Today we’d like to introduce you to Keenan Copening.
Hi Keenan, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am grateful for the invitation to be part of the Voyage Magazine platform, and I am honored to be included. I will do my best to remain as honest as possible because this journey differs from the usual one, and I won’t be pulling any punches. The best way to explain my truth is pure and uncut. Although some may not subscribe to the context of my journey, it’s mine, and I experience it. My name is Keenan Copening, and I was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. I am an entertainment promoter, producer, writer, and president at Bar None Entertainment LLC and the owner of Condo Jamz Radio. When I was six years old, I began this exciting journey. I remember hearing my mother playing gospel vinyl albums by Vanessa Bell, John P. Kee, Bébé & CeCe Winans, the Mississippi Mass Choir, and so many others while she was cleaning up around the house. From there, I began recording secular music compilations from my stereo system onto cassette tapes, which are now obsolete, featuring some of my favorite recording artists.
You had to have an arsenal of jokes ready for them, or they would literally roast you. Although I played on a few basketball teams growing up in the club, I knew playing sports was not my calling since I would receive technical fouls for disrespecting the officials and making shots from half-court. Another honorable mention goes to Dr. Moriel McDuffy, who has a degree in mental health and was an early influence on my decision to train in fitness when I started lifting weights with him and a few other club members at 18 years old. Dr. Moriel was always a fantastic brother, and no one could ever say anything negative about him. Also, it was he who introduced me to recording artist Musiq Soulchild’s debut album “Aijuswanaseing” in 2000, which is one of my all-time favorite albums. I am genuinely grateful for the childhood they have provided for my peers and me. All of them were good examples of what a father figure should be, which is lacking in many black households even today.
When school was out, my brother and I spent the summer months in Temperanceville, VA, with my grandmother and her husband, who worked for Tyson’s chicken plant. As a child, I enjoyed spending the summer months down south, where we explored nature and learned about southern hospitality. We would catch everything from toads to rabbits to turtles, knock down a few wasps’ nests, and run afterward. A wasp stung my head when I messed with the wrong nest one day, even while running 100 miles an hour, and I was done with that game. As children, we were wild and adventurous and used to catch bees from the grass using our bare hands, put them in a jar with beetles, and watch them fight. Today’s children suffer from video games, iPads, and cell phones, and they don’t have an outlet for their lives. For many years, my grandmother worked in a nursing home and was a devoted Christian who served on the usher board for Macedonia Baptist Church in Bloxom, VA, and made us recite bible verses. She braided the girls’ hair and kept the boys in the barbershop for our haircuts. She ironed and pressed our clothes for Sunday morning service every Saturday evening, as she was strict about always making sure we looked good while out in public. Going to church was not an option for us in her house, as she wanted us to know and develop our relationship with Christ.
She was the nicest person and grandmother in the world, but was firm when necessary. Her door was always open if you needed her for anything, and she would feed anyone. She would play kickball and baseball and could dance her ass off. I’m telling you, my grandmother was so hip that she would even drive a lawnmower tractor to keep her yard trimmed and train us on how to use it, as she and her husband owned a couple of acres of land. We had to get up early every morning to clean, hang clothes on the line, and do any other chores that needed to be done, and again, we didn’t have an option. They would take us on trips to state fairs; watch the fireworks on the 4th of July; and to Assateague Island, where we would relax and watch the wild horses race on the beach. Later in life, she also became an eastern star for several years before passing in 2010. During the late nineties in my teenage years, I took part in many radio contests on 101.7 Kiss FM, which broadcast the top seven songs at 7:00 pm, where I dominated the phone lines as caller number seven and won a million times. Among the prizes awarded were two CDs. At 13, I took part in these contests, and at 37, it’s remarkable that people still remember hearing me on the radio back then. Once I got to the studio, I would always convince DJ Mellie Mel, the jock hosting the program at the time and who was also one of my influences for getting into the radio business, to give me a couple more CDs, which he was fine with. Still, I knew I was pulling his leg.
It’s interesting how I started on the airwaves. After broadcasting online radio for about four months on a platform in the United Kingdom, I began researching the rules and regulations governing broadcasting. It provided me with a great deal of insight into the radio industry. In one month, I had an audience of over 4000 listeners, which was very impressive. It was like the allure or the ultimate high since I desired another hit of it. After that, I met a country music radio jockey on social media, Les Durrant, a quirky white guy from Arkansas, who taught me how to create better content. Initially, I was unpolished, and Les instructed me on how to categorize music for better rotation.
It was my uncle, who was a DJ on the side for special occasions, that suggested I start a radio station. Still, I wasn’t interested until a couple of years later, when the idea resurfaced, and I realized, “Man, I can do this,” Now we are approaching five years on our platform. We’ve listed on over 30 radio directories online, which is record-breaking for a local online station. The radio industry has provided me with a great deal of knowledge, from licensing to music charts. As music jocks, most people think we sit back and play music all day, but that’s not true since we work hard behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When people ask me where the name Condo Jamz Radio came from, I say, well, whenever you create a brand, step outside the box, and be creative and unique, which is why I started producing radio from my very own condominium. We syndicated the Sheryl Underwood Radio morning podcast for two years. Her team of producers discovered us online and asked us if we were interested in broadcasting their show. I mean, who the hell would say no to that? This proves that when you create a brand, promote it on social media as much as possible with hashtags and constantly post because you never know who will notice.
As the producers of her show could not quantify the listenership for Neilson’s rating system, the show ended for us. Although it was heartbreaking and beyond my control, I had to move on. It was an honor, and I hope it will serve as a valuable addition to our professional resume in the future. I will always be grateful for the opportunity. Since Kiss FM disbanded in 2007, Delaware hasn’t had a station that caters to the urban market. Our goal was to fill the void in our state and provide you with quality music. Although the streaming market is over-saturated with competition, we are not concerned about this, since we wish to be considered an alternative, especially within the tri-state region.
From 2009 to 2017, I ran a YouTube comedy channel with 58 thousand subscribers and over 27 million views worldwide. I lost track during the “YouTube Apocalypse” debacle when advertisers who would normally spend top dollars on ads boycotted the platform after discovering their ads were appearing next to antisemitic and terroristic threatening videos. The platform lost millions of dollars, which affected my revenue, and I pulled the plug on my channel. Content creators invested a lot of time and energy into their platforms, and having something like that happen was devastating. Because of the situation, one woman threatened to bomb YouTube’s headquarters because it was some people’s livelihood. As a result, I decided I wanted to produce my very own stand-up comedy films and events.
It wasn’t long after that I became involved with promoting stand-up comedy events under Bar None Entertainment LLC and produced a high-quality show at the Queen Theater in August 2019. Which is now owned and operated by the conglomerate Live Nation and is one of the oldest venues in all of Delaware. In 1978, they built it as the Indian Queen Hotel, which later became a movie house in 1916, before African Americans could even step inside the movie theater. While it was an incredible accomplishment, I would never step foot in that venue again unless it was under new ownership, and that’s all I will say. Even though I’ve always had a knack for entertaining and making people laugh, my early influence for getting into the comedy business came from sneaking and watching BET’s Comic View television series in 1994. Comedians “Cedric The Entertainer” and “Miss Laura Hayes” hosted the late-at-night showcase. I would record episodes on VHS as my mother would walk in and turn off the television, reminding me I had school the following day. Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to network with some great minds in the industry. I have to give a special thanks to Dante Carter, who has appeared on HBO’s Bad Boys of Comedy, Def Comedy Jam, and BET’s Comic View. He is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met, and he helped me produce my first film by showing me all the things that go into running a production, like what outfits to wear on camera, lighting, and how to address the audience, etc. Before I put on my first comedy event, I talked with him for over three hours, and I thought, here’s someone who’s been in the business for nearly 30 years at least and has been involved with some big productions on major networks, and he took the time out to share some knowledge and wisdom with me. There are many assholes and cutthroats in the entertainment business, but I can honestly say that Dante is not one of them, and his integrity is unquestionable.
Thea Vidale, a 30-plus-year stand-up veteran I grew up watching, had a sitcom on ABC which is one of the major three networks on television in the early 90s that co-starred Brandy Norwood, who you may remember from the television series Moshea. Thea and I have had millions of conversations over the years. She told me once that if you want to be successful, you should never segregate the dollar and make content that appeals to all. I believed she was the first black female in history to have a sitcom in her own name. Rodney Dangerfield discovered her, and she appeared on his HBO special “Where’s Rodney?”, Def Comedy Jam, Comic View, Law & Order, Jerry Springer’s Ring Master film, WWE as Momma Benjamin, and “Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen” featuring Tim Allen, Chris Rock, Bill Hicks, and Jeff Foxworthy, to name a few. As a pioneer in this industry. She has also kicked down many doors for many of us and groomed me for this business. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity and will never forget her.
Belynda Cleare is a Nova Scotia native and a Pennsylvania comedienne who can sometimes be harsh in her criticism. Still, she is a great mentor in comedy who only wants to see people succeed. She lays it on thick, and, like coke, it’s pure and uncut, which sometimes is needed when lending advice to someone growing in business. I am more inclined to respect someone straight-up and honest than one who is a yes-man. When she speaks, I listen simply because she has 30 years of experience in the industry and was just featured on the Fox network for her years in comedy.
The late D’Militant, who was a comedian and a historian of the business from LA and who wrote for Katt Williams, Deon Cole, Don D.C. Curry, Sommore, and others, helped me out a great deal by sending me scripts from Comic View, where he produced several seasons of the television series. Having met some assholes in the industry, I am grateful that he was willing to give back to someone that wanted to learn. This past summer, I had the pleasure of working with comedian Damon Williams, who stated that my service as a promoter was top-notch, which was the ultimate compliment I could have ever received. He was an actual class act, and I learned so much from him. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. I grew up watching many of these guys, so working with them was an honor.
I want to acknowledge that my family just buried my grandmother, my father’s mother, in September. I knew her for being a strong, sassy, and jazzy lady. She worked at the Hercules Research Center in Delaware for 29 years before retiring in 1999. May she rest in peace. In January 2023, I will produce my second stand-up comedy film, as I would like to bring more production to our state and work on community outreach programs, which are important to us. Our organization currently donates to the homeless community and believes in giving back to those in need. I hope that I have made my mark and become a trailblazer in my state and an influence for others who wish to follow in my footsteps.
What should we know about Bar None Entertainment LLC? Appreciate you sharing that. Please tell us more about your business or organization.
Bar None Entertainment LLC is an entertainment company in Wilmington, Delaware that promotes public events and Condo Jamz Radio on the Live365 Network.
What should we know? What do you do, what do you specialize in / what are you known for?
As an entertainment company, we promote, market, and sell products to consumers, organize events, get insurance coverage for the venues, write event guidelines for ticketing websites, create graphic designs (flyers, posters, and business cards), draft and negotiate contracts, and manage talent. Our duties at Condo Jamz are uploading, broadcasting, editing commercial music, researching music charts, categorizing tracks, creating schedules for radio clock wheels, and writing promotional DJ drops, sweepers, and jingles. We only book stand-up comedy shows, but we expect to expand into other areas, such as podcasts and other projects, in the future.
What are you most proud of brand wise?
Promoting products and putting smiles on people’s faces is what we enjoy most. From viruses to natural disasters, killings, political madness, and so on, the world has seen so much devastation, and we would like to entertain you for 90 minutes or whatever.
What do you want our readers to know about your brand, offerings, services, etc.?
Condo Jamz Radio is an internet-based radio station that broadcasts the best in Urban Adult Contemporary, Classic Soul, and Old School Hip Hop music from the Billboard Hot 100, and Adult R&B charts on the Live 365 Network in which some have compared its style to Philly’s own WDAS FM. On February 15, 2023, we will celebrate our station’s fifth anniversary. Bar None Entertainment LLC will put on a fantastic show regardless of the event, with stellar performances from all involved, so grab your tickets when you hear the name.
- Email email@example.com
- Website: https://live365.com/station/Condo-Jamz-Radio-a74972
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/barnonecomedylive/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keenan.copening
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/comedypromoter1
Event Promoter Keenan Copening Blue Pin Stripe Suit Keenan Copening Damon Williams on the left Derek Lee Red Vest Dante Carter has the afro Belynda Cleare is the female sporting all black Charles Walden has a yellow shirt on Mike Bonner has the all back suit on with the bald head.