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Talib Kweli Launches Web-Based Radio Station

On a day that finds Leimert Park’s own Dom Kennedy featured on Forbes.com for his entrepreneurial hustle*, veteran Brooklyn emcee Talib Kweli has announced that he now has his own web-based radio station.

Kweli’s Javotti Radio, which will broadcast at Radionomy.com/JavottiRadio, seems like a natural extension for Javotti Media, Kweli’s recently launched label that released his last full-length studio album Prisoner of Conscious.

As far as I can tell, the brand marriage makes sense because it appears organic and could be a win-win for the parties involved – if they get enough people, of course. (It’s always about “the people,” as in “you need more people.”)

Radionomy is marketing itself towards touring artists and people on-the-go. Kweli certainly fits that type: he performs around the world, around the year, and so does his wife DJ Eque.

It doesn’t hurt that Kweli is one of the more thoughtful and outspoken emcees who just so happens to be the progeny of college professors. He’s surely not a stranger to network TV, late-night shows and cable; I could even see him co-hosting on MSNBC.

The Javotti programming will encompass Kweli-involved “interviews, news and commentary on politics, culture and entertainment,” according to a statement. From what I heard from a publicist, the station is already operational.

MIMO was unable to reach Kweli, but received a press release that included a quote from Donna Dragotta, Javotti Media’s A&R administrator and label manager, who said: “We don’t need a studio or any equipment other than a web-enabled device and a microphone to run this station … It gives us flexibility (and) that’s crucial for our team, which is constantly on the move.”

Thierry Azcarez, U.S. manager for Radionomy, says the radio platform is user-friendly and removes “technology hassles of radio” while providing artists such as Kweli a direct line of communication with his fans.

That’s something that Kweli has remarked about in-depth in the media lately as he gears up for the Dec. 15 release of his next album, Gravitas.

Javotti Media becomes a member of Radionomy’s Premium Content Program, which arms labels and artists with tools to produce content (music or interviews), stream events live, and create embeddable players so the station is accessible on any website. It also provides global distribution with partners such as TuneIn and worldwide broadcasting on various mobile apps and devices, from tablets to connected in-car technology.

Radionomy is free to the public as it covers streaming and licensing costs by broadcasting four minutes of advertisements per hour. Once a station reaches 50,000 listening hours/month, ad revenue is shared with the producer. Ad-free streams are available, as well as streams which run advertisements from existing sponsors. Radionomy also offers promotional campaigns with 30-second spots targeted by location and/or demographic through the Radionomy Network, which averages 40 million listening hours/month across 7,000 worldwide stations.


(*This is far from an uncommon trait in hip-hop communities, especially in L.A., but it is apparently new to an international business publication of high repute looking to market itself to hip-hop-inclined millenials. Can’t say I’m mad at them, however – it’s a savvy tactic.)

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About the Author


Slav Kandyba has worked as a journalist for more than a decade for a number of general interest newspapers, a wire service, trade publications and music and culture magazines and websites. Slav is currently a tech reporter for iTechPost.com, and has previously written for The Source and contributed to HipHopDX.com from 2007 until 2011. He began writing about hip-hop in 2006 when a friend challenged him to write about L.A.'s hip-hop scene, and he was one of the first journalists to spotlight Pac Div and U-N-I. Slav is a respected writer covering hip-hop culture and rap and has assisted in organizing events including the One Nation Hip-Hop Summit in Santa Monica, California, which featured a concert with Pete Rock and CL Smooth, and the first annual Academic Hip-Hop Conference at Cal State Northridge.

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