2022 Celebrate Black History

WPKN 89.5 FM radio celebrates Black History Month throughout February 2022 with a broad and in-depth program including music, poetry, interviews, authors, and film.  This unprecedented one-month recognition of Black history intends to develop a deeper understanding of the history of Blacks in America and celebrate their inestimable contribution to all aspects of American culture. On-air programming is FREE and in-person live and live-streaming events are low-cost for attendees. Click here to check out the full calendar of events.

Live Music Events

WPKN is proud to offer three live (and live-streaming) events in February: BRIDGEPORT-THIS IS US – A Celebration Of African-American Musicians at the Bijou; Funk Night at the Bijou! with LE MIXX, ANTHEM, and The WHAT UP FUNK BAND at the Bijou; and Deeper Than Skin Concert at the Unitarian Church of Westport. Click to learn more

On-Air Programming

Throughout the month, programmers will present interviews with African-American musicians, noted Africa-American authors, poets, with pre-recorded speeches and discussions featuring Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Cornel West, authors James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, spoken word artists Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, and the famous appearance of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956. Special Features will include Tell Me How Long Trane’s Been Gone, a 5-hour award-winning audio documentary on the life, music, and legacy of composer and saxophonist John Coltrane, and a 10-hour Peter Tosh Celebration. We offer more than 50 programs spread throughout the month. Click to learn more

Films

In light of the current Covid situation, films will be shown as part of the Juneteenth Celebration at the Bijou Theatre including Summer of Sound (The Black Woodstock), Homecoming: The Story of African-American Farmers and I’m Not Your Negro (James Baldwin). Click to learn more

WPKN Black History Advisory Committee

We are delighted to have a committee of respected community leaders join WPKN. These volunteers are helping to direct the content of our celebrations, provide their insights and knowledge, and engage the community for a richer experience.

Leading this esteemed committee is Ebong Udoma, who is acting as Advisory Committee Chair and has been a volunteer with WPKN for forty years.

Ebong Udoma
WPKN Black History Advisory Committee Chair
Read bio
Jason A. Coombs
Read bio
Rob Fried
Read bio
Sheena Graham
Read bio
Kris Sealey, PhD.
Read bio
Christina Smith
Read bio
Dwayne Smith, PhD.
Read bio
Rev. D Stanley Lord
Read bio
Preston Tisdale, Esq.
Read bio
Richard Wenning
Read bio
Kim Bianca Williams
Read bio

WPKN Black History Month Community Events

This Is Us Black History Month

Bridgeport – This Is Us

February 4 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

NV23 Productions in conjunction with WPKN Presents “BRIDGEPORT - THIS IS US, A Celebration of African-American Musicians” Live and Live-Streaming with an all-star lineup!

Funk Night at the Bijou

Funk Night at the Bijou

February 19 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

In celebration of Black History Month, Mega Bass Productions and WPKN FM present Funk Night at the Bijou! Three hot bands, ONE HOT NIGHT!

Deeper than the Skin at Voices Cafe

Reggie & Greg: Deeper than the Skin

February 20 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

On Sunday, February 20th at 7:30 pm, Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway bring their signature performance, Deeper Than The Skin, to Voices Café, in-person and live-streamed.

WPKN Hosts With Special Programming

In celebration of Black History Month, the following hosts have special programming they would like to share. So save the date and listen in for amazing music, special spoken word presentations, and interviews.

Steve di Costanzo
Radio Base Camp
February 1, 8, 15, 22, 7 AM

Feb 1: Under The Radar Black Bands, Vocalists and Musicians

Feb 8: Out of Africa. Black Music in Africa from the 1960’s and 1970’s

Feb 15: Special Guest DJ: Dr. Dwayne Smith, President of Housatonic Community College – “Old Soul Reimagined.”

Feb 22: From Biloxi to Bijou Square – All Vinyl Show of Deep Blues Cuts.

Read bio

Alec Cumming
Snap, Crackle, POP!
February 3, 4 PM

This upcoming episode of “Snap Crackle POP!” is a tribute entitled “Magic In The Air: The Big, Orchestral Pop Sound of Black America”. Starting with The Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby” in 1959, we’ll examine and salute the use of strings and elaborate production values in black pop music – focusing on Motown, the Brill Building and the ‘Philadelphia Sound’.

Read bio

Herman Olivera III
Rehumanize Yourself Radio
February 4, 2 AM

I intend to honor black artists who have shaped modern music and added color to our world. We wouldn’t have MUSIC today if it wasn’t for the original architects of sound.

Join me as we span across multiple genres from artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Prince, Bad Brains, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Sade, Miles Davis and more.

Read bio

Emma Speer
Emuse
February 4 & 18, 9 AM – 12 PM

Both shows this month will explore Erykah Badu’s albums New Amerykah Part I (4th World War) and New Amerykah Part II (Return of the Ankh). The albums, released in 2003, post-9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, consider the black experience in America throughout history.

Feb 4: The first Emuse will explore Part I, which hones in on the struggles of the black community.

Feb 18: The second show will explore Part II, which exalts in black joy. We’ll learn about the inspirations, musical components, history, and later sampling’s of each song. As Erykah says, “When I get off my knees, I might recall I’m twenty feet tall.”

Read bio

Bob Anderson
A Little Bit of Everything
February 5 & 11 4 PM

Feb 5: A Tribute to Texas Blues, Swing and Cool Jazz Artists including Slim Galliard, Percy Mayfield, Mary Lou Williams, T-Bone Walker, Etta James, Nina Simone, Floyd Dixon and many more…

Feb 11: A Tribute to Sweet Soul Music Part II featuring Icons of Rhythm & Blues and Soul Music with The Isley Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams, Tina Turner, James Brown and more greats.

Read bio

Garnett Ankle
Fill In for Mikki’s Room
February 5, 10 PM

1. Bob Marley, whose birthday starts during my last two hours of the show and needs no introduction.

2. Dennis Brown, a Jamaican singer who is referred to as the Crown Prince of reggae music. Brown was born February 1, 1957 and passed away July 1, 1999. In fact, I was on the air at another radio station hosting a show the day Brown passed away.

3. William Alexander Clarke, better known as Bunny Rugs was born February 6, 1948 and left us on February 2, 2014. Bunny Rugs was for many, many years the lead singer of the reggae band called Third World. He was widely respected all over the world, including the band which continues to play with another outstanding lead singer, in A.J. Brown.

Read bio

Al Bell
Cool Blues and Records Show
February 6, 7 PM

The history of Black vocal groups, from the first recordings in the 1890s through the golden age of vocal groups in the 1950s. Plus poetry from black poet Antoinette Brim-Bell.

Read bio

Rick Petrone
The Jazz Sound
February 7, 14, 21, 28 at 1 PM

Featuring the award-winning Tell My How Long Trane’s Been Gone , a 5-hour audio documentary on the life, music and legacy of John Coltrane by producer Steve Rowland. (Parts 1-5 over several shows).

Read bio

Jim Motavalli
February 8, 9 PM

Jim Motavalli discusses black cowboys with Don Flemons and Allan Harris

A discussion of unheralded black cowboys with two experts—Allan Harris, a jazz singer whose stage show Cross That River explores the lives of the black cowboys he encountered as a child; and Dom Flemons, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who made the Black Cowboys album for Smithsonian Folkways. It’s all tied in his book The Real Dirt on America’s Frontier Legends and The Real Dirt on America’s Frontier Outlaws, which have quite a bit on black cowboys.

Read bio

Mark Naftalin
The Mark Naftalin Show
February 9, 4 PM

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Mark Naftalin spins “Blues & Soul 45’s”

Read bio

Martha Lewis
The Flux Capacitor
February 10 & 24, 10 AM

Feb 10: A celebration of the rich musical history of women of color. From Big Mama Thornton to Janelle Monae we groove to songs and sounds exploring the dazzling depth and variety of talent in a whirlwind ride to jump-start your morning…

Feb 24: A high-octane dance party in celebration of Black History Month! This show will offer a time-traveling mix of Blues, Jazz, Rock, Soul, Funk and beyond. Expect a bit of Prince, Joan Armatrading, Ruth Brown, Ronnie Spector and Stevie Wonder to name a few…

Read bio

Joseph Celli
My Other Music
February 14 & 28, 9 AM

Feb 14: Speeches by Martin Luther King, interviews with writers Toni Morrison and James Baldwin and spoken word artists Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters with early jazz by Scott Joplin and Louis Armstrong.

Feb 28: Early American jazz with Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Scott Joplin, Buddy Bolden and speeches by Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey and poetry by Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and others.

Read bio

Michelle Morgan
Love and Communication
February 18, 11 PM

Featuring black and queer black musicians working in the indie/punk genres including Mykki Blanco, Gravy Train, serpentwithfeet, Skinny Girl Diet, Big Joanie, Pleasure Venom, The Tuts, Blood Orange, Shamir, Nova Twins, and more.

Read bio

Steve di Costanzo
GM Report to the Listeners
February 21, 12 PM

Interview with the Executive Director of the Mary & Eliza Freeman Center in Bridgeport and Board Chair Bernicestine McLeod Bailey. The Freeman Center seeks to restore, preserve, and ensure the viability of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses; teach the history of Connecticut Blacks; revitalize the surrounding South End community; and facilitate the preservation and revitalization of other African American, and greater Bridgeport historic preservation communities.

Read bio

Amy “The Night Nurse” Wachtel
Rockers Arena with the Night Nurse
February 26, 4 PM

Organized by Icon, WPKN will be paying tribute to Reggae Legend, Steppin Razor, Original Wailer and Activist PETER TOSH on Saturday, Feb 26th from 1pm-12M. Station DJs Ebong, Garnett Ankle, Icon and myself, the Night Nurse, will be hosting . My shift will be 4-7pm, and I’ll feature the interview I did with him on WBAU-FM in September 1986, play some live concert footage from the Dominion Theatre in London 1983 and Live from My Father’s Place in Roslyn, NY from 1978. Call-ins from Eppy of MFP and others who worked with the Mystic Man will be included.

Read bio

FULL WPKN BLACK HISTORY MONTH CALENDAR OF EVENTS

FEB. 1: TUE

7 – 9am, Steve DiCostanzo: Radio Base Camp – Under the Radar Black Bands, Vocalists, and Musicians

1 – 4pm, Lisa Sahulka/Afternoon Jazz: Focus on the work of Black women in jazz

8:30 – 9:30pm, Richard Hill: Rainy Day Radio with Bishop John Selders, director of Moral Mondays CT

FEB. 2: WED

7 – 9am, Ebong Udoma Global Beat: Contemporary Music From Africa

FEB. 3: THU

10am – 12pm, Hold for special BHM programming

1 – 4pm, Michael Dunham: BHM Month Special (and prelude to Feb. 4 concert)

4 – 6:50pm, Alec Cumming – Snap, Crackle, Pop: “Magic Is in the Air,” Big Orchestral Pop Sound of Black America

FEB. 4: FRI

2 – 6am, Herman Olivera: Rehumanize Yourself, Honoring black artists who have shaped modern music and added color to our world

9am – 12pm, Emma Speer: EMuse, Focus on Erykah Badu’s albums New Amerykah Part I (4th World War)

8 – 10pm, BRIDGEPORT-THIS IS US – A Celebration Of African-American Musicians (Live at the Bijou & Live Stream)

FEB. 5: SAT

4 – 7pm, Bob Anderson: A Little Bit of Everything Celebrates Black History with a Tribute to Texas Blues, Swing and Cool Jazz Artists including Slim Galliard, Percy Mayfield, Mary Lou Williams, T-Bone Walker, Etta James, Nina Simone, Floyd Dixon and many more…

10pm – 12am, Garnett Ankle: Black History Month Reggae special for Mikki’s Room

FEB. 6: SUN

12 – 2am, Garnett Ankle: Black History Month Reggae special for Mikki’s Room

5:30-6pm, Joseph Celli: Mic Check, Black History Guest, TBA

7 – 10pm, Al Bell – Cool Blues And Rare Records Show: History of Black vocal groups, from the first recordings in the 1890s through the golden age of vocal groups in the 1950s. Plus poetry from African-American poet Antoinette Brim-Bell

FEB. 7: MON

9am – 12pm, Johnny Be Good features Legends of African-American Music including Paul Robison, the Staple Singers, Big Mama Thornton, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Billy Holiday, Ray Charles and more.

1 – 4pm, Rick Petrone: The Jazz Sound featuring the award-winning Tell My How Long Trane’s Been Gone (PT 1), a 5-hour audio documentary on the life, music and legacy of John Coltrane by producer Steve Rowland

4 – 7pm, Kevin Gallagher: Digging in the Dirt: Black History Month Interviews and Music

8 – 10pm, Scott Harris: CounterPoint TBD

FEB. 8: TUE

7 – 9am, Steve DiCostanzo: Radio Base Camp – Out of Africa: Black Music in Africa from the 1960s & 1970s

1 – 4pm, Lisa Sahulka/Afternoon Jazz: Focus on the work of Black Women In Jazz

4 – 7pm, Netta Walker: Black History Month Special

8 – 11pm, Jim Motavalli discusses Black cowboys with Don Clemons and Allan Harris

FEB. 9: WED

7 – 9am, Ebong Udoma Global Beat: Contemporary Music From Africa

9am – 12pm, I Messiah: Mirror Ya Vibes with Reggae

1 – 4pm, Bob Johnson: Second Saturday Magazine – BHM Programming, TBA

4 – 7pm, The Mark Naftalin Show: Blues & Soul 45’s with Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Charles Brown & many more

FEB. 10: THU

10am – 12pm, Martha Willette Lewis: The Flux Capacitor, The rich musical history of women of color, from Big Mama Thornton to Janelle Monae

1 – 4pm, BHM Programming TBA

FEB. 11: FRI

9am – 12pm, Nikea Pierre-Louise: Zanj Radio with a focus on Haitian culture

1 – 4pm, Rocker’s Arena with Night Nurse: Reggae programming

4 – 7pm, Bob Anderson: A Little Bit of Everything, A Tribute to Sweet Soul Music Part II featuring Icons of Rhythm & Blues and Soul Music with The Isley Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams, Tina Turner, James Brown and more greats.

10pm – 12am, Mystery Girl: Shut Up & Listen – Black Voices Matter – Black Artists, old & new, independent & mainstream

FEB. 12: SAT

12 – 2am, Mystery Girl: Shut Up & Listen – Black Voices Matter – Black Artists, old & new, independent & mainstream

FEB. 13: SUN

7 – 9am, Garnett Ankle: Solidarity – Culture from the Black Diaspora

9 – 10am, Garnett Ankle: What’s Your Point – A discussion of issues facing the black community

FEB. 14: MON

9am – 12pm, Joseph Celli: My Other Music (MOM) celebrates Black History Month with speeches by Martin Luther King, interviews with writers Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, and spoken word artists Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters, Sonia Sanchez, and Amiri Baraka, and early jazz with Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong among others.

1 – 4pm, Rick Petrone: The Jazz Sound, featuring the award-winning Tell My How Long Trane’s Been Gone (PT 2), a 5-hour audio documentary on the life, music and legacy of John Coltrane by producer Steve Rowland

8 – 10pm, Scott Harris: Counterpoint – TBD

FEB. 15: TUE

7 – 9am, Steve DiCostanzo: Radio Base Camp – Special Guest DJ: Dr. Dwayne Smith, Pres. of Housatonic Community College – “Old Soul Reimagined.”

1 – 4pm, Lisa Sahulka/Afternoon Jazz: Focus on the work of Black Women In Jazz

8 – 11pm, Chris Ruggiero: Preservation Sound, featuring clips from Black radio stations in the 1970’s

FEB. 16: WED

7 – 9am, Ebong Udoma Global Beat: Contemporary Music From Africa

FEB. 17: THU

10am – 12pm, Special BHM programming TBA

11pm – 12am, Simon Hunter: Another Girl Another Planet: “Black, British and Proud” An eclectic exploration of the impact of Black British artists on popular culture, from Jimmy Cliff to Stormzy, via Two Tone, Rock Against Racism and the Guns of Brixton!

FEB. 18: FRI

12am – 2am, Simon Hunter: Another Girl Another Planet: “Black, British and Proud” An eclectic exploration of the impact of Black British artists on popular culture, from Jimmy Cliff to Stormzy, via Two Tone, Rock Against Racism and the Guns of Brixton!

9am – 12pm, Emma Speer: EMuse, Focus on Erykah Badu’s albums New Amerykah Part II (Return of the Ankh)

1 – 4pm, Howard Thompson: PURE, Black Beauty: All Black Female Soul/R&B/Funk Vocalists

11pm – 12am, Michelle Morgan: Love & Communication – presents black queer and female artists/black artists who play in genres outside of the usual blues/jazz/r&b

FEB. 19: SAT

12am – 2am, Michelle Morgan: Love & Communication – presents black queer and female artists/black artists who play in genres outside of the usual blues/jazz/r&b

7 – 9:30pm, WPKN & Mega Bass Prod. Present Black History Funk Night with What Up Funk Band, Le Mixx & Anthem Reggae Band, Bijou Theatre

FEB. 20: SUN

7:30 – 9:30pm, Voices Cafe & WPKN presents Deeper Than Skin Concert, Unitarian Church of Westport

FEB. 21: MON

9am – 12pm, Johnny Be Good: Legends of African-American Music including Paul Robison, the Staple Singers, Big Mama Thornton, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Billy Holiday, Ray Charles and many more.

12 – 1pm, Steve DiCostanzo: GM Report to the Listeners, Interview with the Executive Director of the Mary & Elizabeth Freeman Center in Bridgeport and Board Chair Bernicestine McLeod Bailey

1 – 4pm, Rick Petrone: The Jazz Sound featuring the award-winning Tell My How Long Trane’s Been Gone (PT 3), a 5-hour audio documentary on the life, music and legacy of John Coltrane by producer Steve Rowland

4 – 8pm, Kevin Gallagher: Digging in the Dirt – celebrates Black History Month with interviews and music

8 – 10pm, Scott Harris: Counterpoint – Black History Programming, TBA

FEB. 22: TUE

7 – 9am, Steve DiCostanzo: Radio Base Camp – From Biloxi to Bijou Square – All vinyl blues show

1 – 4pm, Lisa Sahulka/Afternoon Jazz: Focus on the work of Black Women In Jazz

4 – 6pm, Valerie Richardson: Radio Something – Interview with Erin Riley, editor of “Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South,” by the late New Haven artist Winfred Rembert

6 – 6:30pm, Valerie Richardson: Radio Something – “The Clansman: A Novel that Reignited the KKK” a talk with Joan Baum; a segment produced by Tony Ernst

FEB. 23: WED

7 – 9am, Ebong Udoma Global Beat: Contemporary Music From Africa

9am – 12pm, I Messiah: Mirror Ya Vibes with Reggae

1 – 4pm, Bob Johnson: Second Saturday Magazine – BHM Programming, TBA

7:30 – 8pm, East End Ink: Reading from black writers with Sag Harbor’s Eastville Historical Society and John Jermain Library

FEB. 24: THU

10am – 12pm, Martha Willette Lewis: The Flux Capacitor – A high-octane dance party in celebration of Black History

1 – 4pm, BHM programming, TBA

8 – 11pm, Colette Rossignol – Blues for Bob and You: Focus on Black Blues artists, Muddy Waters, etc.

FEB. 25: FRI

9am – 12pm, Nikea Pierre-Louise: Zanj Radio, Focus on Haitian Culture

1 – 4pm, Night Nurse: Rockers Arena with Reggae

FEB. 26: SAT

1 – 10pm, Ebong Udoma & Icon & Night Nurse, Amy Wachtel: A Celebration of Peter Tosh, Marathon Tribute to reggae great Peter Tosh with special guests including members of the Tosh family and reggae historians

FEB. 27: SUN

7 – 9am, Solidarity with Garnett Ankle: Culture from the Black Diaspora

9 – 10am, Garnett Ankle: What’s Your Point, A discussion of issues facing the black community

FEB. 28: MON

9am – 12pm, Joseph Celli: My Other Music (MOM) celebrates Black History Month with speeches by Martin Luther King, interviews with writers Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, and spoken word artists Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters, Sonia Sanchez, and Amiri Baraka, and early jazz with Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong among others.

1 – 4pm, Rick Petrone: The Jazz Sound featuring the award-winning Tell My How Long Trane’s Been Gone (PT 4 & 5), a 5-hour audio documentary on the life, music and legacy of John Coltrane by producer Steve Rowland

4 – 7pm, Pete Stewart: Steam of Consciousness – Focus on Black Artists

8 – 10pm, Scott Harris: Counterpoint – Black History Month, TBA

WPKN Black History Month Movies!

Due to Covid-19, WPKN is working to find new dates for movies to help ensure the health and safety of our audiences. Please check back often for further details.