End of the Line for Black Tampa Radio Station?

St. Petersburg Times columnist Eric Deggans looks at the likely fate of WTMP-AM, which has a 57-year history in Tampa's black community.

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Tom Joyner (Getty Images)

In his St. Petersburg Times media column, Eric Deggans looks at changes at historic WTMP-AM, which has a long tradition as the voice of Tampa's black community.

Tampa radio station WTMP-AM's 57-year tradition of serving as the voice of the local black community may end Friday, as new managers take over the programming, firing the staff and starting a new format.

The new programming for WTMP (heard at 1150 on AM and 96.1 FM) may not begin until after Labor Day next week. But the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show -- one of the most popular programs among black listeners nationwide -- and The Michael Baisden Show will no longer air on WTMP.

An executive behind the change would not confirm or deny rumors that the station will transition to a Spanish-language format at 6 p.m. Friday.

But former staffers and fans are left feeling as if Tampa's black community has lost its biggest broadcast institution -- just four years after a struggle over debt wrested control of WTMP from the black-owned, family-run media company who had operated it for 10 years.

Read Eric Deggans' entire column at the St. Petersburg Times.

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