Paul Porter has been around long enough to watch the music business grow, evolve, and gradually approach its inevitable implosion. The erstwhile BET program director backs up his enviable resume with a deep knowledge of the music business. We caught up with Mr. Porter (no relations to Denaun) and asked him to help us navigate the murky waters of the music industry. How pervasive is payola? Is the mixtape dead? What does the future hold for indie labels? Porter peers into the crystal ball and provides some answers. Dig in.

The Rap Up: For those who’ve never heard of you, tell us a bit about your experience in the music industry so far, where you’ve been an what you’ve done.

Paul Porter: Long story. I got my start in college radio in Boston during the perfect time, the late 70′s. Music was alive and well from P-Funk, Commodores and the early stages of Rap with King Tim the 3rd and the Fatback Band, Prince, James Brown and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. Northeastern’s WRBB carved out my early stages which developed the careers of Wendy Williams and Jay Dixon the head of Urban Programming for Cox Radio and Darius Walker the NY Bureau Chief for CNN.

WILD, Boston’s only Black Commercial outlet, hired me away during my junior year and I doubled as a student, college hoop player and worked as AMD on-air personality. Two years later, Donnie Simpson called and offered me a gig at the then legendary NBC-owned WKYS in DC.

KYS led to my first television gig “Fresh” at WRC-TV. The weekend public affairs show gave me a chance to interview acts like Stacy Lattisaw, Johnny Gill and Mtume. That led to Music Video Connection the Gannett-owned local Friday night video show which I programmed and hosted in the late 80′s.

On to BET. Started subbing for Donnie Simpson hosting Video Soul. That soon morphed into a music consulting role picking videos and implementing the radio software system Selector for video at BET. I hosted Video Vibrations, Midnight Love, Video Soul and a host of on and off camera gigs. Did all the voice work and eventually became Program Director when the network climbed into 66 million homes.

Radio in NY, DC, Boston and Miami. Worked for AOL Music, The NBA and got into publishing and management going way back with the Whispers and hip-hop management with Two Kings in a Cipher who evolved into D-Dot and Ron Lawrence who went on to produce B.I.G and a numerous platinum records in the 90′s.

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