A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Lily Richeson
Tampa’s only community radio station could be considered a dinosaur. WMNf has been around for more than 27 years and the station has always been upheld by the support of the listeners. Through the years, Tampa’s music scene has grown, changed, and ultimately started to fade. Recently the rift in the community has finally ceased and in its place, a swell of venues, promoters, artist and local acts are bringing melodies to the desolate streets of Tampa Bay. This generation is younger, stronger, and ready to stick around. four years ago, WMNf started programming geared toward this youth and their music. A line up called the “11th Hour” was born. This block of programming runs from 11p.m. to 1 a.m. fi ve nights a week. Faithfully, fi ve different DJs play alternative music that aims to reach the ears of a generation to whom WMNF is non-existent. In a recent program meeting, however, the “11th Hour: was canceled. The only answer as to why was a vague answer from program director Randy Wynne: the program just isn’t making the impact it should. “WMNF could be considered wildly successful right now, but if you don’t make an investment in the future, the station is going to die because they aren’t going to stay fresh and new,” said David Bailey on/off again host at the station and known godfather of the “11th Hour”
Geri-X, 19, a local musician and longtime listener of the “11th Hour” was surprised the program got cut. “WMNF is a great station because anyone and everyone can listen to it, but they need to think of younger listeners… we are the future.” Kamran Mir, who hosts the Sunday edition of the “11th Hour”, sees a negative pattern that no one seems to be solving. “WMNf doesn’t program for younger listeners because younger listeners don’t listen to WMNF. At the same time younger listeners don’t tune in because the station doesn’t provide programming for them.” Kamran plans to reapply for another show at the same station and feels having his own program is fi ghting the fi ght from the outside. “It’s being constructive rather than destructive to the community.” Keith Simmons, who many know as Brother fire on Thursday nights, has been with the station for eight years and is also reapplying. “If I feel like walking away like I really want to do, it would kind of be like giving up.” “A combined 10-hour block of alternative programming isn’t going to grab the listener support WMNF wants,” said Stephen Hammill, Monday-night host. He will not be returning to WMNF unless major changes are made. “We all agree that we need a stronger presence and we need more time to make more of an impact. The fi rst priority of the station should be its survival.” In a world where having a community radio station is like having a precious pearl, it’s not a wonder that younger volunteers express unease. Mir voices said, “As much as the baby boomers have been around to support the station for the last 27 years, those people can’t be around forever. People my age and younger are going to be the ones to support the station as long as it’s there to support them.”