WMPR
CityJackson, Mississippi, US
Frequency90.1 MHz
Programming
FormatVariety
Ownership
OwnerJ.C. Maxwell Broadcasting Group, Inc.
History
First air date
1983
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID29552
ClassC1
ERP100,000 watts
HAAT137 meters (449 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
32°11′33.00″N 90°5′28.00″W / 32.1925000°N 90.0911111°W / 32.1925000; -90.0911111
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
WebcastListen Live
Websitewmpr901fm.com

WMPR (90.1 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a variety format. WMPR is a community station which specializes in gospel and blues but also features other forms of music as well as several community-oriented talk shows. Licensed to Jackson, Mississippi, United States, the station serves the Jackson area. The station is currently owned by J.C. Maxwell Broadcasting Group, Inc.[1]

Its studios are located in Jackson, west of downtown, and the transmitter site is in Florence, Mississippi.

History

For more than a decade, Mississippi had just one public radio station: WNJC-FM in Senatobia, Mississippi. Seeking to change this, the J.C. Maxwell Broadcasting Group—named for James Clerk Maxwell, discoverer of electromagnetic radiation—was formed in early 1981 to pursue the construction of a new noncommercial educational station in Jackson. Maxwell proposed a new full-service outlet with a focus on news and information, as well as an affiliation with NPR.[2]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the construction permit on January 28, 1982. By that time, Maxwell had already lined up grant monies from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Communications Improvement Trust, which held money from the interim operator of WLBT, Communications Improvement, Inc.[3][4] Studios were constructed on the campus of Tougaloo College,[5] while the station set a musical format focusing on jazz and blues.[6]

WMPR began broadcasting in October 1983,[7] but it failed to attract the hoped-for support from listeners. The first general manager resigned after just six months, and by 1986, the station warned that it might not have sufficient funds to remain a member of NPR.[8] A steadying hand would soon come to the station in the form of James Charles Evers, former mayor of Fayette and disc jockey in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and the brother of Medgar Evers,[9] who became the general manager of WMPR by January 1990[10] and served in the post for more than 30 years. Prior to becoming a station employee, he had debated segregationist Richard Barrett on its air in 1988.[11] Under Evers's management, per a historical marker erected on the Mississippi Blues Trail in 2009, WMPR became a "primary outlet" for blues in the area; Evers also hosted the weekly Let's Talk talk show.[12]

The station was the subject of an attack in 2017 in which unknown vandals went to Evers's home and sprayed "KKK" on a station van.[13] Evers died in 2020;[14] after his death, the street on which WMPR's studios are located, Pecan Park Circle, was renamed in his honor.[15][16] Majority ownership remained in the Evers family with his wife Wanda, who absorbed some of Charles's stake.[17]

References

  1. ^ "WMPR Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  2. ^ Demmons, Douglas (January 29, 1981). "Community board applies to FCC to set up public radio station here". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 2B. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Watkins, Lynn (August 18, 1981). "Group gets grant for National Public Radio". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 4B. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Williams, Brian (December 2, 1981). "Public radio group gets $198,000 U.S. grant". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 6B. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Nichols, Bill (September 8, 1982). "First public radio station in Jackson due in early 1983". The Clarion-Ledger. p. 1D. Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Nichols, Bill (January 6, 1983). "Mississippi's public radio choices grow". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 1F. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Jones, Alvylyn (October 5, 1983). "Settling in: Black-owned station readies for airwaves". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 3B. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "WMPR-FM in 'desperate need of help' with funds". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. July 17, 1986. p. NE5. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (July 22, 2020). "Charles Evers, Businessman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 97". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  10. ^ Cooper, Leesha (January 28, 1990). "Charles Evers' civil rights work attracted black and white critics". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 3I. Retrieved January 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Evers, segregationist battle it out on radio". The Greenwood Commonwealth. Greenwood, Mississippi. April 15, 1988. p. 5. Retrieved December 29, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Charles Evers & The Blues Historical Marker". www.hmdb.org. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Jerry (February 13, 2017). "Charles Evers' radio van spray-painted 'KKK'". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  14. ^ Gates, Jimmie E. (July 22, 2020). "Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers, dies at the age of 97". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  15. ^ Gallant, Jacob (August 7, 2020). "Street renamed in honor of late Charles Evers". WLBT. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  16. ^ Farish, Anna (August 7, 2020). "Life of Charles Evers celebrated with block party in Jackson". WJTV. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  17. ^ J.C. Maxwell Broadcasting Group, Inc. (September 10, 2019). "BTCED-20190910AFM Transfer of Control". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 28, 2021.