Sidney Miller Jr. was best known for being the founder and publisher of Black Radio Exclusive (BRE) magazine.
To aspiring Black entrepreneurs and lovers of Black music, he was a true pioneer.
In 1976, Sidney Miller Jr. and his wife Susan Miller, launched one of the first Black-owned magazines to solely focus on Black music. The magazine ran from 1976 to 2016. Prior to the magazine’s first issue, Sidney Miller Jr. was an aspiring trumpet player and a pre-med student at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the luxury of going to school for free so he had to find a way to make ends meet. That’s where the origins of his music marketing genius began to blossom.
While being a native in Florida he got understand the club circuit for most music acts. Luckily he had right people in mind to help get their music journey on the right track. Miller was classmates with Jazz music greats, Julian Edwin “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley. Miller would help The Adderley Brothers and other fellows musicians booked gigs all over the East Coast. As time progressed, he even found a way to book shows for artists when he had a stint as an US Army officer.
His work on the sidelines for other artists led him to Atlanta. After being encouraged by fellow colleagues, Lou Rawls and Nancy Wilson, he would seek his first dealings in the record business. Capitol Records’ Artie Mogull recognized his talent and assigned Miller to be the head of A&R for Capitol’s Fame label. He of course brought his Florida brethren to the label, along with signing new artists like Helen Reddy, Joe South and The Fortunes.
After producing great results he found himself in California where Capitol Records gave him the opportunity to be the head of the entire promotions division, which included country & western, pop and R&B. All of this happened before 1976. That confidence in himself and the value of Black music led him and Susan Miller to make a grand decision. The two sold their house, their car and invested their savings into launching BRE.
In the golden days of the magazine, they promoted and celebrated Black artists from every juncture of music. From Aretha Franklin to Three 6 Mafia, Black Radio Exclusive magazine helped push Black culture and its music in the right direction. While the magazine was performing well, Miller brought on another component to his business ventures. The Annual BRE Conference sought to bring Black people within the music industry, to create and inspire. A number of legends performed at the conference including Prince, Michael Jackson, Sade and Stevie Wonder.
You can actually view some of the covers and stories within BRE’s 40 year history, right here.
Sidney Miller Jr. has always been about helping and showcasing Black talent. Miller even helped create one of the first live satellite radio shows with WBLS legend Frankie “Hollywood” Miller. He has also served on the board of directors for many organizations providing his expertise. The Living Legends Foundation, Nara’s MusiCares Foundation, The Evander Holyfield Foundation, The National Black Programmers Coalition, The New Orleans Music Commission, The Atlanta Music Commission and The Washington, DC Music Commission. His commitment to music has driven him to awards like a NAACP Image Award and a 2019 Living Legends A. D. Washington Chairman’s Award.
Sidney died at the age of 89 due to COVID-19 complications, a week after his birthday.
Sidney Miller Jr.’s contributions have, and always will be felt.
The Living Legends Foundation – Sidney Miller Tribute
For more news, go to classixphilly.com.
Black Radio Pioneer Sidney Miller Jr., Has Passed Away was originally published on classixphilly.com
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