Capital City welcomes its first local black-owned radio station

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Topeka and Lawrence welcomed their first local black-owned radio station, 96.9 The Beat, to the air Thursday at noon.

96.9 Rhythmthe capital’s new number one radio station for R&B, hip-hop and throwbacks in the Topeka and Lawrence areas launched at noon on Thursday, July 14, with 1,969 consecutive beats on 96.9 KQRB -FM and on line.

The new station, owned by Intrepid Companies LLCdeclared its headquarters in Topeka, making Beat the only locally owned commercial radio station in the area.

Intrepid managing partner Don Sherman noted that being close to the community empowers listeners.

“Being a locally owned radio station means we can be flexible, respond to what listeners want, and best serve our communities,” Sherman said. “The music, captivating on-air personalities and news that our audience can tap into will drive viewership growth that crosses barriers such as age and race.”

The Beat said it was home to a mix of local, regional and national radio personalities – like national syndication FromFrom in the morning. He said listeners can call 8-333-969-969 toll-free to request songs, earn station swag and send in autographs.

“Our goal at The Beat is to embrace and super serve the community on air, online and on the street,” Sherman said. “This station build is a two-year labor of love and we are ready, willing and excited to be part of the fabric of Topeka and Lawrence.”

The Beat noted that its primary target demographic is adults 18-54 who love R&B, hip-hop, and throwbacks. He said he would accept requests from Topeka and Lawrence companies for a limited number of strategic partnerships at low, sustainable advertising rates, which will be locked in while a contract is in place.

Depending on the station, special events and live remotes will also be available.

“R&B radio audiences have a long history of being very loyal. Companies will get their money’s worth and we’ll help them see results,” Sherman said. “The smallest of companies can be on our station if she partners for the long haul. Win-win”

Sherman said he had a passion for radio born out of extensive experience in the industry. From 2000 to 2007, he said he owned Wichita-based Sherman Broadcast Group. At that time, he said he was the first majority African-American radio station owner in Kansas.

Of nearly 12,000 radio stations nationwide, Sherman noted that only 168 are black-owned.

“It’s only fitting that Topeka and Lawrence now have the 169th station, based on the rich history of diversity, equity and inclusion of both communities. The Beat will also add to the quality of our venue as we attract diverse talent to the area. Visitors who love R&B can tune into a local radio station that plays music they enjoy,” Sherman said.

Since 2007, Sherman said it has operated stations in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Wichita, Kansas, while also offering radio station consulting services through Intrepid Companies.

“July 1 marked 22 years in the radio industry and it’s gratifying to look back and reflect on everything that got us to this point,” Sherman said. “The past two years, launching this station through supply chain challenges and pandemic-related delays makes this launch very special. I hope the community feels the same!

The station said the soft launch will feature 1,969 Beats In A Row with regular programming scheduled for 5 a.m. on Monday, July 18, featuring DeDe In The Morning, DR JAMZ in the afternoon and R-Dub Slow. Jams at night. The station also sought out local talent for on-air and sales.

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