By John Lynds
East Boston’s popular music and performing arts non-profit will host the Second Annual Zumix Radio Block Party on Saturday September 26.
Zumix’s free community block party will kickoff at 2 p.m. on Orleans Street from Sumner to Everett Streets with an afternoon of music, art and food to help celebrate Zumix Radio’s one year anniversary on the airwaves.
“This year Zumix Radio has shown the importance of a space for many to express what it means to be a young person in East Boston and in the US at this point,” says Zumix’s Radio Station Manager, Brittany Thomas. ‘This is the strength of community radio — its a way to communicate and to listen and to better understand our place in time and space. There’s now plenty of media inviting brevity and polarization, and through our own media education at Zumix, we have the chance to create helpful, awesome radio. We can tune our dials to content that we can get behind, produced by neighbors. On our first birthday, its a great time to celebrate how far we’ve come and how far we can still go, and invite more people to the party.”
The Zumix Radio Block Party 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. Pupusas, beer, and other snacks will also be for sale. The event is free, with the option to purchase a VIP package.
The Zumix Radio Block Party will cap off what has been an event-filled summer for Zumix, including its annual Summer Concert Series in Piers Park.
“We’re excited to bring back what was such a successful event last year, hosting more than 400 of our neighbors here in East Boston,‘ said Zumix’s Events Associate Jeeyoon Kim. ‘I think this year has been tough for all of us, so finding these moments to connect with community and celebrate is particularly important. Zumix continues to provide East Boston with opportunities to come together through art and find connection among neighbors, and that’s something that we’re really committed to continuing to do.”
Zumix Radio is a community radio station broadcasting the voices and culture of Boston’s youth through music, stories, and bilingual conversation. After streaming online for the past 10 years, Zumix Radio began broadcasting as a low power FM station 24 hours daily in 2016.
Currently 25 youth and 20 adults produce and host weekly shows featuring a variety of programming including talk radio and music.
“Since launching the FM station last year our radio shows are able to reach more folks,” said Zumix Director Madeleine Steczynski. “As more people become aware of Zumix, the more positive effect we can have on the community. We’re thrilled to have twenty professional DJs supporting us for this special event – it’s an opportunity for our youth to meet real DJs and for music and radio supporters to spread the word about Zumix’s important work both through youth radio and our other programs.”
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 is shared with Winthrop Art Association, broadcasts on 94.9 FM. Its signal reaches a radius of approximately 3.5 miles from a transmission site atop East Boston High School. In addition to its new broadcast station, Zumix Radio continues 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. Zumix radio produces 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. When Zumix moved to the Firehouse at 260 Sumner Street in 2010 the radio station was only available online. With the new broadcast station Zumix Radio has been 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 former 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 three years ago.