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Alleviating Payne


Orlando's most radical disc jockey, Junior Payne `Rebel without a pause, Aug. 31`, has stepped down as head of pirate radio station 95Live (95.9-FM) after a disagreement with his business partner over control of the three-year-old underground hip-hop station.

Payne, whose stage name is NSX, decided to quit the station last Monday and take his popular "Afternoon Crash" talk show to a low-watt station he's putting together in Miami. He plans to simulcast the signal over the web and back to Orlando on the 93.9 FM frequency.

"I'm 25," Payne says. "I need to make some moves while I'm young. By the time I'm 30, I hope to have a couple of million in the bank."

For all of Payne's controversial on-air rhetoric, it was a song that sparked his resignation. Malik Abdul, whose stage name is Copafeel, played a record on his weekly show by a local artist who Payne vowed would never be played on 95Live. "I'm the CEO," Payne says. "I'm the boss. If you go behind my back, it gives these knuckleheads in the street credibility."

Payne, who is on probation for felony and misdemeanor convictions, was also concerned about getting in trouble with police again. On Sept. 30, a fight broke out at a "quest for the best rapper in Florida" event at a west Orlando nightclub. Several 95Live DJs hosted the competition. "That made me think a little bit more," says Payne, who was out of town when the fight occurred.

Abdul saw his dustup with Payne as a matter of creative differences. NSX had become a liability, Abdul says, because he would hurl on-air insults at public officials and 95Live's own advertisers.

"To tell you the truth, he and I, we peaked," Abdul says. "It came to the point where he couldn't go any further with me. . . I lose from the standpoint of friendship. But from the standpoint of business, I'm probably winning."

Abdul sees Payne's absence as a way for 95.9 to build continuity. The station will now be strictly music, including a new Spanish hip-hop show. "No more talk shows," Abdul vows.

Sitting in the barren 95Live offices, Abdul contemplates the future of the station. "Is there going to be a drop-off?" he asks. "That remains to be seen."