A look inside Detroit’s historic Black-owned radio station

Detroit’s first Black-owned Detroit radio station WGPR still thriving today

WGPR is Detroit's first Black-owned radio station that is operated by the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons.
WGPR is Detroit's first Black-owned radio station that is operated by the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons.

DETROIT – The city of Detroit is full of rich history, especially when it comes to music -- and what would music be without radio?

Detroit’s first-ever Black-owned radio station, WGPR, is still thriving today, sharing music all across Metro Detroit. The headquarters on East Jefferson Avenue in Downtown Detroit is a historic city staple.

The Black-owned station is owned and operated by the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, after being purchased from the previous owners in Grosse Pointe in 1964, according to the station’s manager Kenneth Hollowell.

Following its purchase, the call letters, WGPR, were changed to mean “Where God’s Presence Radiates” -- derived from their broadcast format at that time, which was focused on the Black church.

The station’s formatting has since changed to mainly R&B music, and then more recently switched to the Hip-Hop format you hear today. Over the years, WGPR had a number of different names.

“In the 70s, it was known as Golden Soul. In the 80s, it was known as Rhythm,” Hollowell said. “We became Hot 107.5 in 2011.”

And today, the radio station boasts a big roster of on-air personalities, including DJ Gifted, Ibeendior and Detroit legend Big Greg -- all of which can be heard during the station’s local programming.

Also inside the historic building is a history museum that showcases a number of significant WGPR events and Detroit broadcasting royalty.

Take a closer look inside the station in the video report above.


Related story: How Detroit’s major sports teams got their nicknames


About the Author:

Evrod Cassimy is the morning anchor for Local 4 News Today. He joined WDIV in August of 2013. He is an award winning journalist and a six-time Emmy Award nominee. Evrod was born in Michigan but grew up in the Chicagoland area.