WURD Radio, Pennsylvania's only Black-owned talk radio station, headquartered in Philadelphia, launched an FM station on 96.1 FM on Wednesday morning.
The new FM station, a sister station to 900AM-WURD, will simulcast 24 hours a day in Philadelphia, enabling WURD to broadcast over an expanded area and reach a significantly larger audience than allowed by their AM station.
"At a time when the number of Black-owned media outlets is shrinking, and in a political climate when our voices must be raised louder than ever, preserving the legacy of Black radio is especially important," said WURD Radio President and CEO Sara Lomax-Reese.
WURD's new FM station was made possible by the FCC's AM Revitalization initiative which takes advantage of radio broadcasting rule changes including the relaxation of the minimum antenna efficiency standards, among many other changes.
The Black-owned station features a variety of talk shows including "The Lounge," a weeknight show geared toward millennials hosted by Keaton Nichols; Solomon Jones' "Wake Up With WURD" featuring news commentary and guest interviews; the culture- and arts-centric show "The MOJO" hosted by Stephanie Renée; and a live broadcast of Philadelphia City Council every Thursday by Vincent Thompson.
WURD also hosts community events like the upcoming Annual Festival at Parkwest and WURD Wellness Pavilion on June 3; partners with other Philadelphia media organizations like WHYY to bring speakers to the city and host panel conversations; and publishes a social justice podcast.
"The core of independent Black radio is a celebration of heritage and activism. It goes beyond entertainment; Black radio convenes the community and being present on the FM dial will help us touch even more people to share crucial information," said WURD General Manager and Sales Director Monica Lewis.
In addition to launching an FM broadcast, WURD will restructure its online medium, migrating its website from 900amwurd.com to the new wurdradio.com, and switching all social media platforms to the handle @onwurd.
At this year's Festival at Parkwest, WURD will celebrate the new FM station and web relaunch.
"We continue to expand delivery of our powerful urban storytelling platform, and we are actively bridging on-air content to online and community programming," Lomax-Reese said.