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“Kim’s spirit and passion for artists and their music helped ignite everyone at the magazine and everyone in the industry."
—-Lenny Beer, HITS Editor in Chief

KIM HUGHES REMEMBERED

Longtime Crossover Promotion Exec and HITS Editor Passes Away at 52
Longtime Rhythm and Crossover Promotion Executive Kim Hughes passed away in her Malibu home Saturday night (1/5) from a massive heart attack at the age of 52.

Hughes joined HITS magazine in 2003 as Crossover Editor, writing her weekly HITS-Ma-Hustle column, coining her own language and unique style in the process.

Hughes began her music industry career in the programming department with Keith Naftaly and Hosh Gureli at San Francisco’s groundbreaking hip-hop station KMEL before being named a San Francisco local for Butch Waugh and Skip Bishop at RCA Records, ultimately rising to Head of Crossover Promotion for the label.

After leaving KMEL for RCA, she urged Naftaly to throw his hat in the ring to become PD at the station, an incident recounted in Dan Charnas’ book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. When Naftaly expressed reluctance, insisting he was happy working on the music end of things, Hughes was quoted as telling him, “I’m giving you an assignment. Go home and jot down every reason that you should become Program Director, starting with you don’t want anyone questioning your music decisions.” Naftaly went on to become KMEL PD in June 1987.

At RCA, Hughes was credited with discovering and helping break the Macarena dance craze. She then segued to Steve Rifkind’s Loud Records as VP Crossover, followed by a stint in the same post at Trauma Records.

Hughes was born in Whittier, CA, and attended UC Santa Cruz, where she majored in journalism.  A huge fan of hip-hop, Kim had her finger on the pulse of Crossover radio, a skill that she put to good use as HITS Crossover Editor.

Said HITS Editor in Chief Lenny Beer: “Kim’s spirit and passion for artists and their music helped ignite everyone at the magazine and everyone in the industry.  There was simply no more passionate person in the business.  When she believed, you just had to believe with her. We miss her today, and we will miss her every day after. All her friends join us in mourning her passing and in remembering her always.”

 

Commented longtime friend and colleague Michelle Santosuosso: "Kim was all heart. Passionate about her work, loving to her friends and a fierce defender of everything (and everyone) she believed in. Her life and times were crazy, but she always approached them with humor and humility. I'm heartbroken, but know that she is in peace."


 

"Kim was one of the most dynamic and entertaining people on the Planet," declared Skip Bishop of his former colleague. "Her drive, spirit, wacky humor and loving soul made her a music-promotion one-woman wrecking ball. She never allowed anyone to lose touch with her--she was fiercely loyal. I can't believe someone so alive can be gone. We'll all miss her so much!"

 

Added Anthony “Antdog” Quiroz: "Damn man, over 11 years ago, when I became PD of U92, one of my first visits was with Kimberly Hughes. I can't believe she is gone!!! RIP, friend. I know you're talking about records in the sky with Rudy Ramos."

 

Shady Spencer said: "I am going to miss our weekly talks. It's a sad day in the radio world."

Alex Cosper said:  "Thanks for the wonderful spirit, Kim ... You were among the most authentic and caring people in the music industry that I had the pleasure of knowing."

Steve Wall remembered her as "a huge spirit [with] a higher calling. She is at peace and one with all of us. She will always be rembered as the life of every room she entered."

Bruce Reiner said: "God has a new angel. Kim was an amazing person. May peace be with all her family and friends during this time."

A date for a memorial will be announced shortly.

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