Marvell Reed is remembered as a radio visionary

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By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Editor

With music on his mind, Marvell Reed set out to design “something for the people”.

Reed, managing director of local radio station 97.5 FM KDEE, died on December 1 after battling diabetes. He was 52 years old.

Marvell Churon Reed was born in San Francisco on February 7, 1969. He was the oldest child of Linda Rosalia Alayon and Jesse Reed. Marvell Reed was baptized at Mission Dolores Basilica and attended All Hallows Catholic Church with his family. He then joined the Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco and was baptized by the late Reverend Calvin Jones Jr. Reed often volunteered to help the church with recordings and sound production and was subsequently hired by the church as audio / media coordinator. At the time of his death, Reed was coordinating the sound and music for a former pastor’s memorial service.

“He’s always been involved in music,” said his wife Apryle Stanley.

The couple married on December 22, 2009. They met around 2001 when Stanley came to Reed’s commercial recording studio to sing on a track for a recording artist. Reed’s “heart for music” led him to co-found a music production company, a DJ company and a record company.

LaidBlack Productions, which Reed started with fellow DJ Kevin Davis, worked with artists who helped define Bay Area rap sound including Too $ hort, Mac Dre, B-Legit, Yukmouth, Keak Da Sneak, Conscious Daughters, Rappin ‘4-Tay and Messy Marv. Reed also started another business, LaidBack Multimedia, through which he created web design, graphics and print media.

Reed started at KDEE on January 15, 2008, and as a program director he has sought to reach out to African American communities in Sacramento. The radio station is operated by the California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC).

“He always wanted the station to have different colors – music, information, empowerment, economic development, he wanted it all,” said Jay King, president and CEO of CBCC, who was one of the first hosts. of the station, before assuming its current leadership role.

“My first few weeks, I was terrible,” King said of his first show.

Reed, he says, trained him and helped him move from hosting an internet radio show to working as a radio host. The day came when Reed sensed that King was ready to go on the air without him being seated next to it. King asked if Reed would join him that day in the studio.

“He said, ‘No, you got that,’” recalls a moved king.

When King took over as head of CBCC after Aubry Stone’s death, his first duty, he says, was to put Reed in charge of KDEE. Reed would also become the general manager, sales manager, traffic manager, account manager, promotions manager and social media / website manager. He recruited hosts, established relationships with community leaders, music producers and concert promoters. He also created the 97.5 Street Team, an outreach component of the radio station. When the station underwent a recent renovation, Reed was the interim contractor.

“In the future, it’s going to be difficult to fill his shoes because he was wearing so many different shoes,” shared friend and Smooth Vibe host Leon Guidry.

Initially, Guidry questioned Reed’s inexperience on the radio, but was quickly assured he was a “real guy” with a plan.

“He learned along the way,” Guidry said. “His vision, his mission was to make [KDEE] the best alternative radio for blacks in Sacramento. His success ended too soon. He had a lot of ideas that he wanted to implement.

One of these ideas was to give voice to young music listeners.

“We’re a ‘cultured people station’, but he saw the emptiness and the need to reach out to the young,” Guidry said.

“He wanted to involve the whole community,” King explained. ” Me too. We wanted a community conversation that encompasses Sacramento as a whole with a particular focus on African Americans because of the systemic racism, bigotry, and prejudice that existed in this country against us. We wanted it to be a full conversation where no one was left out. This is what we were about to do.

Prior to his death, Reed was on dialysis three days a week. King says that rather than having him come to Sacramento, Reed was working from home.

“He was so important to where we were going, that we stopped some things until he could get better,” King said.

While he has no plans to replace Reed immediately, King says he will eventually have to find multiple people to do whatever Reed has been doing solo. He says the basis for how to operate in the future is there and is part of Reed’s legacy.

“We will put systems in place so that whoever comes into the House, whether it is at the Speaker’s level or at the radio programming level, that there is a plan, or that there is a system in place, that you can at least follow along and you can build from. “

Just days before his death, Reed called King to check for audio of an impending House event. He was engaged, “no matter what,” King said.

Stanley says this is how she wants her husband to be remembered.

“I just want him to be remembered for everything he’s done. He has done so much. He was always busy helping people, ”she said.

Following Reed’s sudden death, several KDEE figures including Lee Perkins, Wanda Abney and Guidry dedicated their shows to him during the week following his death.

“We’re not going to shut down, expand or stop what we’re doing,” Guidry said. “We will continue to grow. This is what he would have wanted, [for] we continue to better serve the community.

Reed was predeceased by his parents and brother, Derrick “Digg” Reed. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Apryle Stanley; five children, Anthony “Tony” Baker, II, Marvelle “Junior” Reed, Jr., Johnel Reed, Breyana Reed and Nia Greer; his stepmother, Ella “Dotty” Reed and seven siblings, Cassandra Reed, La Geachia Johnson, Jessica Williams, James Johnson, Ja Porsha Reed, Lugh Markland and her half-brother Kevin Mitchell, Jr.

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