South side community radio station celebrates launch

ST. PETERSBURG — Sat., Feb. 18, the community is invited to celebrate the launch of WBPU 96.3 FM. Dubbed “Black Power 96,” this new radio station will serve the black community with locally produced music, news and information.

WBPU will offer professional broadcast training and volunteer opportunities to local residents as well as a place where the tremendous musical talent in the community can find a place on the radio airwaves.

The station’s starting lineup includes a dynamic morning show hosted by Gazi Kodzo and friends, an afterschool show hosted by local high school students, business and legal advice call-in shows and a weekly local artist showcase.

WBPU will also carry some nationally produced shows such as Black Agenda Radio with Glen Ford and an adult music show hosted by M1 of Dead Prez and Nerissa of “Africans You Should Know.” Listeners will be introduced to classic speeches from African leaders around the world including Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer and Marcus Garvey.

Today over 90 percent of the radio airwaves in the U.S. are controlled by six corporations, delivering identical Wall Street-controlled playlists.

WBPU’s signature sound is African music across the decades and from throughout the world. Station Manager Themba Tshibanda promises to deliver the best locally-produced mix with no degrading lyrics, from the likes of Erika Badu, Dead Prez, Lauren Hill, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone as well as new music from the continent of Africa and the Caribbean.

In light of the recent closing of Walmart and the struggle for economic life and services in the Midtown area, WBPU demonstrates the ability of our community to “do for self.”

WBPU is a project of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF), whose mission is to “defend the democratic and human rights of the African community and to address the grave disparities in health, education and economic development.”

The APEDF already operates several community businesses in St. Petersburg including the Akwaaba Hall events venue; the Uhuru Jiko licensed commercial community kitchen and the TyRon Lewis community gym.

APEDF President Ona Zene Yeshitela declares that “Black Power 96 exists not only explain the world, but to change it.”

Both the tower and the broadcast studio are located at the Uhuru House, 1245 18th Ave. S, recently renamed by the community as TyRon Lewis Avenue South.

The Launch Party on Feb.18 will begin at 10 a.m. with an open house and studio tours. Music and live performances will take place outside in the parking lot of the Uhuru House. At 2 p.m. there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and recognition of special guests.

The launch party is an opportunity for anyone interested in getting involved in the radio station, as a DJ, host, newscaster, producer or management volunteer to meet the staff and tour the station.

Vending spots are still available in the parking lot.

Contact Black Power 96 at or call 727-914-3614 for more info.

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