Sidney Miller, champion of black music, dies at 89

“Black radio is getting colorless,” he warned in a 1988 interview with the Los Angeles Daily News. “They’re trying to reverse the cross trend, and that’s just not smart. It won’t stop until we say, ‘Wait a minute; we’re the trend setters and stop be led by the tail and be the leaders that we are.

“We encourage the mainstay of black artists to stop cutting soft, watered-down black records,” he added.

That article called Mr. Miller “Moses to a nation of programmers and radio executives.”

Sidney August Anthony Miller II was born on December 13, 1932 in Pensacola, Florida to Sidney and Evelyn (Maddox) Miller. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, he enrolled at Florida A&M as a pre-med student. But he was also a musician, playing trumpet in the college orchestra, and he set up a side business booking musical acts, including jazz musicians Nat and Cannonball Adderley, his fellow students.

After college, where he had been in ROTC, Mr. Miller joined the military, serving in Texas and continuing to reserve numbers on the side. In the 1960s, he joined Capitol Records, first in Atlanta, where he ran its Fame subsidiary, then in Los Angeles. One day in 1970, while walking from the Capitol Records Tower toward Hollywood Boulevard, he was intrigued by the Florida license plate on a parked car. Inside were two young women, Susan Marie Enzor and her sister, Dottie, who were off on a cross-country adventure.

Soon he and Susan were married and she became his business partner when he founded Black Radio Exclusive in 1976. The magazine continued to publish for about 40 years.

At that time, its conventions were both a showcase for new talent and a forum for serious discussion. The 1988 conference, for example, featured a panel on whether rap music reinforced negative stereotypes of black people. Ice-T was one of those who spoke on the matter.

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