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WCIN-AM Veterans Recall City’s First Radio Station For African-Americans

Provided by Everett Cork

Former DJ Everett Cork and news reporter Gina Ruffin Moore talk about the good old days of WCIN-AM (1480), one of the nation’s first stations for African-Americans, at the main Public Library downtown Saturday afternoon.

“Hitting the airwaves in October 1953, WCIN-AM, the oldest Black radio station east of the Mississippi River, opened the door for other Black formatted stations to exist in the area,” says the publicity for the program from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Gina Ruffin Moore with WKRC-TV anchor John Lomax (left) and Courtis Fuller, WLWT-TV anchor and former WCIN-AM talk host

For nearly 50 years, WCIN-AM was the voice of Cincinnati’s African-American community, until talk host Lincoln Ware left for a new rival station, WDBZ-AM, in 2000.  WCIN-AM went into receivership in 2007, and tried a smooth jazz format until switching to the current rock oldies format in 2009. It’s now known as WDJO-AM.

At the 2 p.m. “WCIN Radio–A Cincinnati Icon” program, Cork and Moore will talk about the station’s role in the community. Former sports anchor Bill Meredith will attend, and Cork plans to call and chat with Jimmy Wonder, "The Ball of Thunder" during the program.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Everett Cork

“I’m hoping we get a good turnout of former employees,” says Cork, who writes a blog called Remember WCIN Radio? A Cincinnati Icon gone but not forgotten.

WCIN-AM personalities over the years include Maxcine Hardwick, Courtis Fuller, Leslie Isaiah Gaines, Fredd E. Redd, Jim Morris, Sid Kennedy, Savannah (Saundra Whigham), Virgil Nixon, Joe Suede, Aungelique Proctor and Bob Lewis.

The WCIN forum is the last in the library’s Black History Month series called “Finding a Voice and Shaping an Identity: African Americans and the Media.”

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.