Shade Shiest Getting Illegal Help?

California hip-hop radio station Power 106(KPWR) has come under fire as rapper Shade Shiest has garnered generous amounts of airtime on the station where the executive producer of his album, Damion Young, also works as a senior programming and artist relations executive. In a report in the L.A. Times by Chuck Phillips, the reporter explores the business relationships of those involved.

The company that owns Power 106, media conglomerate Emmis Communications, financed a company called Baby Ree Entertainment that was responsible for recording Sheist’s album Informal Introduction. And Young, also known as Damizza, produced several tracks for the album; in addition he has a label deal with MCA Records distributed by Vivendi Universal, the largest distributor of music worldwide. So with each spin, the record receives free promotion for the album and the more albums sold, the more money Young, Power 106 and Emmis Communication make.

The lead single from the album Informal Introduction titled “Money Owners,” has received triple the spins on Power 106 as compared to other radio stations, according to the report.

Peter Art, who works for a media watch group organization, is not pleased by what he views as a conflict of interest for Emmis Communications. In the article he is quoted as saying, “Listeners should know that the station has a financial stake in the programming. It calls for disclosure. This doesn’t sound like radio programming. It sounds like a commercial for a company tied to the owners of the station.”

The president of Emmis' radio division Rick Cummings says there is no conflict of interest as he says Young has been removed from the station’s decision-making process for Shade Shiest. He went on to note that Sheist’s song tested well with Power 106 listeners and listeners from two other Emmis-owned stations. "KPWR is No. 1 in this market out of 80 stations," Cummings said. "Emmis can't afford to play music that doesn't test well with our listeners.”

Young, who has appeared in Ja Rule’s video “Between Me and You,” could not be reached for a comment by the newspaper, and according to officials at the radio station, he is prohibited from discussing his artist at programming meetings.