Black Women In Radio (BWIR) Preserving America’s Untold Broadcast History

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For the first time in American broadcast history, women of  color are recognized on a national platform for their work in radio. The Black Women In Radio  (BWIR) Historic Collection and Oral History Project, curated by BWIR Founder and educator  Felèsha Love, is revered as a much needed solution to remedy the exclusion of minority women  in American broadcast history.  

BWIR announces 33 members in the inaugural class of the BWIR Historic Collection, also  referred to as the “Inaugural 30.” Before now, participants were unaware of who shares this  auspicious journey. Scholars, researchers, educators, students, and the public will have access to  20th and 21st Century radio careers from the perspective of the BWIR Inaugural 30 who donated  hundreds of hours of audio, video, digital media, photos, artifacts, and documents to tell their  stories.  

 “Hands down, this is the most significant work of my broadcast career. Initially, I imagined the  pinnacle of my career would occur on stage or in a swanky studio entertaining of millions of  fans. Instead, I have been wearing comfy clothes, buried in research, and hammering away on  the keys of my old glitchy MacBook to capture America’s untold broadcast history from stellar  broadcasters,” said Love. 

Thirty-three women from local, national, and syndicated markets, in varying positions ranging  from terrestrial radio station owners to on-air personalities, and producers are the foundational  pillars of the collection. Each participant began passionate careers in radio which led to  becoming familiar clarion voices in their communities for decades.

Some of them nurtured  successful parallel careers in the music business, print media, sales/marketing, audio/video  content production, movies, National commercial talent, theatre, television, podcasting, social  media, entrepreneurship and other forms of Media Arts.  

Collectively, the collection illustrates a thousand years of determination, resilience, and  dedication to community. Their careers involved informing and entertaining the public; hosting  Live broadcasts; running boards, interacting with callers, interviewing artists/guests; hosting  Live concerts; making appearances; building professional relationships; rebranding;  recalibrating; navigating unfamiliar “boys club” territory; and committing to standards of  excellence.  

“This collection, at its core, tells the story of passionate women who are either determined to find  their voice, keep it, or unmute it in a society that still doesn’t recognize minority women as  valuable,” said Love. It’s increasingly evident in business and advertising practices where  diversity, inclusion, and equity remain out of reach,” said Love. 

Black Women In Radio (BWIR) Historic Collection and Oral History Project will be available to  the public through partners at the Library of Congress, the Radio preservation Task Force (RPTF), and the Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library after administrative  and design tasks are complete.

Look for a “save the date” promotion in the coming months.  In April 2023, Love will present the Black Women In Radio (BWIR) Historic Collection and  Oral History Project at the annual Library of Congress Conference in DC, and announce the  itinerary for a traveling exhibit throughout HBCU’s.



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