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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

‘Rhythm Roots Restored’ brings Black music to WBWC

Black artists highlighted every Friday from 6-7 p.m. on WBWC with the work of Cheyenne Johnson and Konner Hines.
Jason Heisler
WBWC 88.3 The Sting located in Loomis Hall where the Rhythm Roots Restored will be aired.

When two WBWC 88.3 The Sting DJs noticed a lack of Black artists in the station’s rotation, they decided to take action by starting Rhythm Roots Restored, a new Friday evening radio segment celebrating the rich history and diversity of Black music. 

Cheyenne Johnson, a junior media production student, first noticed a need for the new segment before enlisting the help of Konner Hines, a first-year marketing student, to bring the project to life.  

“I noticed that we just don’t play much music from Black artists,” Johnson said. “Whenever I would tell family or friends about the station, the biggest question I would get is ‘Do they play any Black artists?’ or ‘Do they play this artist?’ and I would always have to answer, ‘Sadly no’ to those questions.”   

With Black History Month as inspiration, Johnson aimed to use the radio platform to highlight the influences and accomplishments of Black musicians across genres. 

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“The overall purpose is to celebrate Black music and how far it’s come,” Hines said. “A lot of genres like country music and rock were created by Black people, and as other cultures popularized these genres, it became mainstream. We’re trying to take it back and reflect on what was the original root and how it’s progressed.” 

The show has featured a wide array of styles, from the disco hits of the 1970s to modern pop and R&B tracks. However, Johnson and Hines said they are making an intentional effort to go beyond just playing the most well-known artists. 

“It’s another thing when it comes to a lot of Black alternative artists; you don’t see that a lot, and we really wanted to highlight those,” Hines said. “We plan to highlight specific categories while still maintaining our voice and our culture.” 

Choosing the music and developing themes for each week’s show is an ongoing collaborative process between the two students. Hines often proposes creative concepts they can build a playlist around, like pitting iconic artists against each other in a “Prince vs. Michael Jackson” battle.  

“Planning, honestly, is very sporadic,” Johnson said. “Konner would suggest themes, and I would just look to see what artists we had in the station for inspiration.” 

The driving force behind Rhythm Roots Restored is to represent the full spectrum of Black musical excellence. From jazz to hip-hop, Motown to neo-soul, the segment aims to shed light on the pioneers and trailblazers who shaped American music. 

“I want to show the vast genres of Black music from many different time periods,” Johnson said. “I believe it’s just as important to hear the hits from the 1950s as it is to hear modern-day artists.” 

Both students hope their efforts to amplify Black voices on campus radio will encourage greater cultural awareness and appreciation among WBWC’s listenership. 

“I just kind of hope that people feel more comfortable with their culture, their skin, and who they are and celebrating,” Hines said. “I think the biggest thing about Black music in general is that it’s not just Black music. It’s music, and anyone should be able to groove or jam or do whatever they want.” 

Airing every Friday from 6-7 p.m. for the remainder of the semester, Rhythm Roots Restored will continue to represent Black artists to WBWC’s listeners.  

“I want people to have more appreciation for Black music,” Johnson said. “If even one person adds some of these classics to their playlist, then I’m happy.” 

Note: Konner Hines is a staff writer for The Exponent

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