About

About Us

Our students gain valuable broadcasting experience through our radio station, which is sponsored by our corporate sponsors, grants, state appropriations, and Hot 91 members. Listen live to "Hot 91" on your computer or mobile device.

Our Sponsors

History

WNSB first signed on the air February 22, 1980, from Norfolk State University's James Hugo Madison Hall. The 1,000-watt non-commercial radio station broadcast only twelve hours per day with instructional programming and NSU news. The radio station was the dream of Dr. Wilbert D. Edgerton the first chair of the Department of Mass Communications & Journalism (deceased), Dr. Georgia Ryder, dean of what is now the College of Liberal Arts and former chair of the Music Department (deceased) and Dr. Melvin Smith, NSU Administrator (deceased), Mass Communications & Journalism faculty member, Dr. Stanley Tickton was a consultant on the legal aspects of forming the station and also designed the control room, studio, and ordered all of the equipment for the station.

Initially, Dr. Melvin O. Smith, who authored the AIDP federal grant in the early 1970's which provided funds for the purchase of the initial radio equipment. Further efforts by Dr. Smith, Dr. Georgia A. Ryder and Dr. Wilbert D. Edgerton enabled the station to acquire staff and additional equipment, including monies from the Kellogg Foundation which funded the construction of the production studio and allowed for the expansion of services. The efforts by Joel Looper, Earl Willey, Edward D. Turner, Howard Jernigan, Quay Austin, and Dr. Stanley Tickton were crucial in establishing and maintaining a successful broadcasting operation. As a result of support by then University President Harrison B. Wilson, WNSB was initially established as a 1,000-watt radio station rather than the 10 -watt station commonly assigned to college-owned stations, using the call letters WNSB, (Norfolk State Broadcasting), consistent with growth plans for the university.

WNSB Radio

On April 25, 1980, WNSB radio became Hampton Road's first full-time FM Jazz station broadcasting twelve hours per day. The station was known as “FM Jazz 91”, which later became “The Jazzbeat of Hampton Roads” making WNSB Tidewater’s only full-time jazz radio station.

Under the leadership of Dr. Wilbert D. Edgerton, General Manager and Mass Communications chair, and Edward D. Turner (Station Manager, 1980-2011) operational hours were expanded in 1983 as the station took on affiliations with the Associated Press, United Press International and in 1990 with National Public Radio.

In 1982, WNSB became the first educational station in the region to acquire an earth station receiving satellite dish. On March 1, 1983, WNSB began broadcasting in stereo and expanded its daily operation to eighteen hours. In March of 2000, WNSB adopted an urban contemporary format with overnight satellite jazz programming with Bob Parlocha of WMFT.

Through Norfolk State University student's efforts to promote jazz in the community a local festival was birthed, twelve hours of “Jazz in the Park.” The festival later became the second largest jazz festival in the area and one of the City of Norfolk's largest outdoor events known as “Norfolk Waterside Jazz Festival.”

WNSB Relocations

In 1992, WNSB increased its transmitted wattage and relocated the main transmitter to Chesapeake, Virginia. The station evolved its format and identity several times after the upgrade, migrating to a new adult contemporary (Smooth Jazz) format. As jazz embraced a new era of “Acid Jazz” WNSB's identity crisis took the station through several identifying slogans over the next four years “The Beat”, “Kool Jazz”, then “Hot Buttered Soul.”

Spartan Station (the old Norfolk Trailways bus station) became the newly renovated home for WNSB in 1996 when the station moved from its original location in James Hugo Madison Hall.

Another Format Change

In 1998, WNSB transitioned from its rich jazz heritage and changed the format to Urban Contemporary. The station also expanded the operational time to 24-hours in the summer of that year. In year 2000, WNSB conducted a transmitter upgrade and became one of the area's first HD radio stations.

With the collaboration of Turner and Douglas A. Perry, Jr. (Program Director, 2000 – 2021) WNSB modified the format to Urban Mainstream (Hip Hop and R&B) and took on the slogan “Hot 91.”

Throughout its two major identities “The Jazzbeat of Hampton Roads” and “Hot 91 WNSB” has continuously been the landmark station for developing successful broadcasters and international talent in the entertainment business, which has included NBC's Saturday Night Live cast member Jared Antonio Farrow, better known by his stage name Jay Pharoah, Morris “The Hawk” Baxter who does mornings at WCLK in Atlanta and local television anchors Regina Mobley and Alveta Ewell. WNSB has also been known for playing songs before they are hits and breaking records for nationally signed and independent artists. The radio station has been key to the urban music movement in the region's Hip-Hop culture even developing and presenting some of today's newest Hip-Hop and R&B producers as well as recording talents. On July 2, 2005, Dr. Wanda Brockington became the chair of the Mass Communications Department and General Manager of WNSB until January 2014.

Through the Years

Since its inception, WNSB has actively been associated with local, regional, and national professional organizations, including Tidewater Area Radio Broadcasters (TARB), Virginia Association of Broadcasters (VAB), Broadcast Education Association, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and the National Electronic Media Association formerly known as the National Broadcasting Society-Alpha Epsilon Rho. WNSB has actively supported community events and public service organizations within the Tidewater area, earning and maintaining respect throughout its service area and within the local broadcast industry.

January 2014 – Present

In late January of 2014, Ms. Kashon Powell became station manager of “Hot 91” after Edward Turner retired in 2011. Powell resigned the position in January of 2015, leaving the station in the management hands of the program director, Douglas Perry and Dr. Danny Adams, associate dean for the NSU College of Liberal Arts.

Although WNSB's terrestrial broadcast signal fell silent for eight months due to antenna damage from multiple thunderstorms on February 17, 2014, “Hot 91” continued to broadcast as an online station through the Tune-In Radio Mobile App. The radio station resumed full operation on October 23, 2014.

In 2015, the staff and management of WNSB continued to persevere despite an electrical fire and flood in the building in which it was housed. In July 2015, Spartan Station suffered a flood which took WNSB off the air for a forty-eight-hour period. In August 2015, an electrical fire occurred in Spartan Station within a transformer in the building causing WNSB to suffer electrical damage and be off the air for forty-eight hours.

On January 10, 2016, Edith J. Lee-Thorpe became general manager of WNSB, “Hot 91” until March 2020. Thorpe's strategic plan was to study the radio market through market research, focus groups, and serving in the public's interest. WNSB soon became “Blazin’ Hot 91.”

On April 1, 2016, WNSB conducted its first live on-air membership campaign. And on Saturday, February 22, 2020, WNSB celebrated its 40th anniversary on the air. A gala event celebrating 40 years was held that Saturday night on the campus of Norfolk State University.

On January 1, 2022, Mr. Maynard Scales, Jr., who received his BS & MS degrees from the Department of Mass Communications & Journalism at Norfolk State University, became WNSB’s 4th general manager. Soon after arriving, WNSB became known on the air as “Hot 91 – The Soul of VA.” After extensive renovation of the old Mass Communications & Journalism offices and the old TV studio in J. Hugo Madison Hall, WNSB has moved from NSU’s Spartan Station back to its original home in Madison Hall in February 2022.