Home » Visionary Broadcaster and Asheville Native Jim Robinson

Visionary Broadcaster and Asheville Native Jim Robinson

by The Urban News
Jim Robinson, founder of WBMU.

In April 1974, Jim Robinson founded the first radio station in Asheville that focused on the music and culture of Black Americans.

It was also only the 11th station in the country owned by a Black entrepreneur.

The station call letters were WBMU—meaning Where Black Means Unity—and the station’s purpose was to address the informational and musical needs of the Black community in Asheville and its surroundings.

Jim Robinson was an Asheville native, and once he returned from service in the US Army, he was the first African American hired to work in Asheville’s Communications Department. He also worked at Model Cities, a Federal government program implemented as a result of, and part of, the Urban Renewal movement of the 1960s and ’70s.

When he founded the radio station, this articulate, visionary communications expert shared his vision of WBMU with every one of the station’s personnel. It was his vision that WBMU would be very different from other stations, with “personalities with flavors” rather than typical disc jockeys. Those flavors, those personalities, gained the attention of the entire WNC region.

The station broadcast the Urban Sound, one that had not been heard in this region before Jim Robinson brought it to the public every day from 6 a.m. to midnight, over the air on WBMU.

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