Sidney Miller, Founder of ‘Black Radio Exclusive’ Magazine, Dies at 89

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Sidney Miller, founder and publisher of the pioneering Black Radio Exclusive magazine, has died. He was 89.

A week after his birthday, Miller died Thursday in a hospital in Arlington, Virginia, of complications from COVID-19, his family announced.

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A onetime Capitol Records executive, Miller also was a former vice chairman on the MusiCares board of directors, and in the 1980s, he launched the nationally syndicated radio show Hollywood Live, hosted by WBLS personality Frankie Crocker.

Miler got the weekly BRE magazine off the ground in 1976. The publication chronicled Black music and its intersection with radio, retailers, music executives and other behind-the-scenes professionals, creating a community for the industry until its demise in 2017.

He expanded its reach by creating BRE conferences and the Drummer Awards, which were accompanied by sold-out shows in major venues around the country. Those events introduced artists including Mariah Carey, MC Hammer, Sade, Boyz II Men, Kirk Franklin, The Commodores, Naughty by Nature and Maxwell and were known for superstar performances from the likes of Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner and James Brown.

A native of Pensacola, Florida, Miller played the trumpet in the band at Florida A&M University, where he booked gigs for classmate Cannonball Adderly. In the U.S. Army, where he served as a First Lieutenant, he lined up jobs for other acts, including Lou Rawls and Nancy Wilson.

His executive music career began at Capitol Records, which brought him to Los Angeles. He headed the Fame label imprint and then the company’s entire promotions department, which encompassed country, pop and R&B. Later, he became a personal manager and independent promotions expert.

Miller also was honored at the NAACP Image Awards and sat on the boards of the Evander Holyfield Foundation, the National Black Programmers Coalition, the New Orleans Music Commission, the Atlanta Music Commission, the Washington D.C. Music Commission and the PUSH Rainbow Coalition, among others.

He spent most of his life in Los Angeles but moved 12 years ago to enjoy his children and grandchildren in Virginia.

Survivors include his wife and business partner, Susan Miller; children Paxton (and his wife, Jasmine), Evelyn (and her husband, Thomas) and Sidney (and his wife, Kelli); grandchildren Jet, Sydney, Sidney IV, Stevie, Riley and Miles; and brother Wilmer.

Memorial celebrations will be held in Los Angeles and online. Those who knew Miller are encouraged to share stories and photos by emailing the family at BRESid2021@gmail.com.

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