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While LA Still Seeks Diversity is Atlanta Poised to be the Black Entertainment Capital?

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RFFocus is celebrating our 21st year in the industry as an industry entrepreneur company by spotlighting minority entrepreneurs and decision-makers who are often shunned for those who work for a corporation. There is nothing wrong with working for a corporation as long as you are being respected and making the kind of money that you make, but we want to celebrate the often forgotten industry entrepreneurs who make amazing contributions to entertainment too.

Atlanta has the greatest amount of urban radio stations in the country and without question, certainly some of the most successful black industry entrepreneurs but few stations, outside of the Radio One stations, are black owned. Steve Hegwood left the corporate radio industry in awe when he purchased and started  a station with a small signal named Streetz 94.5 (W233BF FM) and it became an instant viable and competitive station in the market. Even CBS-owned behemoth V103 was forced to take note. Hegwood, an experienced and respected radio programmer, knew there was a hole to fill with hardcore hip hop in the market. The corporate stations are all heavily researched and they are rarely going to take a chance on a new song or a local act until they get the thumbs up from corporate or a research company. Hegwood decided to do what they couldn’t do and because of that he was first on many hit songs in the market and the nation. He was able to take that small signal and sell ad space, hire a staff and even do concerts by using his industry leverage and brilliant entrepreneur skills to create his own entity instead of building someone else’s.

The Atlanta market has developed its own music and film industry for blacks and they have a slew of reality shows coming out of the market. For African Americans the housing and the cost of living is much more affordable than New York or Los Angeles. For example $300,00 will get you a nice house in Atlanta or nearby suburbs, it will get you, if lucky, a condo with high association fees in Los Angeles’ suburbs and a closet in NYC.

Mention Atlanta to many industry people in New York and LA and you usually will get a lot of eyes rolling up and claims that the market is overrated. They will make reference to, what they consider, degrading reality shows and a distaste for the hip hop that comes out of the market but truth be told, Atlanta is having the last laugh.

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Kevin Ross: RFFocus.org CEO with over 20 years experience in the Industry. Ross is a former radio Program Director and Radio Jock. You can contact him by clicking the "Contact Us" button in the menu bar.

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