On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Susan Davenport Austin, Chairwoman of the Board, Broadcast Music Inc. Austin was appointed as chairwoman of the board of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) in October of 2011. She is the first woman and first African American to lead the board that she has been apart of since 2007.
A distinguished and highly respected media executive, Austin currently serves as a director and as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation and President of the Sheridan Gospel Network. Austin holds a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Austin’s family founded Sheridan in 1972. Sheridan is the majority owner and manager of American Urban Radio Networks, the number one ranked radio network reaching African Americans in the U.S. Prior to joining SBC, she spent 10 years in investment banking, specializing in telecommunications and media finance. She served as a vice president in the Communications, Media and Entertainment group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. She also worked for Bear, Stearns & Co. and Salomon Brothers Inc.
BMI collects license fees on behalf of the more than 550,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers it represents and distributes those fees as royalties to members whose works have been publicly performed.
As a performing right organization, or PRO, BMI issues licenses to various users of music, including television and radio stations and networks; new media, including Internet services and websites and mobile technology businesses such as ring back providers; satellite audio services like SiriusXM; nightclubs, discos, hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses; digital jukeboxes; and live concert venues.