WNCU to celebrate 20th anniversary

Aug. 04, 2014 @ 01:58 PM

WNCU, the public radio station affiliated with N.C. Central University, will begin celebrating its 20th year on the air with a free, public reception Aug. 13. The reception is the first in a series of activities leading up to August 2015.

The reception will include remarks from WNCU General Manager Lackisha Freeman, NCCU officials and live music from NCCU music professor Robert Trowers, co-host of “Eagle Jazz” at WNCU. 
The reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Farrison-Newton Communications Building at 1801 Fayetteville St. The station also will be open for tours. 
Since it went on the air in August 1995, WNCU, 90.7 FM, has dedicated the bulk of its programming to classical and modern American jazz. Announcers B.H. Hudson, Aasim Inshirah, Steve Taxman and others host jazz shows.
The station also has programming that highlights other forms of American music, as well as international music. Carolyn Ryals, Carolyn Satterfield and Walter Hatcher host gospel shows on Sundays. Jim Davis hosts “8-Track Flashback” and Howard Burchette “The Funk Show,” which air Saturdays in the afternoon and early evening. Bouna Ndiaye hosts “Bonjour Africa.” Other programs feature the blues, reggae and other styles. The station also presents local and national news and public affairs programming.
The 50,000-watt station fills a niche for jazz in Durham and the Triangle. The only other radio station dedicated principally to jazz is WSHA, affiliated with Shaw University in Raleigh. Duke University radio station WXDU, UNC station WXYC, and community radio station WCOM in Carrboro also present some jazz programming.
The anniversary celebration continues throughout 2014-15, with a wide variety of events and activities. The station will have a remote broadcast from the Blue Note Grill Aug. 18, and a live broadcast from the Cuban Revolution restaurant Aug. 29. WNCU will host several other events over the course of the year. 
“This yearlong celebration is a tribute to our listening audience, corporate sponsors and our university for their support throughout the years,” Freeman said. “This is truly an exciting time for WNCU and a pivotal moment in our history as we catapult into many more years of success.  We are the most listened to jazz station in the Triangle.  I thank everyone for keeping WNCU relevant and pushing to keep this public radio station around for future generations.”
Freeman has been the general manager of WNCU since September 2010.
Before Freeman, Edith Thorpe was the general manager. She came to WNCU in April 2001. Donald Baker worked in the early days of WNCU with former NCCU chancellor Tyronza Richmond to lay the framework for the station. Baker, WNCU’s first general manager, secured the license for WNCU-FM under then chancellor Julius Chambers.