AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Sydney L. Small, co-founder of American Urban Radio Networks (1991) (pictured). AURN was a partnership between Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. and the National Black Network, another radio station conglomerate Small co-founded.
BELL BROADCASTING CO.: Wendell Cox (standing), co-founder of Bell Broadcasting Co. Cox started the company with his wife Iris’ (seated) father, Haley Bell. Their flagship station was WCHB.
DICK GRIFFEY PRODUCTIONS: Dick Griffey, founder of SOLAR Records (1977) (pictured). SOLAR produced artists such as Shalamar, The Whispers, Lakeside, and The Deele. SOLAR was a spinoff of Soul Train Records, a label he and Don Cornelius, Soul Train TV show producer, started in 1975.
INNER CITY BROADCASTING: Percy L. Sutton, founder of Inner City Broadcasting (1971) (pictured). The second largest radio broadcasting company targeting African Americans, Inner City owned and operated some 18 urban-formatted radio stations in major markets all over the country. The company also owned the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.
MOTOWN: Berry Gordy, founder of the legendary Motown Records and creator of the “Motown Sound” (pictured). Motown produced artists such as Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye.
NO LIMIT ENTERPRISES: Percy Miller, aka Master P, founder of rap label No Limit Records (1994) (pictured). No Limit produced artists such as Mystikal, Mia X, and Silkk Tha Shocker. Miller has since founded Take A Stand Records with son Romeo, a label that produces hip-hop artists with responsible images and lyrics.
PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS: Kenneth Gamble (standing), co-founder and chairman of Philadelphia International Records (1971) with Leon Huff (seated). Gamble and Huff, songwriting and producing partners for more than 30 years, created the musical style known as the “Philly sound.”
RUSH COMMUNICATIONS: Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam (1984) and Rush Communications (1991) (pictured). Def Jam is responsible for launching the career of LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys, and Rush Communications is the parent company for media, entertainment, apparel, financial and philanthropic companies.
STAX RECORD CO.: Al Bell, co-owner of Stax Records (1968) (pictured). The label was originally founded as Satellite Records and became Stax in 1961. Stax produced artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Johnnie Taylor, and The Staple Singers.
SUSSEX RECORDS INC./INTERIOR MUSIC CORP.: Clarence Avant, aka the Godfather of Black Music (pictured). Avant founded Sussex Records (1969); bought a radio station, making it the first black owned FM radio station in metropolitan Los Angeles (1973); and founded Tabu Records (1976). Tabu produced artists such as the SOS Band, Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle, and Kool & the Gang, and boosted the careers of legendary music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
UNITY BROADCASTING: Eugene D. Jackson (seated), co-founder of Unity Broadcasting (1971), parent company of National Black Network. Jackson founded the company with Sydney Small (standing, 8th from left) and Del Raycee (standing, 9th from left). Unity and NBN offered news distribution services to black stations.
VY HIGGINSEN INC./REACH ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS: Vy Higginsen, legendary radio personality and DJ, playwright and publisher (pictured). She was the first female DJ to air on WLIB during prime time, and she wrote and produced the play Mama, I Want to Sing.
WGPR: William Banks, president and general manager of WGPR-107.5, aka “The Rhythm” (pictured). The radio station was purchased by a Masonic order that was led by Banks in Detroit in 1964. George Matthews became president of the station in 1986 after Banks’ death. WGPR also owns and operates a TV station.