Miami firms bicker over loss of Grammys

MIAMI: One Miami PR firm is blaming another for the city's second

annual loss of the Latin Grammys to Los Angeles, this time three weeks

before the September 11 show date.



The Latin Recording Academy (LRA) said it was forced to move the show to

LA because a Miami city plan placed Cuban protest groups too close to

the festivities.



Ritchie Lucas, CEO of CreatAbility - which pitched for and lost the

Latin Grammy account to Burson-Marsteller, Miami - said proper PR could

have prevented the change in venue and loss of a potential $35

million to $40 million in civic economic revenue. Lucas said his

PR plan, which was rejected by the Latin Grammys, was to communicate

with protest groups before the show.



"A real, true PR test is how do you prevent this from happening," said

Lucas. "For the Grammys to pull out because of security issues should

never have happened if the PR had been done right."



Ron Roecker, director of communications for the Latin Grammys' parent

organization The Recording Academy, and Jorge Ortega, MD of

Burson-Miami, said Lucas' complaints are sour grapes.



Citing the academy's experience with GLAAD's protest at the last Grammy

awards, Roecker said protests are manageable if handled correctly.



"We had meetings with the Cuban exiles. But the city could not ensure

with the number of people, there wouldn't be issues with physical

danger."



Roecker said his current goal is to promote the reason for the awards:

celebrating excellence in music no matter who makes it or where it is

produced.



Ortega is also focusing on the future, not the past: "There's a lot to

do in the next three weeks. Our job right now is to get the news out as

to what's going to be happening at the actual events taking place in

LA."



- See Profile, p. 17.



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