WAMO old, new unite for PBMF

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In honor of African-American music month, an event sponsored by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation on June 30 reunited several legendary WAMO 106.7 DJs. The evening also saw the emergence of the new WAMO 100.1’s community commitment as they partnered with PBMF to raise money for the organization’s Urban Journalism Workshop.

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MEDIA LEGENDS—From left: Urban Journalism workshop Co-Director Chris Moore, Brother Matt, Debbe Parker and Sly Jock share a laugh. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

“It’s Black music month and I thought what a great time to welcome back Black radio to Pittsburgh. Radio is one of the things we celebrate through our Urban Journalism Workshop. I think it shows a sense of unity throughout the community that we are able to come together for our children. I’m grateful that (WAMO) decided to partner with us,” said PBMF President Tonita Davidson. “I just think it’s a great opportunity to see all the old radio personalities come back and come together for a good cause and it’s great to see unity between the old and the new. It’s great to see, just as a person living in Pittsburgh.”

Proceeds from the 2011 Black Urban Radio Reunion Party held at Melange Bistro Bar will benefit the Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop. Each summer, the week-long workshop gives local high school students a taste of what it is like to work for a newspaper, television network or radio station.

“(WAMO is) dedicated to promoting and helping promote young students who want to be involved in the media. In this field, experience is so important. WAMO gave me experience when I was just starting out,” said the former WAMO 106.7 intern and current WAMO 100.1 radio personality Mike Jax. “This organization is going to be doing that and giving people opportunities. It’s important to me to be a part of an organization that does that.”

The event served as a chance for the public to meet the new staff at WAMO 100.1 and allowed them to put faces to the voices they hear on the radio. But, it was also a chance for WAMO 100.1 staff to meet the people whose footsteps they are following in.

“At first it was a little overwhelming, stepping into a brand that was already established. Now I’m just enjoying breathing in the air of all those legends who were here before me,” said Tim Steele, WAMO 100.1 program director. “Being a Black person in the media, it’s important for me to reach out. Now you have two groups coming together like this who can help youngsters who want to be in the media.”

While the WAMO 106.7 DJs spent their time reminiscing with their former colleagues, they also had words of encouragement for the new staff at WAMO 100.1, especially the on-air talent.

“There were a lot of disc jockeys that came through the city of Pittsburgh. A lot of legends got their start here,” said Frank Greenlee, former WAMO jazz program director and DJ. “The young jocks have to understand one thing; you have to make a commitment to the community.”

“Everyone in this room who’s just getting in the business, I have two words for you—have fun,” said Debbe Parker. “It’s really great that we have a station back on the air.”

“I think the new station is something the city needed definitely. It’s what the city needs and it sounds good too,” said Sly Jock. “I came out because I want to see the old crew. I wanted to see the new jocks too.”

PBMF also received a proclamation from the mayor’s office in honor of African-American Music Month, to celebrate the return of WAMO and the commitment PBMF has made to aid youth pursuing careers in the media.

“Isn’t it good to have WAMO back. I think it’s great that WAMO’s back on the air,” said Ed Gainey, coordinator of economic development for the mayor’s office. “We need an outlet for the urban community and for the youth especially.”

PBMF is an organization of journalists, communications specialists and students who support Black journalists and the Black community; host programs that recognize excellent media coverage of minority communities; and train young people to enter the media industry.

“We’re really trying to get the chapter revitalized,” said C. Denise Johnson, event chair. “I think WAMO is interested in establishing itself in the Black community.”

“I think it’s important that we have two different networks that have the same goal in mind. It has a great theme to it,” said Michael Rose, PBMF member. “It’s a good way to market the new station to people who want to know the personalities, to get to know the people behind the microphone.”

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