sucessfully selling that station and residing there for three years, he than put in an award winning performance approximately increasing sales from $178,000 to $257,000 annually as an Advertising Account Executive for the BRIDGEWATER COURIER/USA TODAY, Gannett Communication's 2nd largest newspaper located in Central New Jersey. Sims was born and raised in New Jersey, but he began his radio career in Houston and sold newspaper advertising in the 70's for THE VOICE OF HOPE and THE INFORMER & THE FREEMAN NEWSPAPER, the nation's second oldest black newspaper, both in Houston, TX at the time. "Houston was very good to me," he fondly recalls seeing the city for the first time in the late 60's while he was still a soldier, "it was and still is a very progressive city to me." Sims has also published three start up newspapers for his clients, including the RUSTBURG VILLAGER in Rustburg, VA, and he has "pinched hit" dozen of issues for several other publications, including a brief stint as a Reporter/Photographer for the FLORIDA STAR in Jacksonville.
"The Original Saturday Morrning In Soulsville Crew"
In the "Sixties and the Seventies, as every "frustrated black business person who was ahead of the game knew that Marcus was right; and that Malcolm was right, and in attempting to communicate through mass-media in an effort to grow their businesses collectively (i.e., various Chambers of Commerce), comparatively too few have succeeded, and although there are exceptions there are not enough. Generally the black community is behind, but it shouldn't have been that far behind. "Some blacks are worst than "white" racist," Sims added, "when it comes to retarding the power of economic growth in the black community." This impact is and continues to be a generational phenomena that's not told.
Sims in his 260 page manuscript entitled, PROGRAMMING TO ALBUM ORIENTED BLACK ADULTS-AOBA written over 23 years ago, discussed the psychological impact of music before radio communications was a factor in a chapter called ‘Musiconomics.’ Basically, without the music of our enslaved forefathers there wouldn’t have been the America (i.e., the U.S.) as we now know it. Yet there are so many forces that still want to keep dispossessing Black America of her fruits and keep the Black community dumbed down. In the Forties blacks owned media properties, in the fifties and sixties they owned media properties. But in the seventies, eighties and nineties they started losing properties. The gains they made have been reversed. Sims says failing to have reach out and enlighten the black business community when solidarity was firmly in control is one reason. Pimping was another. Now 'Media' once Black owned is now owned by large corporations. It's enough to make this writer wonder how much was about race, and how much of it had been about black elitist isolation or views. From a historical perspective it wouldn't be the first time selling out a class of people or pimped was perpetrated for personal gain?
WHY SHOULDN'T WE GET PAID, TOO...?
Today, if we digress just a bit, this dynamic may be slightly different but viewed in the same manner being "cheated" now grips other social classes (like those affected by the aftermath of the housing bubble collapsing). But to be fair and 'to be weary,' and put things into proper perspective, since this is a class struggle too, it chronically affects and undermines the value of black communities. How much of an economic factor would the royalties have been if Harry Burleigh's estate, or family owned the copyright to his melody? Astronomical...!! I just wish I had the copyright to the "Electric Slide." Needless to say, music as a social force has a strong economic impact on every aspect of our lives, during War and during Peace. It ascends above race, class and politics, and Soul music, as it defines America has more clout than any other genre. It generates enormous amounts of financial returns (just ask Sony, from stuff “Made in Japan bought on “EZ Credit Terms in the 60’s, black America reportedly, was once equivalent to the sixth largest economy in the world,” to now, grabbing up as much of the rights to our music as they can. Culture follows that equation and much of that music was part is our culture identity. I think they call that an oligarchy.
"LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY...!!!"
Since 1996 Soulsville's has aired and archived hundreds of hours of 'Soulsville Programming' averaging more than 200 hours of shows annually on stations WERA, WODI and WNCT collectively. Currently since 2009 Soulsville has logged close to 1600 hours of music programming on WOOW Radio in Greenville NC. Soulsville programming has also been actively involved in numerous community and church projects, city-wide "pride and spirit" projects, music festivals, fund raisers, blood drives, radio-remotes and interviews. Many of these shows have been recorded and are being archived. Commercially it has also included a strong mix of newsprint marketing (i.e., THE TV REVIEW GUIDE_[NJ], THE RUSTBURG VILLAGER and THE WODI SPORTS & NEWS SHOPPER start-ups in Virginia, THE M-VOICE NEWSPAPER, THE CAROLINA CALL, THE CAROLINIAN and his newspaper, AMERICAN SOUL).
Of course Soulsville Radio pales by comparison to the actual years Sims spent working in radio as a "Soul Jock," an Advertising Executive or both (Combo).
He was a "Dee Jay" for the OK Radio Group aka Starr Broadcasting Group (where the conservative commentator and icon William F. Buckley, Jr. served as its Chairman from 1972 to 1979). In the 70's he produced shows at Houston's KYOK and then in Memphis at WLOK. The OK Radio Group aka STARR was a Soul Music powerhouse that dominated major market radio throughout the southeast in the 60's and 70's. He's held down various time slots at Spiedel Broadcaster's, briefly at WTMP in Tampa (his first job) and then he was quickly moved to WOIC Radio Mid-Mornings in Columbia and then to the crucial afternoon drive_time slot at WYNN, their station in Florence, South Carolina. In the 70's, he worked "combo sales" and held down the afternoon drive-time slot at WRHC Radio for the Cohen brothers in Jacksonville, FL and did a second go around in sales when they became WERD Radio. All of these broadcast firms were major market "players" in Soul music programming and broadcasting .
THE DRIVE FROM HOME AND BACK....
As a broadcaster Sims's career has been rich with diversity. As a Dee Jay he has held down morning or afternoon drive time slots in Jacksonville, FL, Florence, SC, Fort Pierce, FL, Beaufort, SC, Plainfield (NYC Metro), NJ, Brookneal (Lynchburg Metro) VA, Tallahassee, FL and Memphis, TN inside radio formats that ranged from Soul Music, Adult Contemporary and Oldies Rock & Roll. He has also worked in Easy Listening (Sudbrink) and MOR (American Standard) music formats. With ownership always being at the forefront of his future goal he tried to learn everything he could.
IT ALL STARTED IN HOUSTON...
In Houston, Sims “Soul Jocked” for KCOH Radio part time before moving solely into a sales position at the ABC O&O Progressive Rock station, KAUM-FM, after Paul White, the Program Director for their sister station KXYZ-AM reviewed a radio programming manuscript Sims had left with him. It led to him to being hired immediately by ABC Radio (KAUM's call letters were more of a phonetic than an acronym and since it was a "Hippie Rock Station" to some listeners who were into transcendental meditation K-A-U-M without the 'K' phonetically is "AUM" like in the Hindu mantra - it was good marketing). KAUM_FM [circa 1972] now KHMX-FM is currently owned and operated by CBS Radio.
While living in Houston where he started studying Broadcast Communications (CAREER ACADEMY), Sims also cultivated a number of close friendships with people like the young Congress Man To Be) Mickey Leland, ("some people thought we were "brothers," he said) who was studying pharmacology at TSU, Charles Freeman (TSU-5), Dwight Allen, Deloyd Parker (SHAPE CENTER-HOUSTON and holder of the Jefferson Award) when they all bonded together as activists in the Black CAT (Black Community Action Team) in Houston in the 60's, Pluria Marshall, Sr. (Operation Bread Basket) when he was a photographer, Barbara Jordan, (THE VOICE OF HOPE NEWSPAPER/Texas State Representative) and community activist/buddy Ovide Duncantell (who also was his landlord) friends, Congressional members, social activists, politicians and other leading civil rights whose close associations influenced his humanitarian goals and views on what part radio should play in the community long before they themselves stepped into the national spotlight themselves. In the 60's, most of these guys were his "running buddies." Sims came out of that activist community in the 60's.
Prior to that he was an on-air GM for WOVV-FM, Fort Pierce, Florida where he worked a "combo" position in sales, management and programming under the direction of Hudson C. Millar. His shift into advertising sales at KAUM came on the heels of President Nixon's signing additional affirmative action regulations into law.
Later returning to Jacksonville, Florida in the mid 70's to continue his education, he enrolled into Jones College's Broadcast Management Program on the GI Bill while working part time as an audio switcher in master control for WJKS-TV during the evening news (Joe Piscapo graduated from there with a degree in Broadcasting in 1973). A year later he became the first Program Director for Tallahassee's new soul station, WANM Radio - a 10,000 Watt “daytimer” and hoped to combine his studies at Florida A&M University at the same time to complete his studies in communications upon being invited to work their by Tallahassee first black Mayor, James R. Ford who was then the General Manager. Ford called him a "brilliant programming technician."
Supporting his belief that the spirit of Soul Music has always been an effective vehicle for commerce and social exchange, Sims, seizing the opportunity to work in key roles in some of the nation’s top broadcast and publishing companies, has been able to implement some of the skills he's gained to develop this medium.
As an Account Executive for the former ABC O&O he was instrumental in developing advertising revenue for one of the Nation's first Progressive Rock stations KAUM/FM-Houston servicing key advertising agencies and landing such accounts as Sears and Foley's Department Stores, Omni Waterbeds, Sharpstown Dodge and Gap Jeans.
John Hare, who later became President of ABC Radio in 1999 was among the many notables Sims enjoyed teaming up with in the past. He would follow through on leads John gave him. Together, as account executives, they both sold ABC Spot Radio. In looking back on his career, Sims mused that he felt like the “Forrest Gump” of Radio because his broadcast experiences have been so varied. The late and "great" Hal Jackson (also co-owner of WBLS and founder of the Ms. Black America Beauty Pageant), Steele Colony, Herman Amis (Oxford, NC native), Charlie Green and Rick (straw vote) Roberts of WNJR, WBLS and KYOK , respectively were also among his contemporaries.
Following that, as the Program Director for KTSU-FM, Sims worked tirelessly with popular Newsman, Ed Shannon assisting him in his duties as General Manager transforming and getting Texas Southern University's 10 watt FM upgraded into the 18,000 watt NPR powerhouse (Ed would tease him about writing the book on radio). In April 1981 he flipped on the switch of the ‘new’ KTSU-now Choice 90.9 FM. It’s been on ever since.
Sims has also held down positions as an Account Executive for the former Rollins Radio Group's WNJR-Newark/NYC; their soul music power house. Prior to returning to school to continue his studies in broadcasting Jones College in Jacksonville, he sold radio advertising for WPDQ in Jacksonville, Florida.
During the mid 80’s, Sims spent 3 years working weekends on the air and in ad sales during the week at Langford Broadcasting’s 100KW regional powerhouse KTIZ-FM (now KZMZ) in Alexandria, Louisiana. As Jherzi Rhedd-DJ Abitron surveyed him as being the "most listened too" Radio DJ in the region lapping the nearest competition several times over. Other DJ ratings didn't even come close. Music requests flooded into the studio from Nacogdoches, Texas to Natchez, Mississippi.
Later, from 1986 to 1987 as a Advertising Account Executive for central New Jersey's Gannett-owned Courier Newspaper he was intimately involved with the start up project for USA Today Newspaper and was awarded several times for his efforts.
In I989, becoming the General Partner of Darien Associates, Sims set out to build a FM station and petitioned the FCC for a Class C-2, 50,000 watt facility in Brunswick, Georgia. Driving forward, out of a field of 13 applicants, he was one of the final three applicants left to the scrutiny of the FCC prior to them awarding the application to Stewart Broadcasting of Brunswick, Georgia after they met their stringent financial requirements. During that time he sold advertising for WEAS-FM in Savannah, Georgia.
Much of the Soulsville Radio Concept in marketing and programming is deeply rooted in those efforts and grew out of studies developed during the petitioning process. He also became intimately familiar with Commission's early history, its rules, regulations and laws involved in putting radio stations on the air. Those efforts compounded by marital and domestic left him financially exhausted. He said it felt like a high stakes poker game.
Prior to those developments, as the owner and founder of Advertising Management Services-AMS Productions in Houston, Texas from 1976 to 1983, Sims operated a small advertising and production agency that specialized in providing upscale clubs with state of the art disco sound equipment and radio advertising programs throughout the Houston metros. Some of the clubs he consulted included Houston's most posh and popular discos like the New Yorker, Lord Jim's, Papa Feelgoods, Escapade Red Room, Silky Slim's, The Fox Trappe, the Red Rooster and ranged in a venue of music from —MC'ing Rock & Roll dance clubs to Soul discos. His agency not only provided retail stores disco music for sidewalk sales, he also provided disco entertainment and equipment to venues ranging from the Astro-World to the Galleria for shows, civic associations, fraternities and sororities, colleges, weddings, lounges and an array of nightclubs and lounges highlighted by a number of Gypsy Wedding parties and music concerts entertaining hundreds of people at a time. As a Graphic Artist, his services were also in demand.
Sims, computer literate since the late 80's has also endeavored to become more familiar with other computer technology, learning how to build them, upgrade them and apply that knowledge to collect and assimilate information vital for everyday business use and broadcast applications.In addition to working on, and developing his Soul music programming concepts: i.e., Soulsville (which is now more entertainment news oriented), American Soul and currently Saturday Morning in Soulsville, newsprint marketing and website development are also being actively converged together with future interest focused on WebTV, Podcasting and Streaming to be incorporated into his efforts. Plans are already off the “Drawing Board.” Sims has been focused on value-added advertising and marketing concepts since the mid Seventies. Two website domains has currently been reserved for this purpose: www.AMERICANSOUL.US and www.SOULSVILLEGROUP.COM.
Plans for developing Intranet service for his perspective clientsand Ecommerce websites are also on the drawing board and will be developed for music programming and publishing activities. All of these activities will center on Soul music programming.
Despite several periods when Soulsville was in hiatus, Sims says Soulsville programming is a Crusade too, and has continued to develop and evolve, creating and standardizing playlists and blending a format of Album Oriented Black Adult (AOBA) soul music standards mixing it with contemporary Soul Music artists, "It’s R&D, especially in the areas of playlist development and continuity." Sims's large music library supports his BASS programming concept very well.
He says that in essence, Soulsville represents the continuum of "SOUL MUSIC" development as a programming concept and approaches this body of music as it would, or should or had continued to developed if it's "time lines" weren't refracted by, but not halted by the commercial influences of Urban, Rap and Hip Hop Music programming.
Through all of these combined experiences; selling, marketing, and programming, his eye has been focused on AMERICAN SOUL as an effective programming concept for the 21st Century.
It appears that he is borrowing a "page" from Al Hamm's play Book, 'The Music of Your Life.' He claims to have had a lengthy conversation with him when he first embarked on his journey as the General Partner of Darien Associates in pursuit of constructing a 50 thousand watt FM radio station to serve Brunswick, GA in 1987. Fundlementally his approach, American Soul; is similar to the 'Music of Your Life' programming but is skewed towards "soul music artist" as well as showcasing a selected group of contemporary soul music artists as it basic foundation. It's certain that there are other crusaders out there who also feel the same way. "I’m still a fan of his programming concepts," Sims added.
Soulsville Group Communication itself represents more the 5 decades of soul music programming. He likes to think of his effort as the "Heartbeat of Soul Music Communications." He still believes that Radio is the Heartbeat of America.
Jerzhi Rhedd aka Softjamms - Dee Jay
That's no different than the goals of any other normal radio station. In the past radio in itself was nothing but "content," pure content, and now in a era where content is once again is king, those items matter to black listeners even more. And that is the reason why there has been, to say the least, a collusion by conservative forces within the broadcast industry; the Fifth Estate, who, since the dawn of the civil rights movement have been determined to shut down or shun black broadcasters by silencing the Voices of Soul Music, ridiculing or hounding them anyway they could. Why…? Because Soul Radio reinforced and unified black communities across the nation in the ways cited above. It reinforced solidarity among them and shielded them from unwarranted attacks promoted by bias conversations. It gave Black American communities across the nation, the same well defined parameters, the same sanctuaries and the same retreats other special communities enjoyed. They're still an active sphere of influence in the broadcast industry and a strong one, especially in the age of the internet. But newsprint still plays a strong and a hidden influence in optimizing internet communities.
By contrast, Sims stated that Soul music as a industry didn't focus on promoting a culture of excess, sloth or violence which "the big money" on Wall Street now loves to "bankroll" while at the same time inundating black communities with explicit lyrics and vulgarity as if were a “norm,” He said, "Now it's a travesty. Our kids are literally cussin’ us and we’re almost powerless to fight back. That kind of behavior was unthinkable when I was growing up." He further went on to say that many Rap artist and others of Hip-Hop’s contemporaries comment that “Rap” neither promotes a strong sense of conscientiousness or morality and that the trauma it has introduced into the nation’s black communities is unprecedented. So is dope. “We're not harmonizing on street corners to love songs, and we are not hearing from James Brown narrating in his 1974 double album release called "HELL" narrating about the dangers of heroin addiction in a monologue called 'KING HEROIN.' In 2015 the irony is Heroin once again has become a danger to our communities and "James Brown ain't around no more," Sims added. But with a softer, broader view he stated that as a art form, there are still many exceptions attesting to the legitimacy of this music once if you can get pass the "hype." But the only thing you ever hear is "Gangsta Rap." Or "contemporary" Gospel.
Much of James Brown's soul music was message oriented which was one of the reasons he was was motivated to purchase radio stations. As a matter of fact when you count them up WEBB in Baltimore, WERD in Augusta and WGYW in Knoxville it also makes him the first black group owner in the country. Back then the FCC only permitted you to own 7 AM stations. The ownership of radio station is chronically lacking in the black community. When you do view the development of radio programming for black adults or for the black community as a whole, there isn't any paradigm reflecting the many styles of black recorded music that could be manifested as different black radio formats. Gone are the WBLS's 'Frankie Crockers' in New York or the KYOK's 'Rick Roberts' in Houston. These were great communicators in the board rooms and behind the mics.
GONE AND NEARLY FORGOTTEN....
Now is little sense of any autonomy. That has evaporated. Black radio especially with technology at hand is more than ever approached in a monolithic sense and lumped into one format - Urban and consolidated via satellite syndication, into the hands of a few. Seldom do you hear programming supporting such prolific icons like "a" Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Count Basie, Duke Ellington and the "like." It’s not that they don't, it’s that they won't fit these cultural icons into any kind of consistent urban programming. Those legacies reflectively are never supported and subsequently abandon listeners to a cultural vacuum coping with the dichotomy of the few choices that remain. From a selling perspective he finds that Gospel programming itself is restrictively one-sided, fragmented programmatically and too preferential to promote any strong advertising communications that may cover wider range of secular goods and services, some of them being very essential and that Hip-Hop won’t promote the fruits of a positive spirit or moral sensitivity in term of consumerism.
The dynamics of Soul Music programming, especially when it is “content rich” extends well beyond those restrictions and profits from doing both. It still is an effective vehicle that can actively promote healthy economic and social interactions.
In communities where Soulsville Group Communications has its origins (i.e., in Plainfield, NJ/NYC Metro and additionally servicing audiences in Brookneal/Lynchburg, VA, and Greenville, NC) its broadcast services has been substantiated by ARBITRON has been embraced by its listening audiences and has successfully moved goods and services for its core advertising support which always remained consistent and stable.
NEWSPAPER & NEWSPRINT PUBLISHING & MARKETING IS STILL A FORCE IN MEDIA...
"If you know what to do and wanna do it... LET"S DO IT!"
SOUL FROM SEOUL.... ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE"
"Soul Music Didn't Play Out... It Was Forced Out... And Sold Out"
It’s also easy to see that soul music’s impact on commerce is far more influential than just selling records. In South Korea, whom the U-S has globalized (in the 60's, Sims was stationed at a missile tact site on the DMZ where he began to study Korean), heavily R&B influenced "K-POP" is a major export worldwide and it's 'regulated as a commodity meaning it has an economic impact on South Korea.' Soul Music from Seoul. It fits into their lifestyles, along with Mozart. According to TIME magazine, K-Pop grossed US3.4 billion dollars in the first 6 months of 2012 recognizing it as one of South Korea's greatest global exports. That's seven billion dollars (0.75% GDP) annually. Of course there are also cell phones, cars, electronics, heavy equipment, ships and oh..., wigs, too... worldwide; somebody's asleep and I think its our 5th Estate (though academia may want to label the internet as the Fifth Estate, without Radio or TV socializing it there would be no internet).
But wait, isn't America's soul music a part of our national heritage... right? The worldwide impact of America's soul music has been the very foundation for developing and promoting our way of life, and commerce for tens of decades beginning in the fields of the Deep South where the ancestors of our modern day Black American psyche spilled their life, sweat and blood "toiling" as Malcolm X said in his autobiography, “from can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night” in fields of tobacco, rice and cotton. Especially cotton… “KING COTTON and free labor.” This one commodity alone was setting the stage for the 20th Century’s largest and most productive economy the world was yet to see (it was about clothing, fashion, accessories, etc.).
Was cotton the only catalyst...? No...! It was also the strengths of this music echoing from those cotton fields in "calls" and "chants" and in melodies that was energizing the engines of economic growth in America. It was this singing and these rhythms that were being captured and immortalized into musical compositions by composers like Czech born Antonín Dvořák, or Stephen Foster, or one of America's famous Black Composers of the period, Harry Burleigh who composed "Deep River." This melody was just a sampling of his musical interests influenced by his "Town Crier/Lamplighter" grandfather who as a slave had "bought his own freedom," [African-American Rebellion] but the irony is and not surprisingly, the Burleigh estate didn't share in the copyrights to his song which is stilled performed worldwide. In 1917 the copyrights to "Deep River" was claimed by the Ed G. Ricordi & Co. Inc. It has since then become part of the Public Domain. Nonetheless, 'American Soul Music' was there defining what the United States was becoming on a worldwide stage. In 1940 actor, Paul Robeson's deep rich baritone rumbled over the "souls" of white "folks" as well as in homes throughout black America when he sang "Deep River" in a movie he was starring in called "The Proud Valley."
Thus the multi-talented Sims was also focusing on musical influences he felt that served as backdrops to what Professor Edward Baptist who teaches an economics at Cornell University focused on in his book, “Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.” It's about how slaves who made up one third of the country's population transformed America into the largest economy the world has ever seen. This growth, fueled by the cotton industry was not only fueled just by "free" labor, but also by corresponding black rhythms and melodies. The faster black folk picked cotton the faster the economy grew and the further west it extended. Black folks were still picking cotton when white folks were building radio stations.
IF RELATIVITY AND PARITY WERE THE SAME THING BLACK MEDIA WOULDN'T BE FAR BEHIND
Parity in the broadcasting business or the press is another story, but the faults aren't entirely white folks and that should be clear. That's another story too. In short, black owned media, although embedded within "nests of racism" failed, because of a lack of vision to mobilize the black business community at large into a self contained economic force, and that's a story that should be told. But in essence, Sims says, "first, black media taught us to "SMOKE KOOL" (cigarettes), and now is hollerin' because they're not profiting from advertising dollars spent by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to discourage smoking when they should have never encouraged it in the first place. It's like Cheney blaming Obama for the mess Iraq is in." He also said, "and don't ask me where the profits went, if they care about their listeners or readers now they should do it for "free," and added that while they are at it they should address the health hazzards of smoking 'Loosies' especially during "flu season, Ebola is a virus too." Smoking represents deep seated anxities and thats where the story really begins. Disillusioned he added, "they were too self-absorbed and in many cases too short sighted to even respond to their own opportunities. And the problem is as a whole they never learned." Sims has had plenty of experience with black owned media, too.
THE BEGINNINGS OF SOULSVILLE
RADIO PROGRAMMING... 1996
Guy Sims, Dee Jay
"An Elevator Ride To The Top." The drive from his 3rd ward apartment to work was a short one through tree lined streets pass the Oilers training field. From the distance, the top of the Fannin Bank would always break into view above the tree tops. Along his way, Sims has also acquired a massive amount of selling, marketing and PR experience. Through the mediums of Radio, Newspaper, Cable TV, Magazines and Direct Mail he has managed hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising sales. In newspaper sales in the year which followed leaving KTIZ Radio in Alexandria, Louisiana after
Photo: Gaius Sims - Courier News/USA Today, Bridgewater, NJ Circa: 1987
THE FUNK SYMPHONY DISCO ~ HOUSTON 1976
Here in Eastern North Carolina where his grandfather (pictured above), Dr. Oliver Carter was among of the first wave of "Negro" Agricultural Farm Agents (Hampton & NC A&T) to work for the state and his grandmother (nee Carrie E. Patillo, Shaw Univ.) was an educator earlier in the 20th Century; the black owned gospel radio station is rapidly vanishing here at a alarming rate. Of the 15 black own stations that were on the air two years ago , ten of them are gone one way or another. All of them were gospel formatted stations and not counting the "leased frequencies" i.e., CTC Media's WECU-AM and Connor Media's "The Promise WLGT-FM," makes up 11 and 12 "black" gospel stations that have "bit the dust" in Eastern Carolina, east of I-95 in just within three years. Gospel formats here don't work because they are fragmented by block programming and poor management compounded by cronyism and a lack of concern for content. The black business community is poorly supported, poorly developed and poorly led. This has always been a problem and that contributes to shrinking revenue and then shrinking productivity that further weakens the position of black radio (see PEW REPORT on Black Media click here or the title above). Obviously, the approach to radio programming is myopic and you can't do that in black radio... there's not enough stations. When the easy money from church dries up, selling out might be the only alternative, but it fits the pattern. In the new paradigm, the digital age, black consumers use double the amount of smart phone communication services them white consumers.... why? Searching for content...
"REAL SOUL... THERE ARE MESSAGES IN OUR MUSIC"
Soul Music programming has never had that problem. It had "enemies" instead. Enemies that didn't want America's black communities empowered through effective broadcast communications via "soul music radio." Why? Because in the past, before it was hi-jacked, the vitality of Soul music radio that promoted a strong sense of "SOLIDARITY," along with political awareness, educational achievement, a strong sense of morality, of career directions and goals, a strong sense of community, a sense of humor and entertainment, of brotherhood and patriotism, and a "understanding of personal growth, development and finesse," a sense of commerce, of scientific and technological development and those things that matter to a maturing black community and the moral directions of our country. Thus the demand for content has always been present. It wasn't all nonsense. They certainly don't want to be intellectually isolated, that results in negative consequences. The heart and soul of America's black communities want to be informed and enlightened, thus content has always been King (depending on which influences are in control). Ultimately, it's something you have to work at. Missing anything? Oh yes, a sense of fair play, and equality.
GREENVILLE, NC [Note: "Green" Weblinks] - It was a about 10 years ago when WNCT-AM, a ten thousand watt radio station dropped its 24 hour Spanish format; LA FAVORITA and replace it with a talk format. Just three years before that, "La Favorita" had displaced SOULSVILLE which was a weekly 4 hour R&B music program produced by Gaius 'Guy' Sims, Sr. on Saturday mornings. Then it seemed that the Hispanic population needed to maintain their longevity on WNCT just wasn't in place yet. Today that's a different story, they have the population and they also have their choice of stations to listen too. It also corresponds with a dramatic shift in industry from agriculture and textiles to more of a mix of academic, health, communication, pharmaceuticals, light industry and service sectors. Occupational demands are shifting as well, and some folks are getting left behind.
After that, WNCT chose a conservative Talk Radio format and began broadcasting in High Definition (HD). It also increased its daytime power to 50,000 watts with 10,000 watts at night. They enhanced their operation with four healthy FM translators located throughout Eastern North Carolina (Map). It also began streaming worldwide on the internet. In terms of power, it became a super station. Now-a-days WNCT-AM, their former Spanish/Talk-News station, is BEACH, BOOGIE & BLUES.
Now that's a potent mix... "BUT," Sims was too inject, "It's not rocket science. If you have the money you can do those kinds of things. You can even have automation "babysit" your equipment." Content aka creativity is another story he adding that, "I'm proactive, I do rocket science. I've been putting together programming, marketing and music concepts mixed with 'technology' for better than two decades," and then Sims who currently produces SOULSVILLE on WOOW Radio went on to say, "their audience is still porous and they keep adding soul music to their playlist to fill in the "holes." They want the milk but they don't want the cow. This kind of deprivation is called 'cultural appropriation' and it's rampant industry wide. Inclusion and autonomy would be more of an appropriate phenomenon."
Regarding technology he went on to say, "My 2nd computer was an AMSTRAD, a CPM DOS machine. I used that to develop the foundation for list processing of my music library and develop relevant and interactive programming themes." Broadcasting has been a 40 year crusade for Sims and maybe a odyssey. At that juncture he said his program on WNCT Radio was a continuing effort to develop his vision. Black consumers here, as they have in the past, still make up significant portions of Eastern North Carolina's population and in-migration from "Up North" is an additional factor that makes the black population even more dynamic and affluent. "I have ideas," he said, "I just don't have that kind of money."
Sims also said his effort is no mere matter of just playing music every weekend. He says his approach is, "academic and scholarly," and his initial experiences in a ABC Radio selling environment was a whirlwind of illumination. Soulsville has grown. Over the years he has archived thousands of hours of programming to refer back to, a large music library and database, numerous essays and manuscripts, promotional and marketing ideas and materials, technical know how, industry-related software, a large and ever growing library of books, with many of them focusing on one phase or another of the music and broadcast industry. He's spent a lot of time and they spend a-lot-of-money. "But we both invested something here," he added.
In essence WNCT did spend a 'bunch' of money on their technology and WNCT is a Beasley Broadcast station. If you are an industry watcher, it is rapidly acquiring broadcast properties. He mentioned that one of the goals he is driven by in life, "is to still be a good radio man."
Sims is the founder of SOULSVILLE GROUP COMMUNICATIONS and the creator of the "American Soul Programming Concept" which he has also coined the "BASS MUSIC FORMAT" meaning 'Black Adult Soul Standards' or 'Black American Soul Standards.' He first debut Soulsville in 1996 on WERA RADIO (NYC METRO) in Plainfield, NJ and has since then presented numerous programming themes to listeners in Brookneal-Lynchburg, VA on (WODI-AM) and on several stations in Greenville, NC. Despising the term "Urban," he incorporates "black" because he says, "despite the debate, the foundations of our country rest metaphorically upon the concepts of blackness and whiteness ranging from the colors of our skin to the shades of our politics. "One term works just as well as the other because some white folk like black music and blacks like country. I like it all... well almost," he says.
Nonetheless, as the producer of SOULSVILLE, Gaius Sims, Sr., who has been active in the media industry since 1968 continues to develop Soulsville Programming concepts in numerous ways. He firmly believes that 'soul music and it's genres was and still are "commodities" that are the ideal vehicles for stimulating commerce and socio-economic development... especially within, as the term goes, underserved "African American" communities.
TOO MUCH SYNDICATION... TOO FEW LOCAL ANNOUNCERS OR BROADCASTERS
Every Friday evening, since 2010, that programming effort is still pursued at WOOW Radio in Greenville, North Carolina. Beginning at 6 PM he launches his automated program called OVERNIGHT IN SOULSVILLE and then on Saturday morning beginning at 8 AM until 12 AM, he produces a live program called SATURDAY MORNINGS IN SOULSVILLE where he plays album cuts and Classic Soul. Although he only programs 18 hours of continuous soul music weekly he strongly feels that America's soul music genres aren't getting the proper respect and exposures it deserves. They're important genres he stressed saying, "Progressive Rock," a music format he sold advertising for while working for ABC FM in Houston, "is now called Classic Rock." He further added, "Those genres evolved. That's back when ABC FM went out of its way to identify, document and support their Progressive Rock audiences with their 7 FMs nationwide; referring to them as their 'Long Hair Freak Market - aka, Hippies.' That was their core audience. Comparatively, Rock music with all it hues and shades has been allowed to gain in importance. That same listening audience is still bonded together by the same music they listen too when they were young. Occasionally I enjoy listening to so-called Classic Rock myself," adding that America's Soul Music needs its own radio forums to culturally express itself, not the same old Top 40 Soul music you can hear everywhere.
Soul music also has core audiences, audiences that have yet to gain their importance according to Sims. He went on to say that there is a tendency for everyone else to define soul music but them. Blacks are faced with programming cliches and seldom have the option to define themselves. Those ramifications are felt everywhere because music plays a vital role of our lives. You don't have to be a neuroscientist to grasp this. I can assure you that Manuel Noriega abhors loud Rock Music. Nonetheless, more than twenty years ago Sims, being something of a social scientist himself, begin referring to our indigenous core black audiences as ESBAs - meaning English Speaking Black Americans. "Have Mercy...!"