Two prominent Dallas radio stations publicly announced that they will no longer support R. Kelly’s music on Monday. The decision from K104, which plays a mixture of contemporary hip-hop and R&B, and KRNB, which plays R&B reaching back to the Nineties, came in the wake of the six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which aired last week on Lifetime.
Calls for radio to remove the singer’s music from their playlists began to take place more than a year ago following an extensive investigation of Kelly by Buzzfeed, and some stations had already taken steps to remove the singer from rotation, including WBLS in New York City and KJLH in Los Angeles. However, the decision by these two Dallas stations, both of which are locally owned by the Service Broadcasting Corporation, suggests that public opinion around the singer’s alleged sexual abuse may be changing among core R&B fans after the airing of Surviving R. Kelly.
“Smooth R&B 105.7 and K104 made the decision to drop R. Kelly’s music from our playlists due to the outpouring of concern from our listeners regarding Kelly’s alleged sexual assaults of underage girls,” Service Broadcasting said in a brief statement. “There are no immediate plans to drop music from any other artists.”
Claudia Jordan, morning show host for KRNB, added to this during an on-air segment. “Up against the background of what we know … where there were girls actually locked up in rooms and urinating in buckets and held against their will, even if they were over 18, [Kelly’s music] just has a different meaning now,” she said. “I just feel like, in good conscience, we just can’t continue to support this guy.”
“Sadly there are a lot of people out there and what they do in their work – they are talented people – but they have demons,” Jordan continued. “And I feel like as a woman that is an advocate for other women … we cannot support this man anymore. I’ve been a victim of abuse from a man, and it wasn’t as extreme as this. But reading all the comments, we have to at some point take a stance.”
Jordan’s comments were echoed by DeDe McGuire, who hosts the morning show for K104, during a segment that aired on local news. “I’m glad that radio is taking that stance,” McGuire said. “Radio has always played a major role in the black community … that goes back to the civil rights movement. We have to take care of our own. If the courts won’t take care of [Kelly] in terms of punishing him, then we’ll stop playing his music as punishment.”
While these two stations have taken a stance, the three large radio conglomerates — iHeartMedia has over 850 stations, Cumulus Media has more than 400 and Entercom has over 200 — have not yet announced a policy when it comes to playing Kelly’s music. Neither has Urban One, which is currently responsible for 57 broadcast stations in 15 urban markets in the United States and reaches many R&B listeners.
Reps for iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom and Urban One did not reply to requests for comment.
On Monday, Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali and Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson asked both iHeartMedia and Urban One to boycott Kelly’s music during a press conference. “Radio stations and entertainment outlets that continued to play and spotlight and profit off of Kelly’s name, celebrity and music after the revelations came out about his sexual predatorship are just as culpable as him,” Hutchinson tells Rolling Stone.