Black influences chat with Cox Media Execs about optics & more
About what appeared to be a mass exodus of Black personalities from Cox Media, specifically 99 JAMZ and HOT 105, I wrote an On the Scene article entitled Black Talent at White Owned Urban Stations Must Consider the Economics. I alluded to an absence of Black people in management positions at COX Media, Blacks being disposable at COX Media, and I even questioned COX Media’s level of giveback to not just “urban” communities but Black communities. Between my article, social media backlash and commentary from radio industry insiders, a meeting of the minds became vitally necessary. JNMG CEO Jimmy Nickerson took the lead on organizing a conversation to address optics, Black management positions and how Black community Influencers can develop a working relationship with station management (not just personalities). Present at the table were: Jimmy Nickerson – Community Outreach/PR/Marketing; Dexter Bridgeman, Black Owned Media Alliance/MIA Magazine; Yvette Harris, PR Firm; Clayton Guzmore, South Florida Black Journalists Association/Miami Times; Tangela Sears, Community Advocate (Parents for Murdered Kids); Christopher Benjamin – Attorney; Crystal Chanel – Marketing/Westside Gazette Contributor (that’s me yall); and Bobby Henry, Publisher/CEO, Westside Gazette.
At this time, on behalf of the names mentioned above and our community, I would like to thank COX Media Management for meeting with us. Their willingness to allow us a seat at the table to discuss what could be perceived as racial and/or economic inequality is to be applauded. On behalf of COX, present at the meeting were: Radio Legend/Consultant Jerry Rushin, General Manager Ralph Renzi, Director of Operations Jill Strada, Director of Branding and Programming Phil Michaels-Trueba, Angela Perry and Community Development Liaison Lindsey (Maestro) Powell.
General Manager Renzi opened the meeting by stating that although he may be classified as a minority in some regards, as an Italian male, in a conversation with a Black mom, he realized he could never relate to the lack of trust that Black Mothers of sons often have for police in their communities. He followed that statement with a request for forgiveness for any unintentional ignorance and asked that we move forward understanding that he would like to rely on us for insight on how to effectively address Black issues and concerns.
In a no holds barred conversations, we asked questions like: (1) Who is the voice of the Black community at COX, (2) Why aren’t radio personalities like Shelby Rushin or Rodney Baltimore at this meeting, (3) Which Black vendors is COX Media doing business with, (4) How do we effectively communicate with COX management and (5) Are Blacks getting more than just crumbs as it relates to media coverage, opportunities and dollars?
Despite being faced with difficult questions, COX Management took notes with diligence, optimism and determination. We discussed concepts like partnerships, inclusion, and future collaborations. We even had an opportunity to pray, laugh, take selfies and hug. There was love in the room, and at the request of COX management, we are scheduled to meet monthly to further develop these relationships amongst COX Media, Black own-ed media, Black influencers, and the communities we collectively serve. To have your related concerns addressed, please email me, and On the Scene will have more as this story develops.
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