By John Lynds
East Boston’s widely popular youth music and arts program will host a community-wide block party on Saturday, September 17 to launch its low-power FM radio station, 94.9 Zumix.
“We are super excited about the Zumix radio launch party and want to encourage the entire community to come down and help us celebrate,” said Zumix Director Madeleine Steczynski. “It will be an awesome day with food and live performance and half way through we will ‘Flip the Switch’ on the station and go live from the party.”
The free, outdoor, family-friendly afternoon of music, art, food, and community will kick off at 3 p.m. on September 17 on Orleans Street in Jeffries Point from Sumner to Everett Streets.
Zumix Radio Coordinator Brittany Thomas said the event will feature live music on two stages, multi-media art installations, and small business vendors.
Musical performances on alternating stages will span genres, and will feature Zumix youth ensembles and local bands including Latin Rock group La Chusma, youth group ICA Slam Poets, and hip hop dance crew the Floorlords. Pupusas and cider will also be for sale.
There will be an after party inside the Zumix Firehouse at 6:30 p.m. for a $10 cover.
“This is a great moment in a long, important relationship between the station and our neighborhood,” said Thomas. “Youth producers will be given space to create of the type of media that represents and sustains them. I’m so excited that the community is embracing this project. I hope that the Block Party will be everything that is a part of our station’s long-term vision – a place to connect with neighbors, share music, hear a different perspective, and recharge through the power of youth art.”
In 2015 Zumix was granted one of two construction permits by the Federal Communications Corporation (FCC) for a Low Power FM radio station.
The station, which will be shared with Winthrop Art Association, will broadcast on 94.9 FM. Its signal will reach a radius of approximately 3.5 miles from a transmission site in Eastie. In addition to its new broadcast station, Zumix Radio will continue to stream online at http://www.Zumix.org.
Zumix Radio is a youth and community station that serves Zumix’s mission of empowering youth to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. Currently 30 youth and 10 adults produce and host weekly shows featuring a variety of music styles and topics such as teen life, local news, and labor rights.
Zumix Radio began in 2005 and initially broadcast on 1630 AM. Since moving to the Firehouse at 260 Sumner Street in 2010, it has been an online station only. With the new broadcast station, Zumix Radio anticipates reaching a broader and more diverse group of listeners.
Zumix’s LPFM license is the result of a ten-year effort by media justice advocates to win passage of the Local Community Radio Act that mandates the FCC to issue new non-commercial FM radio licenses to community groups across the country. The Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in January 2011.
Since fall 2013 there have been 1,506 LPFM licenses granted across the country. Only two LPFM frequencies were available in Boston, and Zumix was chosen for one. The other frequency, 102.9, was granted to three organizations–Lasell College, Global Ministries Christian Church, and the City of Boston.
The Zumix Radio Block Party will be a continuation of celebrations in honor of Zumix’s 25th year supporting youth arts and empowerment in East Boston.
“We’re excited to kick off what we hope will become a staple of the East Boston annual calendar,‘ said Zumix Community Arts and Events Coordinator Jeeyoon Kim. ‘In a neighborhood that’s rapidly changing, a block party is a new way to continue the work that Zumix has done in this community for the past 25 years. Zumix continues to provide East Boston with opportunities to come together through art and find connection among neighbors.”
Kim said the event is underwritten with the support of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, RDK Engineers, Ryan Persac & Andrew Pike East Boston Realtors, Downeast Cider, and Lee Guertin.
For more information on the Zumix Radio Block Party visit www.Zumix.org.