Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pittsburgh businessman to bring African-America voice back to local airwaves

Following the demise of two local stations catering to African-American listeners, Pittsburgh media executive Eddie Edwards Sr. promised to give the community a new radio outlet for the disenfranchised listeners. And so far, he's delivered.

Edwards has struck a deal to purchase WPYT (660AM), licensed to nearby Wilkinsburg, for the daytime-only AM station, with the intent of creating a news/talk format focusing on Pittsburgh's African-American community. The purchase price was reportedly $500,000.

The new format will not hit the airwaves any time soon, as Edwards needs to construct studios and hire a staff. He hopes to have that accomplished by early January.

In addition, he is also seeking out an FM station to fill the void left by the sale of WAMO-AM and FM several months ago. The two stations, purchased by Catholic operator St. Joseph Missions, have since changed to religious formats.

A proposed FM station would carry an adult-oriented classic R&B format, in contrast to WAMO-FM's more contemporary approach.

Edwards was highly motivated by bringing a black voice back to the local airwaves. He claimed, with a big mayoral election coming up in Pittsburgh, not having a radio voice for the local black community was "shameful."

All in all, it just goes to show how one person can respond to grassroots outcry, and deliver to a potential audience.


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