New radio station WYXR's initial staff includes (from left) Shelby McCall, Robby Grant, and Jared Boyd.
As Toby Sells reported in July
, there's a new kid on the block, and its name is WYXR
. It's the latest activity stirring in Crosstown Concourse, which has partnered with The Daily Memphian
and the University of Memphis to make the station a reality. Today, paper covering the station's broadcast room windows, which face out onto the Concourse atrium, will come down before the station begins broadcasting at 5 p.m.
Program director Jared Boyd spoke to the significance of the station's location in July: "When you walk into Crosstown Concourse, it won’t be hidden. The nuts and bolts of the operation will be showcased behind glass right in the lobby of the Central Atrium. By design, this community-minded radio station will not just broadcast to its audience, but live and breathe alongside it."
The frequency 91.7 FM was formerly used by U of M's WUMR, the city's premiere jazz station. Re-imagining the university station last fall led to the partnerships that helped create WYXR. And from the beginning, the new non-commercial station has kept community service at the heart of its mission. Also at the center of that vision is cultivating a sense of freedom.
As executive director Robby Grant said this summer, "By taking a free form approach, we want to begin finding personalities and DJs who have their own tastes and things they’ve grown up loving and sharing with people." Since then, the station has indeed recruited a diverse stable of DJs, covering a multitude of genres and aesthetics.
For those who relied on WUMR's jazz programming, never fear: the new station will feature plenty of jazz of all stripes, including DJ Jim Duckworth's return to spinning rare pre-World War II jazz platters. Much indie rock, blues, rock 'n' roll, gospel, hip hop, avant garde, and even "unpopular pop" will be highlighted as well, with DJs running the gamut
from Goner's Zac Ives to Juan Shipp, former pastor at the Greater Abyssinia M. B. Church for over forty years and founder of the Memphis-based D-Vine Spirituals record label.
Every Friday at noon, tune in to Radio Flyer
, an hour's worth of news and music from The Memphis Flyer
, hosted by associate editor Toby Sells and music editor Alex Greene. In the first half hour of every show, Sells will interview guests and other Flyer
reporters about their beat for the week. The second half will be devoted to music, with Greene spinning cuts reflecting that week's reporting and the Flyer
's entire history of arts coverage, including exclusive excerpts from interviews.
In today's Daily Memphian
, Boyd summed up the experience of preparing for launch in the age of quarantine, and the payoff of manifesting community bonds today, now that it's all going live. "Every exhausting step up a U-Haul ramp with a box of records; every trip to a large, whirring transmitter in a suburban shed; and every angry email from a jazz-lover devoted to the station’s old format," he writes, "was manageable once I saw the eager eyes peering back at me over the cloth face-coverings of Memphians, many of whom I’ve admired in my own comings and goings, but never imagined I’d see in a room together, working toward a common goal."
WYXR 91.7 FM goes live today at 5 p.m. with a special on-air party hosted by Robby Grant and Jared Boyd.
Special Inaugural Broadcast Schedule:
• 5-9 p.m. - Robby Grant & Jared “Jay B.” Boyd Kickoff Party
• 9 p.m. 11 p.m. - Time Passage w/ Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT
• 11p.m. 12a.m. - The Mado Experience / Mado
• 12 a.m.- until ... - *SPECIAL GUEST DJ*