R&B singer R. Kelly has been controversial for a long time, but two North Texas radio stations have dropped him from their playlists, and they’re getting national attention for it.
KRNB/105.7 FM “Smooth R&B 105.7” announced on-air Monday during its morning show that it would no longer play Kelly’s music. Hip-hop/R&B station KKDA/104.5 FM “K104,” which like KRNB is locally owned by Service Broadcasting, has also stopped playing the singer.
Although national media is identifying both as Dallas stations, they are currently based at 2221 E. Lamar Blvd. Suite 400 in Arlington, after a long run in Grand Prairie. The Arlington studios are the former home of WBAP/820 AM and KSCS/96.3 FM, now based in Dallas.
“Smooth R&B 105.7 made the decision to drop R. Kelly’s music from our playlist due to the outpouring of concern from our listeners regarding Kelly’s alleged sexual assaults of underage girls,” says a statement from George Cook, director of operations for Service Broadcasting. “There are no immediate plans to drop music from any other artists.”
The move has caught the attention of Rolling Stone, Spin and other national outlets, and has been the subject of much debate on the Smooth R&B 105.7 Facebook page, with some listeners saying that if the station drops Kelly, it should drop other artists who’ve been the subject of similar allegations, and others upset that the station made the choice to drop the singer.
The announcement was made on “The Morning Rush,” the relatively new morning show hosted by comedian Rudy Rush and radio vet/former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Claudia Jordan. The show debuted in September, after KRNB dropped the long-running “Steve Harvey Morning Show,” another move that earned the station some attention.
Kelly was the subject of a Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which, according to the series’ synopsis, survivors and people from Kelly’s inner circle “are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental and physical abuse.”
This isn’t the first time that a North Texas radio station has come up in connection with allegations against Kelly. In October 2017, Kitti Jones, a former personality for hip-hop/R&B station KBFB/97.9 “The Beat,” alleged in a lengthy Rolling Stone article (also titled “Surviving R. Kelly” that she suffered abuse during a two-year relationship with the singer. Jones appears in the documentary.
Although Kelly has been the subject of such allegations for years, CNN reports that he is facing an investigation in Georgia in the wake of the series. Kelly has threatened to sue Lifetime over the documentary series.
As far as we’ve been able to determine, KRNB and K104 are the only stations that have dropped Kelly’s music at this writing. Here’s the full-length version of the KRNB announcement.