For years Edward Long, son of the late Bishop Eddie Long, dropped by the downtown Atlanta office of “Hurricane” Dave Smith, vice president of programming and operations at Radio One. He often left his phone number, flyers, demos and notes requesting a meeting with Smith.
Last year, his persistence finally paid off.
On Jan. 31, Long launched “Lit Nights With Ed” on Praise 102.5 FM, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The late-night gospel-themed show airs from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 p.m. to midnight Saturdays.
Long doesn’t think Smith was ignoring him all those years. “He said we would get together,” Long told the AJC. “It happened. It was the right time and the right place.”
Radio was Long’s passion since his days as a student at Stephenson High School. He practically grew up in his father’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church since the age of 4.
“My dad always told me I was just ahead of my time with ideas and music,” he told the AJC. It’s not so much pulling out new tricks, it’s just being who I’ve always been.”
Long led the Youth Conference and other youth groups at the church before attending Florida A&M University where he graduated with a degree in business administration. He later studied at Beulah Heights University.
Long, 36, said he never wanted to preach – although he was disappointed when he was passed over as leader of New Birth after his father passed from a terminal illness in January 2017.
Long, the son of Eddie and his first wife, said he thought he would fill his father’s shoes at the megachurch that once boasted a congregation of 10,000.
Instead, the board hired a pastor from an affiliated church in Birmingham. When that pastor resigned, Long again thought his chance had come to lead his father’s flock.
But when he was passed over again – this time for Pastor Jamal Bryant, Long felt the pain of rejection.
Long told the AJC what he first thought was depression was actually feelings of rejection of being “where I thought I should be.”
Long launched a weekly Bible study group called “Wine & the Word” which he held at local venues including nightclubs.
“Topics may touch on faith, sin, pride, relationships or the beginning of the creation,” he said. “A lot of times, the conversations get heated.”
On his Lit Nights radio show Long plays music by T.I., Rico Love and Chris Brown laced with inspirational vitamins.
“They all have a story or testimony,” he said about the hip-hop music he plays to connect with the youth. “They may not be talking about faith. They may just be motivating someone to go out and get a job or pursue a dream.”
He said he would never play traditional gospel music, like the Clark Sisters, because they don’t speak to his target audience.
“Oh, 100 percent – probably not. And its not them. They just don’t make the music that will resonate with our audience. If they did, then let’s go.”