Catch a Nur-D show and support local radio on Friday, Oct. 28, 5-9 p.m. at Urban Growler Brewing (2325 Endicott St.).
“I love Nur-D’s energy and stage presence!” said WFNU co-founder Katey DeCelle. “WFNU has been playing Nur-D’s music since his first album was released, but I hadn’t seen him perform live until recently. At the Central Honors Philando event this summer, Nur-D performed and I was blown away. Not only is he an amazingly talented performer, he got the crowd up and moving, and added even more positive energy to the event. I knew I wanted him to play at our fundraiser as soon as I saw him perform!”
Expect dancing and a lot of energy. “You aren’t gonna see me hold anything back from you, and I perform like it’s my last day on the planet,” said Nur-D. “Lights, color, sound – every show the plan is to try to blow your mind. My team, my band, and myself do everything in our power to make sure that everyone who comes out to a Nur-D show is given a safe space to be themselves. Dance, sing, cry, laugh, shout – you don’t have to worry about looking cool or doing the ‘right thing.’ All you have to be is yourself.”
Shimmer will host the Halloween costume party that will feature a costume contest, vendors, a food truck, DJs and more. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Kids get in free. The show benefits two local radio stations, WFNU 94.1 that serves the Frogtown area and KRSM 98.9 that serves south Minneapolis.
LOCAL RADIO STATIONS BREAK NEW MUSIC
Nur-D appreciates local radio stations like WFNU and KRSM, that were some of the first to play his music.
“Local radio is what breaks what’s next. It’s the first step to the wild music world,” Nur-D said. “It’s the first interaction many young artists have with music as a business venture, which is incredibly valuable. Local radio allows for a newcomer to an area to get the pulse of it, feel how it is, hear how it talks. As an artist it can help you find like-minded creators in your area, and allow you to gain inspiration for the people around you.”
DeCelle added, “Local radio excites me because it puts a spotlight on the art, and leaders in our community, that sometimes mainstream media misses. We offer free radio broadcast and journalism trainings for community members, giving residents control over the narratives they want to tell and a platform to share their talents. I also really love that we get to hear music and news from our neighbors!”
The Oct. 28 benefit merges two great communities together: Frogtown and south Minneapolis. “In the Twin Cities community radio scene, most radio hosts know about their show and the station they are on, but don’t have the opportunity to meet other hosts outside of their station,” said DeCelle. “This will be the first time WFNU and KRSM have collaborated on an event, and I’m excited for WFNU hosts to meet KRSM hosts.”
Nur-D appreciates the passion in which these two radio stations have to uplift their community. “It’s rare to feel that a company or organization has a loving heart for people sometimes. Often one can feel like a commodity, the thing needed to keep the lights on. And even if that’s true to some degree it has always felt that KRSM and WFNU are doing so much of what they do because they love it,” said Nur-D.
“That’s not something you can find everywhere. It’s really special to see and be a part of.”
THE BEGINNING OF WFNU 94.1
Philip Gracia helped co-found WFNU. “When I was young I used to listen to a radio up to my ear, and pretend that I was doing a play-by-play of the sport I was listening to,” he recalled. “The radio announcers always captured my attention as they shared the sport in detail through story.”
But he didn’t think he could do it as a job.
“The barbershop is a community gathering space in the black community. My shop, The Grooming House, is no different. It was there I learned about WFNU from another patron who wanted to do a show. It was then that I realized my love and interest of radio could be something I actually did,” recalled Gracia. “In a matter of days we were in the radio station recording our first show ‘Real Talk With Real Brothers.’”
WFNU started with humble beginnings with a very small spot in a collaborative retail building in Frogtown which basically consisted of a table with broadcast equipment. From there, the small non-profit moved into a rental location in the basement of a Frogtown church. “Here we were able to start building more of a permanent presence for our volunteer broadcasters, but access to the building and size of the space limited how our volunteers could engage and how we could grow our programming,” said Gracia. “WFNU now currently has an office suite in Capitol Ridge Building that allows access to all our of programmers, and has increased the safety and professionalism of our operations.”
In 2021, WFNU added a mobile app that has greatly expanded its listening audience. It offers on demand programs which provides more exposure for broadcasters with no geographic boundaries. This app has also played a part in allowing WFNU to venture into paid advertising with local businesses who can placed ads on the app.
Gracia values the way local radio serves the community. “Recently I saw a poll that stated that the future of radio includes the top two categories as podcasts and local radio. There is a need and a desire for our listeners to hear news and music from their communities. Community radio offers a unique opportunity to bring underrepresented voices to the airwaves. WFNU has also been very involved in engaging our youth in radio programming to tell their stories and build their skills.”
WFNU continues to offer free radio broadcast trainings for community members. Community members can serve on the board, fund raise, and write grants, and plan events. To learn more, email station firstname.lastname@example.org or browse WFNU.org/contact.
WFNU will be hosting its second annual Frogtown Radio Gala Dinner at DeGidio’s Restaurant on Monday, Nov. 14. “This event was a huge success for WFNU last year and we’re so excited to be doing it again!” said DeCelle. “Stay tuned to WFNU and wfnu.org for more information about the gala.”
KRSM 98.9 STARTED
WFNU and KRSM began around the same time. They were part of advocacy work of several media watch organizations, including Hope Community, Voices For Racial Justice, Little Earth of United Tribes, Main Street Project, and the Native American Community Development Institute, as well as a volunteer base of over 100 neighbors. KRSM officially launched in November 2017. It is located in south Minneapolis at the Phillips Community Center.
Listen at 98.9 FM if you are in the metro area listening range. If not, download the KRSM Radio app for Android or iPhone, or at www.krsmradio.org. To volunteer, reach out via the website.
The mission of KRSM is to provide a platform for elevating the voices, narratives, and cultures of those communities with a history historically ignored, misrepresented, and erased by traditional media; and to serve as an on-ramp to jobs in the fields of broadcast media, audio recording/engineering/production, investigative journalism, and voice-over work.
Andrea Pierre was approached by Brendan Kelly, the founder of KRSM, to volunteer when it started. Initially, she helped with committee work, but felt the urge to have her own show. She volunteered at the station for six years before becoming station manager.
She has always loved media, and attended camps as a teen for journalism and reporting. “I have listened to radio all my life,” said Pierre. “Growing up in Saint Paul, we would put a wire hanger to increase our signal to hear KMOJ back in the 80s at my house. It was exciting to hear voices on air that I could relate to and sounded like the elders conversation at the kitchen table.”
There is another full-time employee in charge of the KRSM Youth Internship, and a part-time person who manages the website and programming. “We are a very small crew so my days are hectic. I can be meeting with community in the morning, spending lunch at our transmitter site in the afternoon, and in the evening with our youth doing narrative work,” stated Pierre.
KRSM is growing. They will be celebrating their five-year anniversary, and expanding the “Ladders to Leadership” model with the KRSM Youth Internship.
“I love how WFNU and KRSM both have authentic connections to the communities they serve,” said Pierre. “We are consistently getting feedback on the unique programming we have on KRSM. Folks can hear programs and commercials in multiple languages and topics that they can relate to from their peers.”
HELP SAVE COMMUNITY RADIO
“WFNU is funded by donations from our listeners, grants and underwriting sales. We are a small non-profit with two part-time staff, so the planning and success of fundraisers like these are crucial to help keep us on-air,” said co-founder DeCelle.
“It is hard to keep funding consistent as a Low Power FM because we operate solely via grants, underwriting sales and community donations,” observed Pierre. “We have been written out from receiving state funds like other stations. WFNU and KRSM have so much alignment when it comes to our values, what we do, how we support local artist and how we are stewards for historically ignored voices. It made sense to begin to work together to save community radio.”
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