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FIRST OFF . . .

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

About 3,000 of the nation’s top R & B / urban-radio and record industry executives eager to debate the health and future of black radio will gather at the Sheraton-Registry Hotel in Universal City today for the 12th annual Black Radio Exclusive Conference. During the next six days, the top brass in black music and radio will address the problem of “broadening the black base” in a series of panels ranging from the lack of radio ownership among blacks, to problems of censorship in black music, to whether rap music has become a blight on black radio as a whole. Willie Brown, speaker of the California State Assembly and national chairman of Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign, will deliver the conference’s keynote address Saturday. Jackson has used black radio stations across the country as part of his strategy to promote his drive for the presidency, a conference spokesman said. Stephanie Mills, George Duke and LL Cool J will headline a special concert and awards show at Universal Amphitheatre on Friday.


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