A new, non-commercial radio partnership aimed at amplifying the voices of individuals in the Mid-South will launch early this fall on 91.7 FM and online.
The station’s call letters, WYXR, stand for “Your Crosstown Radio,” a nod to Crosstown Concourse, where the station will be producing and airing its daily broadcasts, and to the staff’s intent to put community radio back into the hands of the listener.
The launch is a partnership between the University of Memphis, The Daily Memphian and Crosstown Concourse, which began collaborating in November 2019 to reimagine U of M’s long running WUMR radio station.
WYXR will be led by executive director Robby Grant, who first joined the project as a consultant before being hired to fill the role full-time.
Prior to this venture, Grant co-founded an online marketing company before spending more than 15 years to build Archer Malmo’s digital advertising department.
Grant has maintained a visible presence in Memphis’ music scene, performing, recording and touring with several groups, culminating in a recent appearance on NPR’s popular Tiny Desk series as a part of Mellotron Variations.
“I’ve been wanting to help make a change with Memphis radio, specifically community radio, for a long time,” Grant said. “The fact that it has organically become real is exciting. We are going to amplify voices in Memphis and the Mid-South. By taking a freeform approach, we want to begin finding personalities and DJs who have their own tastes and things they’ve grown up loving and sharing with people.
“A freeform station allows those DJs to turn people onto music, whether it’s the music they’ve loved their whole lives or what they’ve heard this past week,” he said.
Jared “Jay B.” Boyd, a Memphis journalist, DJ, and host of NPR’s syndicated radio program Beale St. Caravan, will also join the partnership as program director. Boyd will work to integrate a mix of music, news and talk on the station’s airwaves.
“Aside from the opportunity to be hands-on in cultivating new and emerging broadcast talent in the Mid-South, I’m most gratified by this radio partnership’s potential to truly reach people in the Mid-South area by virtue of being open and welcoming in nature,” Boyd said. “When you walk into Crosstown Concourse, it won’t be hidden. The nuts and bolts of the operation will be showcased behind glass right in the lobby of the Central Atrium. By design, this community-minded radio station will not just broadcast to its audience but live and breathe alongside it.”
Former WUMR staffer Shelby McCall, who currently holds a role at Entercom Memphis, has signed on as WYXR’s operations coordinator.
The University of Memphis is also searching for the role of “Instructor – Student Radio.” This position will facilitate student involvement with the station and also program and plan a second university-focused internet stream, on which students will broadcast news, sports and music.
The station’s programming will be made up of volunteer contributions from regular content producers and special guests to achieve a dynamic freeform format, providing room for a rotating cast of local personalities and facilitating an educational ground for university students.
“We want people to rediscover music they love and be able to go deeper into those interests, but also learn about new genres,” Grant said. “At the same time, we want to be a destination for people to find the pulse of what’s going on.”