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Power 92 Radio To Make History With Debut Of Chicago’s First Mainstream Reggae Program

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Listeners finally receive long awaited access to Caribbean culture and music

A group of savvy individuals of Jamaican descent, skilled in business and entertainment, have joined forces with Crawford Broadcasting’s Power 92 ( 92.3-FM) to create Reggae Link Radio (RLR), Chicago’s first mainstream radio program dedicated to promoting Caribbean culture and music. RLR will debut Sunday, August 12, airing from 9 p.m. to midnight.

The debut of RLR is a historic moment for Chicago radio, which will mark the first time in recent memory that a major radio station will have a timeslot dedicated solely to featuring Caribbean music, artists and news. Chicago businessman Joe Neish, owner of the popular South Side restaurant, Uncle Joe’s Tropical Cuisine, spearheaded the development process that brought RLR to life, and will serve as executive producer. With the support of standout deejays and sisters, Petina and Silky, internationally known as the “Ladies of Reggae Radio,” who will anchor the entertainment segments, RLR will offer a refreshingly diverse blend of late-night programming every Sunday filled with live interviews, Caribbean news, sports and events.

“I’ve been in Chicago 20 years and there’s never been reggae on mainstream radio,” says Neish. “I would hear it on college stations but never outside of that. With Reggae Link Radio, we have the opportunity to be the first.”

The highlight of RLR is the anticipation of “The Untouchable” Chico , and DJ Lenky–two reggae music masterminds who’ve spent more than 20 years collectively, immersed in the music.

Chico and Lenky, both natives of Kingston, Jamaica, are the featured deejays of RLR and will play the hottest music in reggae, dancehall, hip-hop and soca. Chico gained popularity as a DJ in Miami, hoping to follow in the footsteps of legendary Jamaican radio icon and mentor Barry Gordon, who gained fame in the 1980s on JBC Radio One. Lenky built a reputation as a talented DJ while spinning reggae music in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, before coming to Chicago in 1996 where he met Neish, and later began working for Neish’s Fireworks Sound, a sound system company. Chico accepted Neish’s invite to come to Chicago to work with RLR.

“I’ve been traveling to Chicago since 1992 and there has always been a need for a medium that reaches out to the English-speaking Caribbean people,” says Chico. “So it wasn’t brain surgery for me to know I wanted to be a part of Reggae Link Radio. Chicago’s Caribbean community needs it. It is so lacking that it hurts.”

“The Midwest has never experienced this before,” says Lenky. “This show will open up a lot of doors for the Caribbean listeners as a whole.”

According to most recent estimates from the Consul of Jamaica for Chicago, there are approximately 70,000 Jamaicans in Chicago, which does not include the entire Caribbean population. With mainstream reggae artists like Elephant Man, Sean Paul and Sizzla helping to increase the popularity of their genre, RLR is expected to become an immediate draw for listeners.

In addition, it will provide a much needed outlet for local artists who’ve long sought a medium that will enable them to reach a larger audience base. Until now, reggae has been relegated to college radio stations like WNUR, WKKC, and WLUW, which have been the primary carriers of reggae music for more than a decade.

“This is something we’ve been wanting for years,” says Petina, who, along with Silky, has co-hosted the award-winning “Reggae Vibrations” show on Northwestern University’s WNUR, 89.3FM, for seven years. “Reggae Link Radio will give us the chance not only to fill a need for the Caribbean community in the Chicagoland area, but also to bring reggae to an entirely new group of peopleā€”an amazing opportunity for all of us.”

“It’s very important to the community, because it’s introducing reggae music to a generation of people to whom the lines between musical genres are often blurred,” says Silky.

“I like to think the program that we’re doing does something for the community,” adds Chico. “My whole aim is to use music to touch the lives of people in whatever way I can. When I’m done and old on the verandah with no teeth I want people to say Chico contributed something.”

For more information or to schedule an interview with someone from Reggae Link Radio, please contact Jason Maymon at 773-573-5900 or jmaymonpr @g mail.com. Please visit the Web Site at www.reggaelinkradio.com.

Jason Maymon
jmaymonp r@ gmail.com

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