In an effort to keep up with its radio, TV and digital platforms, and reflect its position as an ever-evolving African-American-centric media company, the former Radio One is transforming into Urban One. While the radio division, which operates 57 stations, will retain the Radio One name, the charter will be to accentuate the cross-platform strengths of the company.
Urban One officially transitioned to its new name on May 5, the 18th anniversary of the company’s IPO, when it was a radio-centric company. In the years since, as the company has grown and expanded, executives have said it outgrew the Radio One name. Urban One was selected for its “inherent ability to encompass all things black,” said Yashima AziLove, VP of corporate communications.
Noting that Urban One chairman Alfred Liggins often characterizes the company as being in the “black people business,” AziLove says the company is now positioning itself to be a dominant player in the African-American media landscape, celebrating black culture and creating content that gives the community an outlet and a voice.
The company’s radio stations and Reach Media syndication unit are a linchpin for that strategy. As Urban One, company executives said that there will be more interplay between platforms, and Jay Stevens, Radio One’s senior VP of programming says both local station personalities and national hosts such as Tom Joyner or Erica Campbell will be featured on radio, TV and digital to help attract audiences and engage advertisers.
“People still love radio but their time spent listening is now being shared with a variety of sources, but we’ve got something that music streaming and other automated services don’t have: we are live, we are local and we have some of the biggest brands and talent on the radio. We’re local, urgent, topical, engaging, entertaining and live. I won’t mention those services, but they don’t have that.”
Stevens says it is incumbent on everyone that works in the radio division to create content that can be shared across the Urban One family. Such shared content across the portfolio, which also includes several recently acquired national digital brands like Bossip and Madam Noir, will help Urban One stand out in a competitive and crowded media industry, Stevens said.
“With radio, digital, audio and video, we can now create the most compelling content for our listeners and we’re doing that now,” he said.