WMNF - A History
WMNF-FM 88.5 Tampa –Florida’s first independent community radio station, WMNF (Member-sponsored Non-commercial FM), went on the air in September 1979, licensed to the Nathan B. Stubblefield Foundation, a non-profit organization established solely to operate the station. Stubblefield (1860-1928) was an eccentric Kentucky inventor who, according to the story, invented the radio four years before Marconi and died of starvation because he refused to market his idea for fear it would be stolen by big business.
With its 70,000 watt transmitter in Riverview, WMNF began operations from studios in an old Hyde Park mansion on South Boulevard before moving to a church on Nebraska Avenue, and then to a bungalow on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard in 1988. Since 2005, the non-commercial station has operated from a newly-built $2.2 million state-of-the-art facility in Tampa’s Southeast Seminole Heights section at 1210 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
WMNF is a charitable organization and all gifts and donations to it are tax deductible in accordance with the law. It is listener-supported and volunteer-powered, and provides a mix of eclectic music with non-mainstream news, views, and public affairs programming. The station sponsors numerous events throughout the year, including concerts. One of the most popular is the annual music party, Tropical Heatwave, a mini-festival held each year in Ybor City.
Some names and shows from WMNF history include Pat Chamburs (longtime host of a Wednesday night jazz show), Randy Wynne (program director-1985), Michael Eisenstadt (host of “Sunday Simcha”), Lisa McCormack (station manager-1989), Michael Beattie (morning news anchor-1990), Rob Lorei (news director-1990), Cameron Hendrix (operations manager-1990), Greg Musselman (station manager-1990), Rob Wilson (alternative music program assistant-1991-94), Richard Eiswerth (station manager-1996), Robert Vann (jazz show host), Bob “Soulman” Scheir (longtime blues show host-1998), Jean Palmquist (station manager 1999-2000), “Oye Latino” (latin music show), Louis D. Putney (president of WMNF’s board of directors-2000), Vicki Santa (station manager-2000), and Gene Moore (volunteer/membership coordinator-2003).
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1979 - 2008 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)