Before his friend Harvey Adams died, media mogul Eddie Edwards spoke with him about about finding a way to replace the loss of WAMO, the city’s last Black radio station. And at Adams’ funeral, Edwards said he promised he would do it.
Now it appears, Edwards is just days away from fulfilling that promise. He told the New Pittsburgh Courier he is still nailing down some loose ends, but plans to hold a press conference making a formal announcement early next week.
“Don’t be surprised if I announce that I have negotiated a deal to buy a property and put a Black radio station back on the air,” he said. “The numbers of African-Americans in radio have diminished since deregulation in 1996. Radio has done a horrible job employing minorities in this town. That has me fired up. I am hopeful to have something formal about it in a few days when I will call a formal press conference with all concerned.”
Edwards said he was “doing fine in retirement” until WAMO was sold in May. He praised former owner Ron Davenport for keeping it going as long as he did in the face of flagging advertising income.
“With no one doing anything to replace it, I got even more upset,” he said. “It’s a ‘Black out,’ there’s no news and information about and for the community. There are elections coming up and, right now, we have no input.”
Edwards said the lack of a Black station not only makes the city look bad, but is also bad for business and for attracting residents.
“It’s missed by everyone, not just African-Americans,” he said. “Can you imagine people looking at Pittsburgh for relocation asking, ‘Where’s the Black station?” and hearing there is none? We’re the only major metropolitan city without a Black radio station. We have 27 percent African-Americans in the city and, 13 percent in the county–that’s an audience that can’t be ignored.”
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