The coming year may play out big for America´s largest black-owned radio network company. Earlier this month, American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) announced a major partnership with SupeRadio, which is one of the largest syndicators and providers of radio programming in the country.
Under the deal, AURN will represent SupeRadio´s urban product and services to the advertising industry. SupeRadio already has a foothold in the urban entertainment world. Some of its most popular programs include: “Back Spin Weekend “with Spinderella (of Salt N’ Pepa fame) and “Kissing After Dark” with Lenny Green.
“I think that it is a great move on the part of both companies,” says Miller London, CEO of music industry trade publication The Urban Network. “With the ever changing radio world the more content that can be provided the better. Radio is continuing to look for new and innovative programming and AURN could be a one-stop shop for independent and small radio stations.”
For Jerry Lopes, president, Program Operations & Affiliations at AURN, the deal is a win-win for both parties. “By bringing (SupeRadio´s) urban products and services to AURN, experts in selling and marketing the African-American consumer marketplace, AURN will be able to maximize the value of SupeRadio’s products and services,” he says. “It also brings our two companies closer together, two of the premiere companies providing programming to urban America through Black radio.”
But AURN is not stopping with the SupeRadio deal. Says Lopes, “Adding SupeRadio to our portfolio allowed us to create a new RADAR-rated network. The new “Elite” Network is our fourth network and offers those advertisers a unique and exciting way to reach the African- American consumer marketplace Monday-Friday. This is a completely new network with a completely different list of new affiliates separate from the other three AURN networks.”
According to Lopes, one of the keys for urban radio’s survival is partnerships. “For AURN, we see strategic relationships like this one as the way to go,” he points out. “Several years ago we formed a strategic relationship with Radio One, the largest African-American group owner of radio stations selling and marketing the Russ Parr Morning Show. We most recently formed a strategic relationship with the wonderfully talented Doug Banks to present the Doug Banks Afternoon show.”
AURN, which was formed in the late 1980’s as a merger between National Black Network (founded by Unity Broadcasting in 1973) and the Sheridan Broadcasting Network (founded in 1972) as the Mutual Black Network, boasts more than 20 million listeners weekly through four programming networks and its marketing division. Broadcasting 200 weekly news, entertainment, sports and information programs to more than 300 radio stations nationwide, it is the only black broadcaster with a bureau in the White House, as well as offices and bureaus in New York, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.