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by Diane I. Daniels
For New Pittsburgh Courier

History was made in the Pittsburgh community when Donna M. Baxter, CEO and founder of Soul Pitt Media and her team unveiled and circulated the first issue of the Soul Pitt Quarterly Magazine.

“The Soul Pitt Quarterly is the first of its kind in the community,” said Baxter. “It’s more than a magazine; it is designed to provide a colorful interactive experience for the reader.” A quarterly publication showcasing Pittsburgh’s minority arts and entertainment scene, Baxter describes the compact size publication as being designed for the reader to be able to talk, text, listen or log on to the Internet to engage. She says the vision and mission of the magazine is to focus on positive people, organizations, businesses and opportunities within the region.

AND HERE IT IS—Unveiling the Soul Pitt Quarterly in front of Dana’s Styling Salon in East Liberty is Mimi Gray, Ron Atkins, Donna Baxter, Craig Dawson, Dana Ramsey and Missy Murrell.

SPQ is inclusive of information and articles on business, entertainment, fashion, finance, health, historical information and religion. The top 20 cuts (music releases) for the quarter, newlywed photos and a “Soulcial Scene” section are also included. The cover story, “A New Winning Team for Pittsburgh,” in a telephone interview describes how Baxter, Ron Atkins and Craig Dawson have combined their expertise and resources to form Pittsburgh’s Minority Media Group. The conglomerate consists of print, radio and Internet.

The radio and Internet component of the media group includes RadioMagicPittsburgh.com and 101TheBlaze.com operated by Atkins, a former WAMO radio executive and Dawson, one of the top salesmen in the region. Aiming to capture a well- rounded audience, the two Internet radio stations play a mixture of music. RadioMagicPittsburgh.com’s playlist consists of R&B and classic soul for the mature adult audience and TheBlaze101.com, is geared toward hip-hop listeners.

Baxter and Terina Hicks host The Soul Pitt Xtra, a 15-minute radio show each week on WGBN radio AM 1150. It also streams online at http://www.WGBN.net. “The Soul Pitt Xtra Radio Show brings The Soul Pitt online services to life as it connects Web users with all the happenings in and around town,” Baxter said.

Thrilled about the possibilities and what the future holds for such a media merge, Atkins said The Minority Media Group is minority companies serving the minority community. “With our combined years of experience, our alliance is like a triple threat that offers a one-stop-shop to reach the Black community.”

Viewing Pittsburgh as a city with unlimited potential and opportunities, Baxter said she fell in love with the ’Burgh when she first came to the city to attend the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. A Johnstown native, she said, “When I first located here I thought I was in New York.” In 2000, she created the Soul Pitt site, http://www.thesoulpitt.com, to showcase the soulful side of the city. She points out that since then the site has really grown, receiving over 500,000 page views per month. “When people advertise on the site they get results and that is very important,” she points out.

Like the SPQ, Baxter said the Soul Pitt site offers its viewers an outlet to find out about minority-related events, entertainment and entrepreneurs in the community. “The Soul Pitt and the Soul Pitt Quarterly are quality products that should make Pittsburgh proud. They showcase the community in a positive light,” she said.

People involved in SPQ include Bonita Lee Penn, managing editor; Dawson, vice president of sales and marketing; Donald Patterson, circulation manager and Russell Carter, consultant. Layout and design was completed by Quelie Diggs and Soul Pitt Media. Photographers are Ahmad Sandidge and Iyana Tennon. Contributing writers include Leslie Askerneese, Sheila Beasley, Sabrina Clark, Monica Hayes, Kim Herd, Terina J. Hicks, C. Denise Johnson, Bonita Lee Penn, Iyana Tennon, and Connie Thornhill.

Excited about the relationships and networks being formed, the information being dispelled throughout the community, resources being exposed and the positive stories being told, Baxter said she is looking forward to SPQ increasing in pages and becoming a household name in the region. “This is an interactive tool that can be utilized in many ways. If people are not technology savvy I encourage them to step their game up. Otherwise they will be left behind,” she said.

Baxter is also looking forward to holding an interactive town hall meeting. “Wouldn’t that be cool? Having people call in sharing their views and being informed at the same time?”

Upcoming SPQ phone interviews will take place April 27 at 7 p.m. with Roland Ford. The number to call is 724-444-7444, the ID number is 7266#.

(To find out more or to receive a copy of SPQ, visit the Soul Pitt website at http://www.thesoulpitt.com or call 412-904-1603.)

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