WSNC 90.5 FM features the classic sounds of jazz

One of the nation’s remaining jazz music radio stations is located on the beautiful campus of Winston-Salem State University.

By Jim Steele

WSNC 90.5 FM began its first broadcast on May 2, 1983, on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. It is one of the few remaining radio stations in the country dedicated to jazz music. WSNC’s format also includes blues, R&B, gospel, and world music, plus National Public Radio News (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI) and public affairs programming.

“WSNC is dedicated to broadcasting the best in straight-ahead, classic and new jazz music,” said Ben Donnelly, WSNC’s acting General Manager. “We take our role in honoring the music format seriously by maintaining an extensive jazz music library for broadcast and providing nationally syndicated jazz music programs.” WSNC broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from a 10,000-watt tower located on the campus of Winston-Salem State. WSNC’s coverage area includes Forsyth, Stokes, Davie, Davidson, Randolph, and Guilford Counties.

The public radio station was established by the university to:

Produce and acquire programming and services of value reflecting the culture, events, issues, and ideas of the region and the world, and to combine them into a public service of the highest quality for the people of Winston-Salem State University and its communities;

Advance the broadest educational goals of Winston-Salem State University through the operation of a full service, professional public radio station that encourages its audience to pursue a quest for lifelong learning; enhance the quality of life by expanding listeners’ horizons through new perspectives and listening experiences, enriching and reflecting the cultural climate, heritage and traditions of our region and society through jazz and the arts and;

Serve the community with quality programs that inform, educate, and entertain.

“WSNC could not operate without the many volunteers who produce and host music and public affairs shows, the listener-members who provide regular financial contributions during its spring and fall on-air fund drives, and local businesses and individuals who purchase underwriting at the radio station,” said Donnelly.

The radio station airs four locally-produced public affairs programs that focus local, regional, national and international issues:

Empowering You! Hosted by Calvin Patterson, Empowering You! airs Mondays at 7 p.m. The program features interviews with leaders of area nonprofit organizations and the role each group plays in improving access to goods and services of importance to area citizens.

The Public Morality. Hosted by Byron Williams, The Public Morality airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. It is a weekly conversation with scholars, artists, activists, scientists, philosophers and newsmakers about issues that matter to our common life. Williams is one of the leading public theologians in the nation. He is a columnist, author, and the former pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Berkeley, CA.

Williams is President and CEO of the Kairos Moment a progressive theological think-tank in Winston-Salem, NC. He is the author of the bestselling 1963: The Year of Hope and Hostility, which won the 2014 International Book Award for U.S. History. His previous book, Strip Mall Patriotism: Moral Reflections on the Iraq War, is a series of essays covering a four-year span in what is arguably America’s worst foreign-policy decision.  In 2010 and 2011, Williams’ work was nationally recognized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which nominated him for “Columnist of the Year.” Williams has spoken across the country and appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, including CNN, MSNBC, ABC Radio, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Africa World Now Project. Hosted by James Pope, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies and Program Coordinator, African and Diasporic Studies at Winston-Salem State University, the program airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. “What ‘Africa World Now Project’ brings is a direct and clear intent to explore all of the African world,” Pope says. “It seeks to understand the global connectivity of local and national issues that face Africa and African descent communities wherever they are found in the world.”

Triad in Focus. Hosted by WSNC acting General Manager, Ben Donnelly, Triad in Focus is a live program that airs Fridays at 7:30 a.m. It features interviews with area business leaders, politicians and heads of non-profit arts and service organizations.

WSNC broadcasts National Public Radio News on the hour, weekdays from Washington, D.C.; Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez airs weekdays at 8 a.m.; Latino USA with Maria Hinojosa, the longest running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media; and On the Media, “WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our world view,” hosted by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, airs Fridays at 7 p.m.

Jim Steele is a jazz music radio announcer at WSNC 90.5 FM.

For more information, visit the WSNC website, The station streams live at the website, provides a community calendar of live jazz music performances and events, and archives certain programs for visitors to hear. Visitors at the site can also make a tax-deductible contribution as well. The mailing address is WSNC 90.5 FM, 601 South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem, NC  27110.


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