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Kyle Wallace and 101.7 The Truth Are Breaking Glass Ceilings

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Timing is everything.

In December of 2020, Good Karma Brands publicly announced their plans to launch 101.7 The Truth, a talk radio station focused on embracing and telling the stories of Milwaukee’s black community.

Months of interviews, planning and hiring’s led to the first full day of broadcasts, Jan. 4, 2021.

After completing graduate school at Central Michigan, Kyle Wallace worked in the Milwaukee area as a high school football coach. He then followed that with a stint as a college recruiter for Marquette University.

On the side, Wallace was a part-time teammate at ESPN Milwaukee, working live radio remotes, producing shows and attending games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, collecting sound during post-game availability.

During a conversation with Barrett News Media, Wallace explained how he was overly happy with his position at Marquette. He took great pride in the reality that he was able to make a difference in the lives of prospective students.

However, he still had this itch. He wanted to be involved in sports media, and needed to create a lane for himself to thrive as an on-air contributor. So he continued working whenever he could at 540 ESPN Milwaukee, another station owned and operated by Good Karma Brands.

“In June of 2020, (Good Karma Brands Founder and CEO) Craig Karmazin reached out to me and asked what I thought about a black station. Really, where do African Americans go for news about the community?” Wallace recalled. “There’s not a station that people go to and can run to when they want to hear black voices, that’s something that’s absent from the Milwaukee media market.

“When he said that he had interest in potentially trying to start something I told him, ‘I am more than happy to help in any way that I can because I think it is very important that we provide a platform for African Americans to really voice their thoughts and opinions.'”

Throughout his time with ESPN Milwaukee, Wallace learned the ins and out of the media landscape in his city. He grew comfortable asking questions at press conferences, and networking with fellow media members. His experience allowed him to teach incoming intern classes, and other teammates, everything from running the board to cutting audio and using a recorder.

“I told (Karmazin), I am willing to do anything and everything I can to help you guys get this off the ground,” he said. “I know I’m just a part-time teammate, but I’m a teammate at the end of the day, and I want to make sure this is a success,”

“Whatever I have to do I am more than happy to do it.”

Little did Kyle Wallace know he would soon be named the Director of Content for 101.7 The Truth.

Wallace told BNM that before being offered the position he actually helped game-plan potential teammates to bring in, powerful black Milwaukee voices. He also gave input on who he thought would be a good fit as program director.

“It was a leap of faith,” he said after a tough decision to leave his role with Marquette. “Making that jump to a brand new radio station. The goal is to be around forever, but at the end of the day you have to make sure you are producing, not only on-air but also making money as well.

“I was a little bit nervous but I was excited as well because I knew it was a new challenge that could be very very special for Milwaukee’s community. Not just for the black community, but for everybody that is interested in great talk radio, and to hear a different perspective than they may be used to.”

The Truth is working tirelessly to break glass ceilings in media. The station is providing representation and opportunities for people of color who want to pursue and grow careers in the field, and fans who want exposure and coverage of their community.

“Covering the Brewers, I don’t think I ever saw another black reporter,” Wallace said. “(Covering the Bucks) there was maybe one or two, sometimes.”

On July 22, 2021, 101.7 The Truth was broadcasting live from downtown Milwaukee, during the parade for the NBA Champion Bucks.

During the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration, The Truth provided a live broadcast experience.

“An audio platform that embraces Milwaukee’s black community,” reads the mission statement on the station’s website. “This is our marketplace where authentic conversations can challenge and inspire everyone. You won’t hear just one perspective. It’ll be raw, honest, and true to what’s really going on in our communities.”

Wallace discussed with BNM the impact his former career had on his ability to direct content at The Truth. He knows how to teach an aspiring producer how to produce a live show, because he did it himself.

As a recruiter, he had no idea the impact it had on students to see a black male care about their educational future, until they told him, ‘we wouldn’t be (in college) without you.’

At Whitefish Bay High School, Wallace doesn’t remember ever having an African American teacher during his four years there. An unfortunate common theme in education.

“It meant more to the kids, because it was more than just a recruiter,” he said.

Those recruiting skills came full circle after The Truth hired Zech Simmons as a producer. Wallace recruited him as a high school student to college, and they kept in contact over the years. Simmons was one of the first calls Wallace made when The Truth started drafting their roster.

“We are confident we chose outstanding leaders who have already made an impact on the city through their service, advocacy, and fight for justice and equality,” he said in the station’s initial press release.

The Truth isn’t even a year old yet, however, they are dreaming big. Wallace’s personal goals for the station are to continue creating an impactful on-air product. He hopes that momentum will carry over into the community, making the brand a destination for the black community to come together as one. That’s especially important as local and state elections take place in 2022. He aspires for The Truth to become an outlet where the black community can learn about prospective elected officials and each of their causes.

Of course, influenced by that background in education, Wallace said he eventually wants to create a college scholarship funded by the station, awarded to a local student.

Listen to 101.7 The Truth here.

News Radio

WYPR, The Baltimore Banner Enter Joint Operating Agreement

As part of this new collaboration, the two parties state they will work together on stories and special reports and create collaborative programming

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The city of Baltimore will see two nonprofit organizations form a partnership to share resources, grow their reach, and deliver local news across the region. Your Public Radio Corp. news/talk WYPR (88.1) is entering a joint agreement with The Baltimore Banner. 

As part of this new collaboration, the two parties state they will work together on stories and special reports and create collaborative programming to serve the needs of residents in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.

“We are looking forward to the possibilities of this unique model of nonprofit news as we work to preserve and strengthen local journalism here in greater Baltimore,” LaFontaine Oliver, President of Your Public Radio and GM of WYPR, said in a release, per Inside Radio

“This partnership between Your Public Radio and The Baltimore Banner is an important step to bolster our local newsrooms in Maryland – with trusted, community reporting at the core of the agreement between the two organizations.”

The partnership opens the door to expanding the capacity and reach of each organization’s newsroom and boosts the capability to cover more community matters. Furthermore, WYPR will use its audio expertise to produce a series of joint podcasts and radio programs.

“Our goal is to strengthen Baltimore’s local reporting, growing our coverage statewide,” Imtiaz Patel, CEO of The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, noted. 

“This partnership is a force multiplier for both organizations to expand our coverage and bring the very best local news to the region and state.”

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The Bumper Song for Rush Limbaugh Will Be Retired

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton told their audience Thursday that the rights to Rush’s iconic bumper music “My City was Gone” are set to expire.

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It’s official. The final piece of Rush Limbaugh on syndicated radio will be retired soon. Clay Travis and Buck Sexton told their audience Thursday that the rights to Rush’s iconic bumper music “My City was Gone” are set to expire. 

Limbaugh popularized the song performed by The Pretenders using it as a bumper song which then became synonymous with his overall brand. 

“For decades, Rush’s theme song has reminded everyone about their truth and clarity are on the way,” Travis said. “It’s an iconic song forever that’s going to be attached to Rush Limbaugh and everything that he represented.”

With the one-year anniversary of the “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” approaching, the duo spent time reflecting on the show’s inception and the indelible mark that Limbaugh left on millions of Americans.  

“And for us, this is really like retiring the jersey in sports,” said Sexton. “Because Rush’s theme song is forever attached to his memory, everything he built, and we deeply honor that, his legacy. And that song is a part of his legacy, of course.” 

Clay & Buck’s new theme song is “My Own Worst Enemy.”

“These guys moved to Tennessee from California because they were so frustrated with the direction that California politics had gone (laughing), and they are going to be longtime listeners of this show,” Travis said.  

“They loved Rush. And when we had this conversation with them, Buck, I mean you should have seen their faces and how excited they were to be able to bring their music to this audience and connect their brand and their spirit with the spirit and brand of the greatest radio show audience that has ever existed in American history,” he added. 

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WOLB’s Larry Young Recovering After Having His Leg Amputated

WOLB’s Larry Young has been off the air since April 10.

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A popular Baltimore radio host is recovering after having his leg amputated due to an allergy triggered by his Type 2 diabetes. According to the Baltimore Sun, WOLB’s Larry Young has been off the air since April 10.

“I knew I had a problem,” Young told the paper. “I didn’t know it was as severe as it was. When I got to the hospital, the doctors gave me two options: amputation or death. That is a terrible thing to hear.”

Young has been hosting the morning show on the Urban One-owned station for nearly three decades. He reportedly is planning to retire at the end of the year. 

“Larry is a wonderful person, and we all miss him terribly,” said WOLB GM Howard Mazer. “I’m sure all of our listeners are looking forward to his return.”

Young is no stranger to health scares. 18 years ago, he was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart episode. Young said at the time, doctors gave him less than a 1% chance of surviving. 

“The word ‘no’ is not in Larry’s vocabulary,” Mazer said. “He will go out of his way to help someone, no matter what.

Former mayor Catherine Pugh will fill-in during Young’s absence. 

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