Access.1 Communications has provided RBR-TVBR with a detailed obituary of its founder, Sydney Small, who died suddenly at age 72. Active to the end, the company says he was cycling when death came suddenly to the radio entrepreneur. Here is the obituary from his company.
Sydney L. Small
On Sunday, August 8, 2010, Sydney L. Small, a pioneer, visionary and entrepreneur in the media and communications industry died unexpectedly while cycling in Manhattan. Sydney touched many lives and will be forever cherished. He leaves to mourn his passing, his son Anthony Small, daughter-in-law Wanda Small, grandson Nathaniel, his lifelong friend Shirley D. Johnson and her son Ennis Johnson and his wife Natalie Johnson and their sons Ennis, Kareem and Joseph, his brother John Small and sister Gwendolyn Glass. He was preceded in death by his three brothers Vernon Small Jr., Eugene Small and Frank Small. He will be sincerely missed by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends; as well as his Access.1 Communications Corp. family and industry colleagues.
‘Sid’ Small was born on February 18, 1938 to proud parents, Clara and Vernon Small. He was raised in Brooklyn along with four brothers and one sister. Upon graduation from Eastern District High School in Brooklyn, he enrolled at Pace University, where he graduated with a degree in accounting in 1961. Immediately upon graduation, Sid was drafted to the United States Army where he received training as a marksman. He served his country honorably until 1963.
Finally, Sid was able to begin his illustrious career in communications industry at ABC Radio Networks where he oversaw all financial aspects of the four radio networks. From ABC, Sid went to Time Inc., overseeing the printing and production of numerous magazines including its signature magazine, LOOK.
In the early 70’s he co-founded Unity Broadcasting Network and National Black Network (NBN) with his former partners Eugene Jackson and Del Raycee. Unity Broadcasting owned radio stations in St. Louis, Philadelphia and New York.
In the 80’s Unity joined with Inner City Broadcasting Company and Time Warner to form Queens Inner Unity Cable, which obtained a franchise and constructed and operated a cable television system in Queens, New York. Sid also co-founded the World Institute of Black Communications/CEBA Awards, a renowned advertising industry awards program.
In the 90’s, NBN formed a partnership with Ronald Davenport, Sr. and Sheridan Broadcasting Network to form American Urban Radio Networks. After founding Access.1, Sid bought radio stations in Louisiana, New Jersey and Texas, as well as a TV station and syndication company.
Mr. Small was a founding member of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB). For over two decades, Mr. Small served on the Board of Directors for NABOB. He was a quiet, steady leader of NABOB, always providing wisdom and guidance to its members. During his tenure as a member of the NABOB Board of Directors, Sydney was at the forefront of all of the many efforts undertaken by NABOB to promote opportunities for minorities. In the 1980’s, he helped NABOB fight to preserve the Federal Communications Commission’s policies designed to promote minority ownership of broadcast stations, when the policies were attacked by the Reagan Administration. In the 1990’s he was a member of the NABOB team that met with numerous members of Congress in an attempt to persuade them not to adopt the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed consolidation of the ownership of the broadcast industry into the hands of few large companies. Over the past three years he was a leader in NABOB’s successful efforts to get the Arbitron ratings company to modify its Personal People Meter audience measurement service to better measure African American and Hispanic audiences. Over the past twelve months, he was a key member of NABOB’s efforts to obtain financial relief for minority broadcasters who have been hard hit by the national economic recession.
Sid received numerous industry awards and has been annually recognized as one of the Top Ten African Americans in Radio.
Mr. Small was the Chairman and CEO of Access.1 Communications Corporation, the parent company of radio station WWRL 1600AM; a 24-hour radio station serving the New York metro. Access.1 Communications Corp. also owns and operates 16 radio stations in New Jersey, Texas and Louisiana, a NBC affiliated TV station in Atlantic City, New Jersey, SupeRadio, a syndication company that distributes programming to over 1000 radio stations. Access.1 is a partner in American Urban Radio Networks, which is the largest network reaching Urban America with more than 20 million listeners each week.
Sid loved sports especially basketball and boxing and often attributed his competitive business acumen to his personal experience of playing basketball. He graduated from Eastern District High School in Brooklyn where he played point guard and was respected as a prolific shooter and passer. Sid played basketball in various leagues throughout New York City and was well known as a standout player at the coveted St. Johns Recreation Center in Brooklyn. As time passed he became a jogger and bicyclist but always remained an avid basketball enthusiast and could be spotted at Madison Square Garden on a regular basis.