BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Last month gospel radio station WRXB went dark after 40 years of uplifting the African-American communities of Tampa Bay. But do not despair; what was once dark is now light again.
Former WRXB radio personality and host of “Undignified Praise” Richard Guess has created a worldwide radio station that will serve up the best inspirational, traditional, contemporary, quartet, Stellar Award gospel music, with a touch of smooth inspirational jazz 24 hours a day.
“I’m not really starting a ministry. I’m continuing the ministry that God has placed on my heart for years,” he stated.
Guess said he is willing to do whatever is necessary to get gospel music back into the households of Tampa Bay because of the “lifeline that I know that it gives to the people that are burdened, distressed and going through situations in their lives.”
Guess stressed that music is a healing force of the universe and feels it can restore spirits, regulate minds and lift burdens. His mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the form of music.
Launched last Monday, his radio station entitled Undignified Praise (UP) can be listened to on the internet (www.upradio.org), through Facebook (UP Undignified Praise and Worship) or by downloading the app at Google Play Store (search UP Undignified Praise) or Apple App Store (search Up Radio Richard Guess).
Guess will host “Undignified Praise and Worship,” from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. His time slot will consist of inspirational, traditional, contemporary, quartet, Stellar Award gospel music.
He is still in the process of creating local programming, but for now, from noon to 7 p.m. he has syndicated programs running from top artists such as Dorinda Clark, Melvin Williams, Dottie Peoples, Hezekiah Walker and other well-known artists. From 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., UP will be serving up contemporary and traditional gospel for your listening pleasure.
In between the soul-stirring music, there are announcements, news and weather, advertisements and soon-to-come community affairs programming called the “Community Vineyard.” School Board member Rene Flowers has expressed interest in hosting a half-hour show to keep parents abreast of the latest happenings in Pinellas County Schools.
Guess is looking to secure programming from agencies such as the Housing Authority, the police department, health agencies and other service-oriented entities to fill in time slots throughout the week.
“Anything that’s vital to our community where they can inform us and keep us informed,” said Guess. “Anything that we can get to educate our community is going to be vital, so we can bring every agency that wants a half an hour program—we can bring them in.”
Southside Tabernacle and Princes Denise Wright have both expressed interest in a weekly show to further their ministries much like the ones they had on WRXB. Churches and ministries will hold time slots on Saturdays and Sundays.
Richard Guess is shown here giving an informational session on how to plug into “Undignified Praise and Worship Radio” to members of Southside Tabernacle
Now is the time to secure a time slot while programming is in its infancy. For $100 a month, the community, ministries and churches will get a weekly half-hour slot, any announcements you’d like to share with the community throughout the week, a page on the UP website and mentions on Facebook.
“I’m hoping that the people here will support it,” he said. “We’re hoping they [the community] will support this venue, this ministry because I think it’s vital, I think it’s needed and the people are desperately waiting to get that music back into their homes.”
UP’s base of operations is in Guess’ home studio. A half-hour show can be taped there or off-site by linking up with UP’s phone line or by sending a clean digital recording to the studio where Guess will ready it for air. Gone are the days of traveling to a studio, UP is bringing St. Pete gospel and community affairs radio into the 21st century.
To introduce the community to the new station, Guess will host a large informational session complete with a gospel choir and refreshments Saturday, Jan. 6 from 6-8 p.m. at the Enoch Davis Center. Everyone is asked to bring a cell phone, laptop or tablet to take part in the demonstration on how to get connected to UP.
If you can’t wait until Jan. 6, Guess will come out to churches, ministries and even homes to give quick informational sessions for those interested in buying time slots or just need help plugging into the station. If you are interested, please call (727) 418-4363.
For UP to be a success, it will be vital for the local community to support it.