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SHOWDOWN AT THE
RADIO ONE CORRAL
Chain Sticks to Its Guns, Reins in PDs
As the standoff between Radio One, its Urban indie Jodi Williams and the labels continues, Radio One’s strategy is being called “disastrous” by some insiders in the wake of last week’s handful of short, explosive label powwows.

Radio One execs Mary Catherine Sneed and Alfred Liggins apparently got an earful from the few label chiefs they met with, who reportedly derided the broadcast chain’s view of promotion as “nave” and “simplistic.” Oddsmakers are now saying the pair won’t be able to make their scheme stick without taking total control of adds and rotations from Atlanta—unless ABC’s upcoming 20/20 story on radio promotion ends up spurring some kind of government action.

As for taking control from Atlanta, Radio One Urban PDs were flown into D.C. for a meeting on Saturday (9) and are now under strict orders not to interact with label reps. Radio One HQ is now handling all adds, spins and promotions, and regional programming VPs Cathy Brown, Robert Scorpio, Lance Panton, Tony Fields, Darryl Huckaby, Carl Conner, Jeff Majors and Jerry Smith have been stripped of their VP stripes and will now focus only on carrying out corporate orders at their individual stations. One PD, WCDX Richmond’s Lamonda Williams, has already been fired for allegedly continuing contact with the record community. She has been replaced by sister station WRHH PD Darryl Johnson.

Meanwhile, although Radio One is still not reporting adds, radio digest R&R sided with the labels this week by publishing as official adds any new music played by the chain’s stations. The move points out a possible chink in the Radio One armor: If the stations are going to play new records anyway and R&R will publish them as adds, what’s the big deal?

As for the upcoming 20/20 story, the latest is that its producers are continuing work on it and plan to air it some time in April. Will the piece prove explosive enough to spur recently vocal lawmakers or regulators to step in? This one’s a long way from over.

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