Week showcases station’s growth

Florida A&M University’s WANM-FM 90.5 is hosting a week of events to show love and appreciation to listeners.

Sean “Sean D” Woods, the station’s operation manager, said the weeklong events are for everyone.

“90.5 week gives us a chance to give back to the community,” he said. “I am excited about all the events because it also gives us a chance to meet a lot of people such as listeners and underwriters.”

Promotions Director Deidra ” Dee-Dee Rock” Fields, agreed with Woods saying the celebration gives the “Flava Station” the opportunity to meet and greet supporters and introduce the radio personalities to the community.

“I’m excited about all the events, but one of my most anticipated events was the Gospel Extravaganza,” Fields said.  “For years we’ve had high ratings for the station’s gospel show, and this is our first time actually reaching out to our gospel listeners.”

The Gospel Extravaganza was held Sunday.

Not only is the staff excited about giving back to supporters, but they are also excited about what the “Flava Station” has become and how it has helped many students over the years.

James Hawkins, dean of the school of Journalism & Graphic Communication, said when he arrived to FAMU in 1977 the station’s call letters were WAMF.

It was a 10-watt station and could only be heard in limited parts of the city because the signal did not reach far.

“The station could only be heard in Tucker Hall,” Hawkins said as he laughed. “However, it went from 10 watts to 100 watts, and today it is 1600 watts.”

Hawkins added that he used to be the manager of 90.5 and an on-air personality.

There was no automated system to play music when students did not show up for their sessions, so Hawkins had to over.

“It’s an awesome transformation to watch the station grow from what it was back then to a very appreciated station in the Tallahassee community,” Hawkins said.

Keith Miles, the general manager of 90.5, said he has also seen a major transformation since he started at the station in 2001.

“I’ve seen it become a more realistic version of what students will experience in commercial broadcast,” Miles said.

According to Miles, there are many students currently working in the media industry who received training from 90.5.

Miles called Rachel Shackelford and Rae Oglesby great examples because they were once 90.5 news directors and now, both work at CNN.

Gregg Bishop, who was a business student and news director at 90.5, progressed to program director, and finally became operations manager, Miles said. “Now he is an assistant to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” Miles added.

Elton Gumbel, the first black sports director at WCTV-TV, was a former 90.5 sports director.

According to Miles in 2004, the station was nationally ranked # 2 for the best college radio station and was ranked #1 for the best HBCU station by the Princeton Review.

Miles also said the station was recently named the best college radio station of the South by the Southeastern Journalism Conference.

“We’re really proud of the station and hopefully will continue growing the next generation of broadcasters,” Miles said.