When Lorenzo “Ice Tea” Thomas landed his first radio gig at country radio WKHK in Petersburg, VA, with a high top fade far big to contain any pair of headphones, little did he know the path his journey would travel from WPLZ to hosting BET’s Video Vibration to rising to Miami’s #1 radio personality. Never one to get comfortable or stay inside of his sandbox, he’s evolved as the multi- faceted “RadioPreneur.”
After one of the greatest MC’s of all time said “I don’t get dropped, I drop that the label, radio vet Lorenzo “Ice Tea” Thomas (yes, the same one DJ Kool shouts out on the classic “Let Me Clear My Throat), not only heard it, he took action. Once he exited Miami’s WEDR, he entered the arena of the radio entrepreneurship. On Jan 1 2009, he launched the internet radio station, “Life from the MIA.com.” Thomas has vision for his radio station and a thought provoking perspective on the future of internet radio.
He says, “many of today’s independent Urban artists, many of whom are the architects of R&B are challenged when it comes to getting airplay and in many instances are shunned by the very same format. They still make solid music and not getting the regular rotation they deserve. Some of the music on the radio today is a travesty.
Most of your mainstream 18- 34 stations feel the classic, not necessarily old songs that would be placed in the Gold category, are a little too old for the demo and the Gold category shouldn’t go back that far. The result the powers that be created is what I call “The Missing Demo” resulting in the continuing battle of “culture vs corporate”.
LivefromtheMiaradio.com boasts over 20 personalities and DJ’s from across the country and three syndicated weekend shows, without all of the frustrations of Urban terrestrial radio or the outside influences with their own agenda sans the best interests of the radio station.
The new business model hip-hop created back in the day has now driven a wedge between the formats because it’s operated by corporate culture of people who don’t understand it and want to tell the listener what they like, even though they are far removed from the listener perspective and nowhere near their world. There is a huge generational void and that audience needs feeding, nurturing and to be entertained as well.
Thomas adds, “I was trained by some of the radio minds that ever did it and are still doing it today such as Steve Crumbley and Phil Daniels who taught me not just to be a professional broadcaster but to believe in the tool called research and to also trust my gut as well as the soul that’s attached to it. Yes, it’s okay to play it safe and just play what the research dictates. However, Live from the Mia has the guts to dare to be different on a platform where it competes against over 30,000 radio stations in the country. As a result, Live from the Mia now ranks #1 in the United States on Streema.com.
In closing, he adds, “there are a few things I know for sure, commercial radio won’t die but will continue to be challenged by other options available to the consumer. Secondly, research is a tool, it is not the umbilical cord to the soul of a woman and the ever evolving heartbeat of the streets and lastly, Live from the MIA is a radio station that takes those underserved listeners on a musically journey that is real good and feel good and that’s all good!!