET took notice and he landed a television talk show that ran from 1996 to 2001. Smiley then returned to radio where he hosted “The Tavis Smiley Show” on NPR until 2004. In 2005 he teamed up with Public Radio International to host a new weekly radio show. He remained at PRI until 2017 when the network cancelled its agreement with Tavis Smiley Productions after what it said were “troubling allegations” of workplace misconduct at his nightly PBS television talk show. Smiley has steadfastly maintained his innocence while also speaking out in favor of the #MeToo movement.

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Oscar FieldsThe Urban Buzz sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Oscar Fields, best known his executive roles at Warner Bros, Elektra, WEA and Motown. Oscar passed away on Thursday, November 19th after a long illness. No other information is known at this time but we’ll make sure to keep you updated.

Editor’s Note: What an incredibly classy man and respected executive. Oscar was one of the best. May he Rest in Paradise.

 

 

 

Earl SellersThe Urban Buzz sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Earl Sellers. Earl had some health issues the past few years of his life. Due to COVID-19 the family will not have a funeral service and his remains will be cremated. Earl leaves to mourn his five daughters, his partner, June, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Editor’s Note: Earl was a friend and mentor who gave me advice as a young PD back in the early 80’s. A fine man, he will be missed. May Earl Rest in Paradise.

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abc tv logoABC has given a put pilot order to a musical comedy series that boasts Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Mary J. Blige among its executive producers.

Titled “Family Affair,” the single-camera series follows A-ron, a faded R&B star and committed bachelor whose life is thrown into a tailspin when he’s saddled with raising his sister’s four kids. A-ron is overwhelmed and underwater until he discovers that musical talent runs in the family. With their sights set on success, A-ron’s about to learn that managing a music group might be hard, but raising four kids is even harder.

According to sources, ABC picked up the project after a multi-network bidding war. It has a substantial penalty attached in the high six figure range. ABC has plans to open a writers’ room, with the show representing one of ABC’s largest commitments this season.

The series represents another team up for Jackson and Blige, with Blige currently starring in the Starz drama “Power Book II: Ghost.” Jackson is an executive producer on that series, as he was on the mothership show. He will also executive produce all of the other “Power” spinoffs in the works at Starz. “Family Affair” is also Jackson’s latest project with ABC, as he currently executive produces the drama series “For Life” at the network. That show’s second season recently launched.

Among Jackson’s other TV projects is the CBS All Access drama “Twenty Four Seven” with Tip “T.I.” Harris. He is also developing multiple shows at Starz outside of “Power” as part of his rich overall deal with the premium cabler.

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic; Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic; Craig Barritt/Getty Images

In addition to her role on “Power Book II: Ghost,” Blige’s recent onscreen credits include “The Umbrella Academy” and “Mudbound” for Netflix. For “Mudbound,” she was nominated for the Academy Awards for best supporting actress and best original song. She also previously set up the drug queenpin drama “Philly Reign” at USA Network, on which she is an executive producer.

 

 

This content by Joel Otterson originally appeared in Variety

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Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

According to broker of record Greg Guy of Patrick Communications, Multicultural is selling KBLA-AM 1580, licensed to Santa Monica, Calif., to Tavis Smiley.

The deal is valued at $7.15 million. A $357,500 escrow deposit has been made and is being held by Patrick Communications, the buyer’s representative. The transaction will see the newly formed Smiley Radio Properties pay $10,000 per month to lease KBLA’s equipment, with an annual increase of 3%.

And, any Multicultural employee or its managing members must adhere to a noncompete barring them from working with any station superserving African-American consumers in the L.A. marketplace for eight years.

Serving as Smiley’s legal counsel is David G. O’Neil of Rini O’Neil PC. The legal counsel for Multicultural is Mark N. Lipp of Fletcher Heald & Hildreth.

While the KBLA call letters are famous for their use at one of Los Angeles’ first Top 40 radio stations, that facility would become KROQ-AM 1500.

KBLA LOGOThis facility, with 4 towers for daytime power and 6 towers for nighttime power of 50kw, is best-known for being the home of Los Angeles’ pioneering hip-hop station, KDAY, in the 1980s. It’s signal reaches the entire L.A. basin and much of coastal San Diego.

Soon, it will convert from Spanish-language programming to presumably serve as a Talk Radio station catering to the Black community — based on the prominent display of the historic Watts Towers in its logo. However, the word “progressive” suggests Smiley has bigger sights than just African Americans.

That makes sense, considering his career trajectory.

In the early 1990s, Smiley first entered the media business with a talk show on former African American-focused KGFJ-AM. In 1996, he became a commentator for The Tom Joyner Morning Show, while simultaneously launching a public affairs show on BET. 

The BET position would abruptly end in 2001 with Smiley’s “firing”; his contract was not renewed, but BET founder Robert Johnson explained that he was parting ways with Smiley because he had sold an exclusive interview to ABC without giving right of first refusal to BET. Smiley had no condition or obligation in his contract to do so.

After that flare-up, Smiley ended up at NPR, where The Tavis Smiley Show would air until the end of 2004. A reincarnated version of that show would air from April 2005-January 2018 on Public Radio International (PRI).

That exit came one month after PBS suspended Smiley indefinitely after learning of “multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.” Translation: Smiley was accused of multiple improper relationships with female staff members.

Smiley sued for wrongful termination and fought PBS against the charges. On August 19, PBS prevailed, with Smiley ordered to pay $2.6 million to PBS, upholding a March 2020 jury finding.

Now, Smiley will have a pulpit of his own, with a mission not to dissimilar to those he’s used in every previous platform he’s had — to further educate and inform underserved people of color.

 

 

Content originally written by Adam Jacobson appeared in rbr.com

 

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iHeart-Radio-logo-mdThe cuts at iHeartMedia this month have continued through a third week with more markets affected.

This marks the third round of layoffs for the company this year following the massive cuts in January and the conversion of furloughs into layoffs in September.

While hundreds of iHeart employees have been shown the door, five weeks before Christmas, below find some notable Urban Radio executives now on the open market:

Sam Nelson exits as Director of Urban Programming in Savannah. Nelson has programmed Hip Hop “94.1 The Beat” WQBT, Adult R&B “Love 101.1” WLVH and Gospel 1230 WSOK since March 2015.

Bill Black exits as Director of Urban Programming in Detroit. He was overseeing “Mix 92.3” WMXD and 97.9 WJLB.

DJ Wizkidd exits nights at Hip Hop “93.3 The Beat” WJBT in Jacksonville after 7 1/2 years. Wizkidd also hosted weekends on “95.7 The Beat” WBTP Tampa and “97.9 Kiss-FM” WKSL Jacksonville and filled in at the national format center.

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On November 18, 2020, Bobby Brown Jr died. He was 28 years old. “Bobby Brown Jr. was not feeling well a couple days before his death, with flu-like symptoms. This is a tragic loss and we will  be letting the authorities conduct their investigation of his death.” Said Christopher Brown, Esq. of Brown & Rosen LLC, counsel to Bobby Brown. “Please keep my family in your prayers at this time. Losing my son at this point in our lives has devastated my family. There are no words to explain the pain.” Said Bobby Brown. “We ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time and there will be no further comments.” Said Attorney Brown.

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RCA Records is #1 again! BMG has secured the #2 final rank for the R&B Adult/Urban AC radio format for 2020! A two-position increase from our #4 rank for 2019!

RCA captures #1 R&B Label for a second straight year! BMG earned a 12.2 final chart share in 2020 gaining from #4 last year to #2 behind only RCA. outranking several major labels.

It’s a strong statement for BMG this year in line with their commitment to the music and their client/partners as well as providing great visibility for BMG within the artist/management community.

2020 saw a steady increase since February and BMG is positioned for a great start for 2021 with projects & singles from Keyshia Cole, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Anthony Hamilton, Ledisi and more on the way.

SVP of Repertoire & Marketing Tim Reid is getting exceptional support from music exec and promotions guru Ken Wilson who has been an intergral part of executing the strategy at R&B radio with consistent chart-topping successes for BMG’s roster.

2020 FINAL R&B Adult/Urban AC MEDIABASE Chart Share
2/8/20
4/4/20
5/9/20
8/8/20
9/19/20
10/10/20
Final
Urban AC
2/8/20
4/4/20
5/9/20
8/8/20
9/19/20
10/10/20
Final
Rank
Rank
Rank
Rank
Rank
Rank
Rank
Label
Rank
Rank
Share
Share
Share
Share
Share
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
RCA
18.9
18.4
19.3
18.5
17.8
17.6
17.7
4
2
2
2
2
2
2
BMG
7.1
9.2
9.6
10.8
11.9
12.3
12.2
9
10
10
4
4
4
3
Capitol
3.5
4.3
4.5
6.9
7.8
8.5
9.5
5
4
4
3
3
3
4
Republic
6.5
7.6
7.7
9.0
9.2
9.1
9.2
2
3
3
6
5
5
5
Atlantic
10.3
9.1
8.1
6.2
6.2
6.2
6.2
6
6
5
5
6
6
6
Roc Nation
6.0
7.1
6.9
6.3
6.0
5.9
5.9
10
9
8
7
7
7
7
Warner
3.5
4.9
5.2
5.2
5.1
5.0
4.9
7
8
7
9
8
8
8
Perspective
4.7
5.1
5.3
4.4
4.2
4.1
4.0
7
9
10
10
9
9
eOne
5.8
4.8
4.4
4.0
4.0
3.9
3
5
6
8
9
10
10
HITCO
9.9
7.5
6.1
4.5
4.0
3.7
3.5
17
14
11
11
11
11
Interscope
1.2
1.8
3.3
3.5
3.4
3.3
12
13
12
12
12
12
12
Columbia
1.9
2.4
2.6
2.9
3.0
3.0
3.1
15
13
13
13
Epic
1.7
2.2
2.6
3.0
11
11
11
13
14
14
14
EMPIRE
3.1
3.1
2.9
2.1
1.9
1.8
1.6
14
15
15
15
300
1.9
1.7
1.7
1.6
17
16
16
16
MoCha
1.3
1.6
1.5
1.4
17
17
17
SoNo
1.4
1.4
1.4
8
12
13
16
18
18
18
Kalvary
4.0
2.7
2.2
1.5
1.3
1.2
1.1
Editor’s Note: How does BMG do it? One of the top R&B labels in 2020 -it seems very much like  Tim Reid and Ken Wilson along with dedicated team members and great music is why. Tim is a marketing master! Ken, and his independent team of promotion consultants, kick ass!  Congratulations to Tim and Ken on the success they have delivered for BMG Music!
Kevin Fleming
The Urban Buzz

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Alexx Daye “Long Time Dreams”

Alex Daye

New Music from Alexx Daye

“Long Time Dreams”

#4 Most Added This Week at Mediabase!
#3 Most Added This Week at Billboard!

New at:

WMJM-Louisville, WWDM-Columbia, WMPZ-Chattanooga,

WROU-Dayton, WTLZ-Saginaw, WTTH-Atlantic City,

KDKS-Shreveport, WJFX-Ft. Wayne, WJUC-Toledo, WKXI-Jackson,

Contact: Marv Mack at marvmack@topnotchpromo.com

                             

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SinbadStand-up comedian Sinbad is recovering from a recent stroke, his family told Variety in a statement on Monday morning.

“It is out of sincere love that we share Sinbad, our beloved husband and father, is recovering from a recent stroke,” his family said in a statement. “Sinbad is a light source of love and joy for many generations. While he is beginning his road to recovery, we are faithful and optimistic that he will bring laughter into our hearts soon. Our family thanks you in advance for your love and support and ask for continued prayers for his healing. We also ask that you please respect our privacy during this time.’ Thank you.”

The 64-year-old comedian, whose real name is David Adkins, rose to fame with several HBO comedy specials in the early 1990s. He starred in “The Sinbad Show” on Fox from 1993-1994 and played Coach Walter Oakes on “A Different World,” a spin-off of “The Cosby Show” that ran on NBC from 1987 to 1993 for six seasons. The show also starred Lisa Bonet, Marisa Tomei, Jada Pinkett Smith, Dawn Lewis and Jasmine Guy throughout its run. Read more in Variety.

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