(BALTIMORE – September 25, 2023 ) – Many radio hosts have come through the ranks at WEAA 88.9 FM. Al Stewart was one. He was a legend. April Ryan did, too. Now, she’s at the White House. Dr. Jesse McDade Bey – well, he was iconic. Sandi Mallory. Dr. Tyrone Powers was also a powerful and radical voice for change. Big Jim, Gossie Hudson, Dr. Charles Chizzell. The list goes on and on. Ahk. Papa Wabe. Neil Matei.
On October 11th from 6 to 8 pm, BMORENews.com and supporters will salute the Honorable Congressman Kweisi Mfume at Colin’s Seafood at 1728 E. Northern Parkway in Baltimore.
Sure, he has been a stellar political force, including the day he was arrested for protesting South Africa while calling for divestment from the apartheid regime. However, he is also a Founding Father of Morgan State University‘s own WEAA 88.9 FM.
Congressman Mfume told BMORENews.com, “The founders were me along with Al Stewart, Debyii Sababu, Tipper Burton, Charles Fant, and Doris Hawkes. The first day on the air was January 10, 1977 at 3 pm. That’s when I opened the mic and announced WEAA was officially on the air.”
“He was the first programmer, director of the station, the first voice heard on the air, the first creator of two-way talk, and he made sure jazz was programmed into the rotation,” said Gary Ellerbe. “I believe he also brought Mary Carter Smith there,” he added.
Gary “Prime Time” Ellerbe, who worked at WEAA off and on for 15 years, “was merely the host, producer, director, researcher, and programmer of my own program.” He said, “I loved jazz too much for me to do anything else. It’s the only art form that started on the shores of this country. Every other art form came from overseas somewhere.”
According to WEAA Operations Director Mike “Nyce” Middleton, “WEAA represents the jazz connection in the community with great shows like Bill Harvey with the “Magic Byrd Show”, Doc Manning, and John Tegler … they held the station down.”
He added, “These shows combined with Kweisi’s love for jazz made WEAA a staple in Baltimore’s jazz community. That’s what made WEAA. Today, we have big shoes to fill.”
WEAA has been growing a solid reputation for 46 years for its news, jazz, and, on Sundays, good old gospel music.
“Congressman Mfume has been a longtime supporter of our efforts here at BMORENews.com,” said publisher Doni Glover. “It is truly our honor to celebrate this legendary man who is the quintessential public servant and also a media mogul. We can’t forget his show on WBAL TV 11. He inspired many of us who followed the same path of media including coming through the doors at WEAA. Faraji Muhammad, Anthony McCarthy, David Brown – WEAA has been a staple in Black media in Baltimore for 46 strong years and we just want to pause and take a moment to say ‘Thank you’ to a man who helped open the door for so many of us.”