*BlakeRadio entrepreneur, Neil Blake, has worked in television and radio for most of his career. A member of the Director’s Guild, Neil got his start in the late 1980’s on NBC as part of their Vacation Relief Program. He then moved on to WNEW which later became WNYW Fox Five. At one time, he plied his trade as an Associate Director (AD) working on television programming ranging from weekend news, sports, and syndicated shows. This he did at CBS and various networks. Blake has worked on “Positively Black,” with Gus Heninburg; “A Current Affair,” first hosted by Maury Povich and then later with Maureen O’Boyle serving as host, on the Fox Five Network. The busy AD has worked on “Good Day New York,” “The Ten O’clock News,” and various other local programming in Manhattan. Currently, he works as a freelancer on news programs and other local shows at WNBC in New York.
Neil first became interested in the media arts as a youngster when his dad bought him a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Enamored by the process of filmmaking, Neil, began covering high school sports events and plays while attending Edward R, Murrow High School. “By that time, I had discovered what I wanted to do in life. So, when Don Pitkoff, who headed the Television at Edward R Murrow H.S. Division (TERM), steered me toward a scholarship to Long Island University, I jumped at the chance,” recalled Neil. “I also had a love for radio. While attending LIU, I was a DJ for a while and then became station manager of the college’s radio station, WLIU. I handled the day-to-day operations which consisted of managing a staff of DJs and administration personnel. Later, when I started producing my own Quiet Storm radio show at WHBI in NYC, I gained fundraising experience which came in handy when I created my own network,” remarked the radio entrepreneur.
In 2000, Neil recognized the potential of Internet radio and struck upon the idea of creating what became the BlakeRadio Network. His network boasted close to 25 hosts from across the country, hosting shows on a variety of subject matter pertinent to the Diaspora and African American experience.
The BlakeRadio Network is a culmination of all Neil’s interests and talents. He has experience as an engineer, editor, programmer, photographer, cameraman, producer and director. “I felt that with all the experience I have, it was time for me to put my efforts toward benefiting my own people. I wanted to do shows that highlighted the positive aspects of people of color, the African Diaspora and the African American culture in particular. Though of course, I am open to all people, my primary emphasis is on showcasing optimistic hosts, guests and programming that represent the enlightened side of black and brown culture throughout the world and all that it entails,” said Blake.
Mr. Blake talked about why there is a paucity of African Americans behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. “Some of the challenges African Americans face is in getting the training and on-the-job experience with the latest state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. As a result, many folks from the African Diaspora are not given the opportunity to work on high tech and high budget productions. It’s not that African Americans cannot excel, we just need the training opportunities and support. In all areas of entertainment, we need conscious African Americans in positions of authority who can green light productions while at the same time, get advertiser and investor support,” explained Blake who has recently moved BlakeRadio.com to the next level.
“I have two divisions within BlakeRadio.com: the music portion, Music Massage, and the talk portion, Rainbow Soul,” explained the conscientious broadcaster. “Presently on Itunes and Stitcher, BlakeRadio will now be accessible to listeners worldwide via an App on their phones Smart phones and Androids. The Apps are available in the iPhone App store or Android Market by searching Music Massage or Rainbow Soul or can be accessed from BlakeRadio.com. The Apps will allow listeners access to the Music Massage and Rainbow Soul broadcasts with the touch of a button. Music Massage offers 24 hours of R&B, Jazz, Soul, Reggae and Slow Jams. The talk portion, Rainbow Soul will allow listeners to lock in to the Rainbow Soul broadcast which features an eclectic mix of primarily, but not exclusively, African American hosts from around the United States. Programming includes everything from Africana studies, music, sports, lifestyle, entertainment, gossip, children programming and current events. Keep your App locked to BlakeRadio.com for the best of Talk Radio and “Music for Your Mind, Body & Soul,” remarked the proud webcaster as he quoted his station’s catch phrase.
A progressive man, Neil Blake features programming that benefits and elevates people of color. Since the BlakeRadio Network is the catalyst for that goal, it seems Mr. Blake is well on his way.