99 Jams celebrates sixth year, recognizes community leaders at Manhattan Casino on April 2

Tomorrow, 99 Jams will celebrate its 6th anniversary and the community is invited to come out for musical performances, a raffle, refreshments, and food vendors.

BY J.A. JONES, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – This Saturday, April 2, WUJM, 99 Jams will celebrate their sixth anniversary with a full day and night of events.

The celebration kicks off at noon at the radio station, located at 3521 5th Ave N, St. Pete. The station’s DJs and radio personalities will showcase their musical offerings all day long, along with musical performances, a raffle, refreshments, and food vendors.

Radio talent such as Roots Connection’s DJ Snypa, Blues & Oldies Moments of Passion’s Tony Charles, Friday Night Old School Show’s The Zeeman and Co-Host Ajay, The PAC JAM Show’s Ric G DJ R One, Classic Throwback Jams’ DJ Rich, and others, will be spinning the grooves.

Live entertainment will be provided by local and international artists, including Cheff the Entertainer, King Russel, Wayne Stoddart, and Sojo The Ladies Champ.

After the day’s events come to a close at 8 p.m., fans who register can head over to the Manhattan Casino to continue the celebration with a semi-formal awards presentation and fundraiser.

Donald Jackson, 99.1 Jams operator and general manager

Donald Jackson, 99.1 Jams operator and general manager, noted that it took the Caribbean Festival Association (CARIFESTA, Inc.) 12 years to attain the station’s radio-broadcasting license in 2015.

The organization built the 99.1 FM radio station at 3625 Central Ave. and officially launched Saturday, April 2, 2016. Since then, the station has been providing a wide variety of musical programs playing gospel, reggae, old skool, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, Latin music, and soca.

Community leaders and activists have also had long-time programs airing local news, issues, and topics.

Local interest shows include the Tampa Bay Breakfast Club with Bro John Mohammad and Jabaar Edmond, What’s at Stake with Dr. Manuel Sykes, Legal Talk​ with Attorney Michelle Fanger, the Everything Health Show, as well as the education program Youth Explosion with Donald Jackson and Avril Williams.

Jackson shared that the sixth anniversary was conceived with the idea of the evening ceremony of recognition as a highlight. “We are recognizing our efforts and the contributions of our personnel, show hosts; we’re all volunteers,” Jackson said.

Adding that withstanding six years in the business hasn’t been easy, Jackson wanted to pay respect to his personnel and staff, who have “really stuck it out.”

“We had some hard times, rough times,” he noted, acknowledging that while the community has contributed, during some years up to 40 percent of costs, that still left more than 60 percent of costs unaccounted for – on the best years. Jackson has used his own finances to cover the expenses.

But, for him, the important thing has been that “we put all the sources together to keep the radio station alive.”

And post-COVID, he also felt the radio station staff and community leadership should be given credit.

“Personnel took it upon themselves to do the shows from home during COVID. We shut the station down, and the DJs chose to do their shows from home. I provided the platform and the means that the technology that they could work from home — that the way the station never stopped.”

The award ceremony starts at 9 p.m. at the Manhattan Casino.

“We want to recognize not just people from the station but also people who have also been giving services to the community. The station just wanted to take the lead to recognize those folks who have been working within St. Petersburg, the local leaders, some of them who have never been recognized for their efforts. We want to just say that these people were our unsung heroes.”

All festivities are free, but reservations are required for the award presentation. Click here to register for the 99 Jams 6th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser and Awards Banquet at The Manhattan Casino.

To reach J.A. Jones, email jjones@theweeklychallenger.com

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