The Washington Post By Mylon Medley,
Published: March 13 2012
What used to be Anacostia’s Cole Café is now the home for We Act, a two-month-old radio station at 1918 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. The station, which broadcasts on WPWC 1480 AM, says it is the only independent progressive radio station in Washington, D.C.
Kymone Freeman, co-owner of We Act, said there’s only one other radio station in the United States that broadcasts from a street named after Martin Luther King Jr., and it’s in Berkeley, Calif.
“We call the one in Berkeley ‘MLK west,’ and this one ‘MLK east,” Freeman said.
Freeman said that establishing the station on MLK Avenue was intentional, and that the street’s name plays a direct role in the mission of this organization.
“It’s because of MLK Avenue,” Freeman said. “We wanted to be the living monument.”
He believes the media focused on the messages of King prior to 1965, but didn’t give the same emphasis on his views after that time.
“You would think he died in ‘65,” Freeman said. However, King spoke out against the war in Vietnam and criticized America for being the world’s biggest perpetrator of violence. These are the types of messages that are broadcast from the station.
Perhaps what most embodies the mission of WPWC is the picture that Freeman sits under as he works. It’s an image of Malcolm X with a quote: “Don’t be so blinded by patriotism that you cannot face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it or does it.”
“We deal with the uncomfortable,” Freeman said. “We have a relentless love affair with the truth.”
Since the station is still new, there is speculation from those in the community on what is aired. Some come to the radio station to drop off samples of their music. Others think, “Oh, it’s an AM station in the hood, it must be gospel,” Freeman said. However, Freeman and his team want the community to know that they have a voice in “We Act.”
Freeman is a self-declared collector of quotes. He believes that his favorite quote edifies what they aim to do: “Until the lions have their historians, the tales of the hunt will continue to tell the hunters’ stories.”
“We’re here to tell the lions’ stories,” Freeman said.