For Immediate Release
Radio and TV veteran releases tell-all book “Blackout” exploring music industry’s dark side
Book has garnered praise from cultural icons including Chuck D and Joy-Ann Reid
ORLANDO, Fla. – Music industry veteran Paul Porter has released the book “Blackout,” an explosive look at the corruption running rampant in the music industry. “Blackout” details Porter’s experiences in the music industry, from his first stint in radio in 1976 – when the busing riots in Boston sent him scrambling into WRBB at Northeastern University – to his tenure at BET and some of the nation’s top-rated radio stations.
“‘Blackout’ is a chronicle of my successes and failures, my dreams and disappointments in the music business,” Porter said. “It’s filled with the secrets the music industry desperately tries to keep, the stories no one tells. I wanted to expose the truth about the industry I love.”
“Blackout” takes readers on a ride through Porter’s whirlwind of media jobs, working for and with some of the music industry’s most colorful, well-known and scandalous players. It explores the insidious role of payola, an illegal practice that is firmly embedded in the music industry, deep in the grooves like tracks on a vinyl record. And it offers an inside account of how corporations killed Black radio and erased Black identity from mainstream Black music — and why Porter chose to fight back.
The book has already garnered the endorsement of major cultural figures, including Chuck D of Public Enemy, who called Porter a “guru and visionary” and said “‘Blackout’ will truly explain why things are the way they are.”
Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, called “Blackout” a “compelling, personal story about how the music industry really operates” that “also offers an enlightening message of hope for the music industry and for its broader impact on our culture.”
Joy-Ann Reid, host of “AM Joy” on MSNBC, said “‘Blackout’ is essential reading for anyone who cares about the history and future of African-Americans in the multi-billion dollar music industry.”
Paul Porter has been a force in radio, music and television for four decades. His deep, seductive voice has resonated on the airwaves of many of the nation’s top-rated radio stations, and he spent 10 years at BET as Program Director, consultant and on-air talent. Porter’s expertise and activism have established him as a thought leader in the radio and music industry, and he is often sought out by major media outlets including CNN, Entertainment Tonight and FOX News to comment on music, culture and race. He is the founder of music industry nonprofit IndustryEars.com and music and culture website RapRehab.com and currently serves as Program Director at Orlando’s low-power FM station The Wire 98.5.
“Blackout: My 40 Years In The Music Business,” is an explosive look at the corruption that is running rampant throughout the music industry.
From the desperate promotion departments at major record labels who will do anything to get their acts on the radio and on video to the greedy program directors who take cash, gifts and other luxuries, Blackout will explore how corruption is rearing its ugly head once again.
Blackout also examines “legal payola” and how corporations are now the major beneficiaries of under-the-table payments and pay-to-play.
With the Telecommunications Act of 1996, consolidation would forever change the music industry. It was a bill that was originally designed to stimulate the economy by loosening up the rules for selling goods on the Internet. But inadvertently, it gave license for communications companies like Clear Channel to start buying up radio stations like penny candy.
Before long, seven companies owned 70% of the radio stations in the United States. There were very few individual owners who could determine what would be played. This meant smaller, corporate-influenced radio playlists. There would be less variety and more of the same artists, over and over again. These new stations were like funnels and the only records that would make it through were the ones with the cash to push them out. If the record labels wanted to hear their acts on the radio, they would have to fall in line—and cough up major bucks.
Blackout is about how the digital age in the mid-90s exposed radio stations that frequently lied about how often they were playing the songs they were being paid by record labels to play; it’s about how the golden age of the trained broadcaster was soon replaced with interns, DJs and mixers who, for years, had been silent in the booth. Blackout explores how radio has become one of the few media outlets where salaries have plunged as profits have skyrocketed. And Blackout will break down the shake-ups that will be happening very shortly. Much like Alan Freed’s payola trials in the 50s, and the pay-for-play scandals involving music men like Clive Davis in the 70s, the music industry is on the cusp of another huge investigation and many of the major players in the music industry may find themselves unemployed, at best and possibly, in prison.
And in many ways, Blackout is my story. Since 1976, when the busing riots in Boston sent me scrambling into the radio station at WRBB at Northeastern University, the music industry has been my life. During my very first stint in radio, I was Paul “Pure Love” Porter from midnight to three AM and I fell in love with the medium of radio and the impact I had on my community.
Radio introduced me to women. Radio introduced me to cocaine. Radio introduced me to some of my best friends. And radio killed some of them too. Blackout is a ride through my whirlwind of media jobs, working for and with some of the most colorful, well-known and scandalous players in the music industry.
I know that radio and video are influential in shaping young minds. And my experiences have changed my outlook. “Morality is not an option” is now my mantra. And there are people out there who won’t buy it. They’ll think I’m writing this book for revenge or just to make a buck. That’s fine. I can live with that. I can’t live with what’s become of the music industry. I’m partly responsible for bringing it to the depths it’s sunk to today. But I can also be responsible for exposing the ugliness and peeling back the layers for everyone to see.
Here’s a sample of what people are saying about Paul Porter and “Blackout: My 40 Years In The Music Business:
“Paul Porter is a guru ,visionary and has led a Forrest Gump-James Bond life in the blackback hidden world of technologies, culture and communications. Follow his timeline in BLACKOUT and it will explain TRULY why things are the way they are. Pay attention!”
Chuck D, Public Enemy-Prophets Of Rage
“Paul Porter has been the mellifluous voice of Black music as a host on BET, its most loving critic and its most passionate advocate. His long history in the music and entertainment business makes him the ideal guide through the sometimes treacherous history of an industry where corporate executives and radio conglomerates wield enormous power over artists, and often abuse or fail them. Blackout is essential reading for anyone who cares about the history and future of African-Americans in the multi-billion dollar music industry.”
Joy-Ann Reid, host of “AM Joy” on MSNBC
“In his book BLACKOUT: My 40 Years In The Music Business, industry veteran Paul Porter shares his compelling personal story about how the music industry REALLY operates. He brings us inside the music industry’s “sausage factory” to reveal the dark and troubling reality of the business that very few people get to see. But Porter’s exposé also offers an enlightening message of hope for the music industry and for its broader impact on our culture. It is a must-read for anyone who loves, or is critical of, the business of music in America.”
Tim Winter, President, Parents Television Council
Rock Newman, TV Show Host and Activist
“Paul Porter, your wisdom, support and guidance in 2013 was invaluable as I was attempting to launch the Rock Newman Show. I’ll never forget and I strongly recommend BLACKOUT as a MUST READ!”
About The Author
Paul Porter is the founder Rap Rehab which is comprised of a consortium of industry leaders and media professionals whose broad range of experiences offer unique benefits to their clients.
Paul Porter has served as a Program Director and talent for BET; consulted for AOL Music, the NBA and Sound Exchange; and negotiated licensing deals with Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Good Morning America and ESPN. As an expert in the music business with over thirty years of experience, he has been featured on CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, LA Times, and Entertainment Tonight. Regarded as a music rights activist, Porter is also on the Advisory Board of the Parents Television Council. Paul Porter, has even been summoned to testify before Congress.
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