The Center for Broadcast Journalism, a nonprofit co-founded by Georgia Fort and Marianne Combs, has launched a new station in St. Paul, Power 104.7 (WEQY). Fort, a multi-media journalist and entrepreneur in St. Paul, and Combs, a former Minnesota Public Radio journalist, recently took over the license from Dayton’s Bluff Community Council.
The rebranded station now offers a blend of hip-hop, R&B, and news content. This venture adds another revenue channel to support CBJ’s digital and video journalism, which primarily focuses on communities of color.
CBJ acquired the license back in May and has since moved its equipment to a new broadcasting and recording studio at the Osborn370 building in downtown St. Paul. This building is already home to several Black-owned businesses.
The station plans to feature short news segments interspersed with music sets. New shows include Visionary Voices, hosted by CBJ veteran Jasmine McBride, and Faith & Flow, a Sunday morning gospel rap show hosted by local artist Darelle “F’Rael” Williams.
Fort told MinnPost, “My big goal is sustainability. Last year we launched the newsroom, and I think some people were like, ‘This is cool for right now, but how are you going to keep this thing going?’ I really feel like adding the radio station component provides a platform for our reporters to amplify their stories and a platform for us to engage organizations in underwriting. Ultimately, I think it’s going to help us sustain our work in news and journalism.”
Combs said Power 104.7, “Feels really significant. With the addition of the radio station, we’re building an organization that serves the community with music and news, while also providing local talent with opportunities to enhance their skills and their resumes. Personally, I’m really excited about how we’re growing our education offerings, while keeping them affordable and practical. Georgia and I are both committed to filling local newsrooms with reporters from diverse backgrounds, and we’re doing that by removing barriers to access. Based on the success we’ve already had, I can’t wait to see what the Twin Cities media landscape will look like in 10-15 years.”