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Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

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SummitMedia drops Rickey Smiley’s Magic City Classic show, but Birmingham steps up


SummitMedia, LLC, did not budget for Rickey Smiley’s annual live radio broadcast for the Magic City Classic.  This comes after people complained about the tickets costing $30 for the live event when, historically, the event has been free.  However, Smiley is reaching into his own bank account to pay for a live show of the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show”, which he hosts.  The show will be at the Magic City Classic on Friday Oct. 27 2023.

Smiley explained on his Facebook page that he decided to pay for the live broadcast out of his own pocket and will attempt to recoup some of the costs.

“I have to pay for everyone’s hotel rooms, I have to pay for people’s flights, and get the artists in town on ground transportation,” Smiley said. “The reason I charge a ticket price is just to make some of my money back.”
He also said he’s spending over $10,000 of his own money but will likely only make about $5,000.
Ever since the late 1990s, it has been a tradition to hold a live broadcast a day before the classic. “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” used to be the broadcast, but ever since Joyner retired from radio, Smiley’s show took his place.
The live show is usually held at the BJCC Concert Hall, but with SummitMedia not involved in the broadcast, the show will be held Friday, Oct 27 at 5-9 a.m. at the Stardome Comedy Club in Hoover.
One person on Facebook complained about the change in venue. “This was not a good business decision. First off, it’s selfish! Why charge for something that’s been free forever! On top of that why take the revenue to Hoover when Birmingham didn’t get any of the proceeds!”
Smiley explained that all of the other venues were booked, and the Stardome is where he has a relationship with the club owner, plus it’s where he started his career.
The live broadcast event has already sold out.

Neither venues are cheap, and the Stardome has a significantly lower capacity than the BJCC Concert Hall. The BJCC Concert Hall can fit over 2,835 people and the maximum capacity of the Stardome is 420, which is 15% less than the concert hall.

Because of these expenses to put on the show which will end up costing around $10,000, Smiley is attempting to earn his money back. He may end up only earning less than half of what he spends.

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In the past the live show was free due to everything being paid for, but this year attendees must pay $30 to get into the live show. Fans of the show and people who usually attend were bothered by this change, and they sent Smiley tweets and messages saying that they didn’t want to attend. Or at the very least they didn’t want to spend money on something that used to be free.

Smiley took to social media to address these feelings fans were having. On Oct. 21 2023 Smiley posted a video to his YouTube channel titled “To People Upset About The Magic City Classic Live Broadcast”, a ten minute video explaining why he was now charging people to attend.

“Unfortunately we had to charge because hotel rooms,” Smiley said. “You got to bring in engineers, equipment, and you got to pay musicians. It’s like a $13,000 budget. So the reason I was charging was because I was trying to make some of my money back which I was still gonna lose money anyway. I was just doing it for the people. I was doing it because the people love when “The Morning Show” comes to Birmingham and does a live show.”

Since the video was uploaded Smiley has announced that he has partnered with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to bring the live broadcast back to the BJCC in 2024. The fate of this year’s broadcast is still up in the air, as Smiley revealed in his video that if they cannot pass a threshold of people buying tickets, they will cancel the show altogether.

“If we don’t sell a certain amount of tickets in a certain amount of time, then we’ll just cancel it and go on about our day and do “The Morning Show” from the studio like we’re doing,” Smiley said. “This is not to put the radio station on blast. I don’t know what goes on at KISS and SummitMedia. They’re their own entity and “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is its own entity.”

He continued.

“You can talk to management over at SummitMedia, but as far as the entity of “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show”, we were just trying to do it for the people, because people love the live broadcast and they actually look forward to it. And when COVID came and we were not able to do it, that hurts, and they had a good time last year when we started back doing it. So it’s your decision. Share the video for everybody that’s talking about it, and if people decide they don’t want to go, I respect it. I love you and I appreciate you.”

On Saturday, Smiley took to social media again to announce that he’s working with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to make the live broadcast happen at the BJCC in 2024. “Mayor Randall Woodfin and the City of Birmingham presents ‘The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.’ It is absolutely free! It will be back next year. And we will have two major artists to perform plus we will have a DJ outside performing while y’all are standing in line.”

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