The Women of WYXR

By Jayne Ellen White

Memphis’ history of innovative radio is both deep and wide. There aren’t many Memphis music legends that you can’t trace to some kind of historic radio moment. Legendary Rufus Thomas owned the airwaves of WDIA before he went on to be the World’s Oldest Teenager and teach the world to do “The Dog” and “The Funky Chicken.” B.B. King began writing and singing Pepticon jingles on Memphis’ WDIA before becoming the world’s greatest blues singer. There is an entire Broadway musical titled Memphis, loosely based on the life of Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips of WHBQ. Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, started out as a radio engineer on WREC. Some of those legendary disc jockeys and stations reached hundreds of miles from Bluff City, influencing culture and music across the region and beyond. In 1955, Sam Phillips founded the first all female radio station, which he rightly named WHER. 

WYXR is Memphis’ newest chapter in Memphis radio history. The community-led volunteer radio station launched in 2020 with the tagline, “Raised By Sound”, and has been broadcasting straight to the hearts of Memphians ever since. While WYXR is no reincarnation of WHER, it has no shortage of female programmers who are passionate about radio and music.  We reached out to a handful of these women to connect you with many of the fearless, female voices you hear on the station. 

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DJ Chandler Blingg, AKA Jessica Jackson

Mahogany, Vol. 1, Tuesday 10PM-11PM 

WAMM: What should we expect to hear on Mahogany, Vol. 1?

DJ Chandler Blingg: When I was younger, I used to dig for so much music. I was so curious and loved reading the album covers to see things like who produced what, and which musician played which instrument, etc. I spent hours just listening to music in my room, so my radio show is very much reminiscent of my having the time of my life playing my favorite tunes. It’s so cool that people are able to eavesdrop now.

WAMM: What do you do outside of radio?

DJ Chandler Blingg: I am a DJ! I also spin with an incredible DJ alliance called BODYWERK. Made up of myself, DJ Ramzi (HABIBIBEATS on WYXR Saturdays from 6pm-8pm), Ross Al Ghoul (THRUST on WYXR Sundays 12PM-1PM) & QEMIST (COMPUTER NOISE RADIO on WYXR Thursdays from 9PM-10PM).

WAMM: What do you love most about radio? 

DJ Chandler Blingg: Every time I’m playing songs on the radio, I think to myself quite often ‘wow, people really get to listen to music like this on the radio. I would’ve loved to have a station like this to listen to when I was younger’. I love that we get to share with people.

WAMM: What’s your favorite song to play right now?

DJ Chandler Blingg: “HooHaa” by Christoph El Truento , “Star” by Machinedrum, and “Make it Up” by Tirzah (Hackman remix). 

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DJ Talia, AKA Talia Palacio

La Hora De Sazón con Talia, Saturday 8PM-9PM

WAMM: Describe La Hora Sazon con Talia in one word.

DJ Talia: Saucy

WAMM: What do you do outside of radio?

DJ Talia: I am Manager of Multicultural Admissions & Marketing Communications at Rust College.

WAMM: What do you love most about radio? 

DJ Talia: Radio gives me an opportunity to share my love for music, share my culture, and play music that was a part of my Latin upbringing here in Memphis. WYXR has given me this opportunity every Saturday night. Our station and our city have welcomed my show, which plays a variety of salsa (new and old), reggaeton, and tropical Latin music to keep Memphis dancing!

WAMM: What’s your favorite song to play right now?

DJ Talia: Hawái by Maluma & The Weekend.

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DJ Nya

Freesound.radio, Tuesday 11PM-1AM

WAMM: Describe Freesound.radio in a few words.

DJ Nya: “Copacetic”, “fashionable”.

WAMM: What do you do outside of radio?

DJ Nya: Traveling, digging.

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

DJ Nya: It’s curated, there’s so much discovery in each person’s show.

WAMM: What’s your favorite song to play right now?

J Nya:  Cece penison, “We Got A Love Thang

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DJ Jazzy Lo, AKA Jasmine McCraven

Pre Game Radio, Friday 8PM-10PM

WAMM: What do you do outside of radio?

DJ JAZZY LO: I’m a full time reporter at The Daily Memphian

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

DJ JAZZY LO: I love how it exposes the diverse personalities and perspectives of people in the world. It’s also a safe space to be and say whatever you want, because you don’t feel the same pressure from TV, with everyone watching you. Blending this with your favorite tunes just makes the in-studio experience feel like heaven for 2 hours.

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Brandi Rinks

Puttin’ on Airs, Sunday, 9am 

WAMM: Describe your show in one word.

Brandi: Twangy!

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

Brandi: I’m the Administrative & Operations Coordinator at a local non-profit and I spend my free time throwing pottery, taking photos, and looking at birds.

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Brandi: I love radio because at any point of the day, in any city you’re in, you can turn it on and hear a mix of things you’ve never heard, old familiar songs, and community news! The wealth of genres, personalities, knowledge, and talent that Memphis in particular has to offer is a constant source of pride, and you can see that reflected in our radio stations!

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DJ Amy Dee, AKA Amy Dobbins

Mint Cream Tunes, Sundays 3PM- 4PM 

WAMM: Describe your show in one word.

DJ Amy Dee: Nostalgic

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

DJ Amy Dee:  I own Mint Cream Shop, a vintage store. I make jewelry and goods out of polymer clay and paint.

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

DJ Amy Dee:  I love to play fun tones to fit my listeners life at the moment. I want to help with their mood. Create the vibe. 

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Dee Torrell

We Belong, Sunday 4pm-5pm

WAMM: Describe your show in one word.

Dee Torrell: LGBTQ+

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

Dee Torrell: Database developer by day, keyboardist and bassist in bands, classical guitar and piano for decompressing, and record collecting every other moment.

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Dee Torrell: The ability to connect with an unlimited audience and discover new music and ideas. Listener-supported stations enhance the sense of community.

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DJ bby lay, AKA Layna Hayes

Dear Diary, Friday 6AM-7AM

WAMM: What is your favorite song to play right now?

DJ bby lay: Anything from Beach House’s most recent album, Once Twice Melody.

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

DJ bby lay: Artist and teacher.

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

DJ bby lay: The great variety of music and perspectives.

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Ena Esco

Musically Effective, Sunday, 5pm-7pm

WAMM: Describe your show in one word.

Ena Esco: VIBES

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

Ena Esco: Founder of Ivy Multimedia and Host of Verbally Effective podcast

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Ena Esco: I love the sound and energy of the music in the studio. I also love expressing my thoughts and love for music with the masses.

 

 

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Natalie Hoffman

Strange Wave, Wednesday, 10pm-11pm

WAMM: What is your favorite song to play right now?

Natalie: Sparks, “When Do I Get to Sing ‘My Way’” 

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

Natalie:  Graphic Designer

WAMM: Describe Strange Wave in one word.

Natalie: Synth-y

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Natalie:  Discovering new music.

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Tonya Dyson, AKA Radio Raheema 

Welcome to Neosoulville. Friday, 10AM-12PM

WAMM: What is your favorite song to play right now?

Tonya: Emi Secrest’s “Yellow” has ingrained itself on my soul. Lol

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

Tonya:  Executive Director of Memphis Slim Collaboratory and professional singer/songwriter

WAMM: Describe Welcome To Neosoulville in one word.

Tonya:  Chill

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Tonya:  It’s like performing live.I have one shot to get it right and genuinely be myself while doing it. It’s a great feeling to set a vibe & carry it out through the entire show!

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DJ Alpha Whiskey, AKA Ashley Wimbush

Flight Risk, Thursday 6PM-8PM

WAMM:  What do you do outside of playing music on the radio?

DJ Alpha Whiskey: Air Traffic Controller at KMEM, also DJ around Memphis.

WAMM: Describe Flight Risk in one word.

DJ Alpha Whiskey: Fun

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

DJ Alpha Whiskey: I love that I can play whatever I want! People get to hear me play music that I love and they start loving it too!!

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DJ Siphne Aaye, AKA Siphne A. Sylve

The NuSoul Mix, Friday 11PM-12AM

WAMM: Describe The NuSoul Mix in one word.

DJ Siphne Aaye: Genuine

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

DJ Siphne Aaye: I love sharing music I love with people I love. This radio platform gives me a clear chance to do that.

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Kerry Mahoney

Ring The Alarm, Friday 1PM-2PM

WAMM: Describe Ring The Alarm in one word.

Kerry: Globaltropicalia

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Kerry: Spontaneity.

WAMM: What do you do besides play music on the radio?

Kerry: I’m a graphic designer for film, and TV.

WAMM: What are you excited to play lately?

Kerry: “A Min We Vo Nou We”, by Les Sympathics de Porto Novo

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Shelby McCall

A Corner Called Jazz, Wednesday 11am-12pm

WAMM: Describe A Corner Called Jazz in one word.

Shelby: Chill

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Shelby: Working with others, andthe sense of community with WYXR.

WAMM: What do you do besides play music on the radio?

Shelby: I’m Operations Coordinator of WYXR

WAMM: What are you excited to play lately?

Shelby: Greg Spero’s “July Play” (featuring Mononeon)

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DJ Nancy, AKA Nancy Agee

Memphis Undercover, Monday 2PM-4PM

WAMM: Describe Memphis Undercover in one word.

Nancy: Potpourri

WAMM: What do you love most about radio?

Nancy:  Sharing music & connecting with the audience & other programmers through that. I believe it fosters community.

WAMM: What do you do besides play music on the radio?

Nancy:  I’m a Realtor at InCity Realty.

WAMM: What are you excited to play lately?

Shelby: Today it’s “Aladdin Sane”, David Bowie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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