On October 28, 2016 at 3pm a new radio station WHPB THE WIRE 98.5FM will hit the airwaves in the Pine Hills area in Orlando, Florida. The nonprofit Low Power FM radio station will serve the Black community 24/7, playing R&B and Hip Hop music and fill the much needed void of local and national information relevant to the community. The Wire will also be streamed live online at TheWire985.com. Radio pioneer Paul Porter and former Black Entertainment Television (BET) executive, on-air personality and founder of RapRehap.com will serve as the program director. Porter has already secured well-known local and national guests for the launch including; Joy-Ann Reid from MSNBC; James Brown, CBS Sports; Byron Hurt, Filmmaker; and Donnie Simpson, BET and radio icon. This full service community station will also offer a mentorship program in media and entertainment to local residents.
In 2002, Paul Allen Billings, the WHPB general manager was the first African American to receive a Low Power FM radio station in the United States, WUVS 103.7 FM in Michigan. He has been a long-standing advocate and mentor to people of color looking to expand local radio and empower communities. “So much of what we hear today on mainstream radio is programming and desensitizing our children to violence and misogyny”, says Billings. “THE WIRE 98.5 will include cultural programming and give residents of Pine Hills a voice that reflects their concerns.”
WHPB 98.5FM is just one of 2000 FM Stations across the country that received new licenses from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the last two years. The FCC’s only requirement was that the applicants be nonprofit organizations committed to broadcasting locally originating programs.
“After the deregulation of radio, Black radio saw the elimination of local news and the increase of entertainment news with a 25 song national playlist. There’s still a need for local news and information, The Wire will fill that void and play music not dictated by corporate playlists. We are excited to give true meaning to being ‘a voice of the community’“, says Porter.
The Wire 98.5 FM launches October 28 will serve the primarily African American community of Pine Hills and Metro Orlando. The mission of The Wire is to educate, empower and entertain the community. The station will be a 24/7 full service station and will also be live streamed at THEWIRE985.com.