A Revolt-ing problem

HUGHE DILLON / PHILLY POST DJ Damage (right), with brother Reuben "Big Rube" Harley.
HUGHE DILLON / PHILLY POST DJ Damage (right), with brother Reuben "Big Rube" Harley.
Posted: January 15, 2014

PASADENA, Calif. - Starting Jan. 27, former 107.9 DJ Abdul "Damage" Muhammad will be co-hosting a new, live daily show for Sean Combs' Revolt network.

Too bad the Temple grad's Philly fan base won't be able to see him on TV.

Launched to some fanfare in October, Revolt's TV channel, part of what's described as a "multi-genre, multi-platform music network," is one of four minority-owned cable networks chosen by Comcast for distribution on its systems as part of a deal that helped win the company federal approval for its acquisition of NBC.

So, why is the network, available in about 20 million homes, including places like Pittsburgh, Seattle and the Bay Area, not on in Comcast's hometown?

Revolt president and co-founder Andy Schuon can't really say.

"We are on in a majority of the Comcast digital basic homes today and all of the Time Warner Cable digital basic homes," he said Sunday during a session at the Television Critics Association's winter meetings. "But not in Philadelphia at the moment, [though] people are noticing that they don't have it. And Damage's background there is helpful in our marketing to get us on in Philadelphia."

Muhammad, who'll go by DJ Damage on Revolt, will co-host the daily "Revolt Live," with Sibley (a/k/a MC Sib Vicious), a singer and former stylist.

Muhammad had been contemplating the move from radio to television since graduating from Temple in 2011, he said.

"I actually worked on BET for a little bit when they were looking for new hosts," but that didn't work out.

"This was two years ago. And it didn't happen, and I went back to radio [at 107.9], and I had a good time doing that."

People he'd worked with "started casting for Revolt . . . and they brought my name up," he said. "I went on a series of auditions, I interviewed with Puff [Combs] and that was it."

The younger brother of the Daily News' Street Gazing photographer, Reuben "Big Rube" Harley, and of dancer and choreographer Abdur-Rahim Jackson (who's in "Black Nativity"), he comes, he said, from a "fun-filled family."

"She's great," he said of his mother. "She's a little older and she looks like she's 25. She has a great spirit, great energy. She always calls us and motivates us."

The 24-year-old also credits Girard College's boarding school for his success.

"It taught me how to be independent very early, how to be outspoken - I was actually student-body president at that school - I loved it."

Of the proposal, temporarily postponed, to end the boarding program at Girard, he said: "It really hurts, because having that boarding-school aspect and staying there overnight was something that really helped me be who I am today."

He hadn't always planned a career in television, he said.

"I was always a DJ. But I thought becoming a DJ would be great because I don't have to talk. And I don't have to be in front of people. I could run the party and I could be off to the side.

"I think it kind of evolved. When I started in radio, I was so afraid to speak and my program director started making me speak, and I'm like, 'I think I'm really good at this.' And then doing the radio for a little bit, that was my lifelong dream. I wanted to take it to the next level. I didn't want to keep doing the same thing. Because I did radio so young and I was doing, really, a good job at it, I wanted to take that next step, take a risk and be afraid about it. . . . I always want to have that fear going into something new."

Being on camera is "so different than being on radio. You've got to worry about how you look, what you're doing with your hands, it's so many different things," he said.

At Temple, "I studied broadcast and telecommunications . . . but I just came into this being myself. They loved it."

Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

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