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Urban radio reunion to honor Fayetteville pioneer

The inaugural Urban Radio Reunion, which will include a tribute to pioneering African-American broadcaster Bill Hennessee, is planned for next month in Fayetteville.

The three-day affair Aug. 7-9 at various sites around the city is being held as a nostalgic get- together for former radio associates in the local market, complete with food and entertainment.

The idea is to bask in the past, revisiting black radio when it was evolving as a formidable format in the Fayetteville market.

“I want every announcer, black or white, to be there. Basically, anybody in urban radio or touched by urban radio,” said Val Jones, who was part of the original start-up crew on “Foxy 99,” WZFX. “We’re honoring a man, not only a legend in Fayetteville, but in North Carolina. He was opening the doors for others. He was always one to say, ‘Use your voice to make a difference and not just make noise.’ ”

Hennessee, who worked nearly half a century in radio and became known as the voice of the Fayetteville State University football team, died Feb. 7. He was 75.

Jones frowns upon the word “old.” Instead, she said the reunion is directed largely toward the older, more mature announcer. The celebration is patterned after those thrown in Atlanta and Florida by Jack “The Rapper” Gibson, who founded an organization for black radio disc jockeys.

“We’re hoping,” she said, “this will be just that type of event right here in Fayetteville.”

Longtime radio listeners in this area may recall such prominent on-air personalities as Dr. Don Reid, Bunny English, Marvin Parker, Lewis Champagne, Tony Lype, Karen Kaye, Rob Benson, Greg Starr, Tim Greene and Kevin Kirby. Jones hopes the reunion will lure the likes of those former Fayetteville DJs.

“We’ve actually got announcers who started out with me at ‘Foxy.’ And folks from back in the day from ‘D103’,” she said. “We’re still making some arrangements. We are literally calling all announcers from the early days of WIDU and D103 and Foxy to come on out.”

This nostalgia-tinged look back starts at 9 p.m. Aug. 7 with a meet-and -greet for the announcers at the Doubletree Hotel at 1965 Cedar Creek Road. There will be a cover charge.

The anchoring event follows Saturday at Big Shots Entertainment Sports Bar and Grill, 5112 Yadkin Road. Doors open at 8 p.m. A $10 donation, with proceeds to go toward the establishment of the Bill Hennessee Radio Broadcasting Scholarship fund, will be requested.

The public is invited to attend both functions.

For further information, call Jones at 884-9947 or Gaye at (770 ) 885-3535, or visit the reunion Web site at UrbanRadioReunion.com.

via FayObserver.com – –.

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