88.5 Now – WMNF’s Newsletter August 2019

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40 years
Through thick and thin,
we’re here for you.
Visit this link for resources on
hurricane preparedness.

We’ll be updating this page regularly as more resources become available.
Be ready and be safe. We’ll be here.
We had two wonderful
appreciation events this month.

Volunteers are what keep WMNF special.
Our gratitude is beyond words.
Here are some pictures from our annual
WMNF Volunteer Appreciation Party!

Flee, Nancy, Duncan and Scott

Congratulations to the volunteers who won awards!!!!Lifetime Achievement Award – Rev Pat Hauser!!!

Nathan B Stubblefield Foundation Award presented by the

WMNF Board of Directors – Lauren Adriaansen

New Volunteer of the Year (2019) – Carol Arenas

Volunteer of the Year (2018) – Frank Knox

Programmers of the Year (2018) –

Linda Reisinger & Laurie Berlin, the LuLus

New Programmer of the Year (2019) – Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Overnight Programmer of the Year (2018) – Ira Hankin

News & Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year (2018) – Blannie Whelan

New News & Public Affairs Programmer of the Year (2018) – Tanja Vidovic

Operations Volunteer Appreciation – Bill Grace

The Dave Roosa Special Events Volunteers of the Year (2018) – Jan Simpson & Bill Brehm

Raffle Supervisor of the Year (2018) – Darlene Bunch

Administrative Volunteer Appreciation – Charlie Cushing & JoAnna Kellogg

Vicki Santa Development Award – Susan Sampson

Membership Volunteer of the Year (2018) – Jim Drain

Desk Volunteer Recognition – Deborah LeMonde, Gabrielle Ayala, Anne Haywood, Doug Guido & Steve Burkett

And a big thank you to Miss Julie for organizing such a wonderful event!


Over the past 40 years, a word that describes
WMNF is: Resilience
And we’re resilient because of you.
Through thick and thin, our supporters
have been the backbone of the station.
So every year, we celebrate our
Circle of Friends and Amplifiers.
Here are some photos from
This year’s party!


Production Profile: Franco Silva
In the 90s, FM radio DJs rarely played contemporary Cuban music.
Franco did, and he was threatened by some listeners for ‘playing communist music’, but he didn’t stop. It was more important to him that he stand by his convictions and play the music he loved until it gained acceptance. That’s Latino 54, a show that plays unheard voices and educates listeners about the Latin world.

Franco was born in Harlem, raised in the Lower East Side, and moved to Tampa in 1988.
In 1995, a Latin music collective wanted an expert on Afro Cuban music, and Franco was tapped. He had noticed there was no one explaining Latin music in English in the area, so he jumped at the chance.

“They wanted someone with my specific musical knowledge. I also had a background in radio, so had my broadcasting license with the FCC. The collective dwindled down a couple years later and since I was the one here constantly, I became the host of the program.”

His mission with Latino 54 is to bring to light unknown and unheard music from countries that don’t always get air time.

“Some people might say, hey why do we need an English language hosted Latin music show. But nobody else is playing music from Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, it’s not represented.”

Franco strives to constantly expand his and his listeners musical horizons by bringing other voices into the studio.

“I’m always looking for people that are better versed in their country’s music to come on the show. My best show is if I have a guest with me and they want to share something.”

His biggest honor was interviewing Tito Puente. In 1998, Tito played in Tampa and Franco interviewed him in his dressing room.

“He was very nice, and I got to record the interview and play it on air. It turned out to be his last interview in the state of Florida.”

It’s not just musicians that Franco looks to highlight on Latino 54. He really cares about all aspects of Latin culture. He’s had priests from Chiapas and nuns from Argentina in the studio. Five years ago, he interviewed a dragon boat race team from Puerto Rico.

Franco really wants to express the way that Latin culture is an ingrained part of American culture.

“Latin music has been a part of the United States since before there was a United States. Not learning about Latin culture in America is like coming into history about five minutes to midnight, you’ve missed a lot of the movie.”

To have a platform from which he can educate people about Latin America means the world to Franco. And he appreciates the freedom he’s had to take the show wherever he wants throughout the years.

“Really it’s all a happy blur. We’ve been here through hurricanes. We’ve been here through power outages. In good times and bad times. Really the main goal is acceptance, and for everyone to enjoy each other’s culture.”

Learn more about Latino 54 and stream here: 

Production Profile: Mark Hardt

You could have a conversation with Mark about jazz one minute, and punk rock the next. His knowledge of music allows him to be able to discuss the intricacies of country and obscure reggae in the same conversation. He’s a lover of music who’s dedicated himself to discovering and sharing sounds ranging from uplifiting to strange, soothing to sad. This menagerie of sounds greets WMNF listeners every Monday Morning on Sonic Sunrise.

Mark has been involved with radio since 1983. He started by filling in for a friend at WVXU in Cincinnatti.

“He asked me again and again to fill in for him. After like four weeks I’m like, ‘Walter, am I taking your show?”

He took the reigns and discovered he loved sharing his musical passions over the air waves. Since then, Mark has sought to express his eclectic tastes on the radio whenever possible.

On the west coast he discovered KUCI, University of Irvine, at a tent they had set up at an event.

“I said, ‘Hey, I used to be a DJ’. And they said, we’re having training classes starting in two weeks, sign up. I did that, and I can’t remember if Duncan Strauss was in my class, but pretty soon I started hearing about Talking Animals.”

Talking Animals was all the rage. Duncan also had a music show, and Mark began subbing for him. Before long, Mark was offered his own show.

“In 2006, Duncan was moving to Tampa, and I thought, ‘what’s going on with that?’ My wife grew up in St. Pete, and, in 2008 we decided to move back because we just had a baby.”

Mark waited a little while, but eventually reached out to Duncan, asking what he was up to.

“He said, come on down to WMNF, I don’t have interns, I don’t have assistants but I’ll make an exception for you.”

In March 2011, Program Director Randy Wynne sent out an email saying there was a 4 – 6 am slot on Thursdays available. Mark tried out and got the spot. This was the beginning of Sonic Sunrise. But shortly after, he got a job in Fort Myers.

This year, Mark decided to get involved again. He applied for the 4 – 6 am spot on Mondays, and rebirthed his show. He tries to balance his own tastes with what he thinks the WMNF audience wants.

“You know, I’m just incurably eclectic, I’m all over the place. So I try make the show very broad, something for everyone listening.”

Growing up, Mark listened to his father play Chopin on the piano, it’s where his appreciation for classical music started. Later on, he discovered the Velvet Underground, then punk rock.

“Somebody gave me a copy of Never Mind the Bollocks, and boom, that was it. But the funny thing is punk rock ended up introducing me to other stuff.”

Punk turned him onto country, country turned him onto other music, and before you know it, Mark gained knowledge of myriad genres. The ability to be able to share that knowledge with an audience is something he greatly cares for, and really wants to carry on to the youth.

“We need to be evangelists to the younger generation. We need to make it convenient for them to find us, in a way that they know.”

Learn more about Sonic Sunrise and stream here: https://www.wmnf.org/events/sonic-sunrise/


The Smiths, Talking Heads and Elvis Costello: the WMNF Tribute – August 31st, 7pm – @ Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, FL 33613

WMNF’s 40th Birthday Party w Saint Paul and The Broken Bones – September 14th, 8pm – @ St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 4th Ave. St. Petersburg, FL 33701

On Broadway: The WMNF Tribute To Musical Theater – November 2nd, 6 pm – @ Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, FL 33613

Vanessa Collier, Plus Legendary JCs – December 13th, 8 pm – @ Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, FL 33613

Donna The Buffalo New Year’s Tribal Celebration – December 31st, 8 pm – @ The Cuban Club, 2010 N. Avenida Republica De Cuba, Tampa, FL 33605