New Local Hip-Hop Radio Program Features Cleveland's Up-and-Coming Talent

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click to enlarge Courtesy of DJ Ace and the Insomniac - DJ Ace (left) and the Insomniac.
DJ Ace (left) and the Insomniac.
Courtesy of DJ Ace and the Insomniac
REAL 106.1 FM has just launched Homegrown, a new local hip-hop program hosted by local DJs Ace and the Insomniac. The show features interviews with local artists, producers and DJs.

Prior to Homegrown, Tony “The Insomniac” Ferguson hosted the popular online radio show and podcast The Late Nite Show, a hip-hop program that featured interviews with national artists like Tyrese and Common. Formerly the official DJ for Machine Gun Kelly, Ace still does sets at local nightclubs.

Ferguson says they started the program to give local hip-hop acts some much-needed exposure.

“We’d constantly hear local artists saying they have no radio support compared to artists in other major cities,” he says. “There’s really a lot of talent in Cleveland, and the city has birthed major stars like Bone Thugs N Harmony, Machine Gun Kelly, Kid Cudi and on and on. So we wanted to change the narrative of there not being any local support from radio and show that REAL 106.1 is totally in support of local talent. What better way than to create a show that does just that — put the spotlight on Cleveland talent. Since these are homegrown artists so to speak, naturally, we call the show Homegrown.

So far, the show has featured guests such as Keevon Malik, a local artist who frequently gets compared to Drake, and singer and multi-instrumentalist Kiahna. Local rappers DubXX and Dre Walton have also been guests.

“We have an artist on nearly every show and allow them to talk to the people directly, and some even freestyle on the show,” says Ferguson. “Cleveland has some major hip-hop and R&B talent. You’d be surprised at how many of the artists in Cleveland have songs with national recording artists. But, the city needs to embrace our local talent more. A lot more! The scene is thriving, the artists are collaborating more. There’s opportunities to perform in our biggest venues, and this is really just a great city for this talent. But you’ve had to really search for these artists in the past because they’ve had no local platform. Now that the city has a platform like Homegrown, I only see it getting even better since all of this talent will no longer be hidden.”

Ferguson says he also hopes the show will help local acts get to the next level.

“We truly want to help the artists progress their careers and show the world that we have talent just as great as any other city, right here in Cleveland,” he says. “We want the artists to feel like they now have a platform and [know that] the days of not being able to get their music on the radio are gone. They can definitely be heard on Homegrown...both on REAL 106.1 and on the iHeartRadio app which has over 120 million registered users. We also want listeners to see that Homegrown is the No. 1 music discovery place for local talent.”

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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