WBGO 88.3 FM Newark Public Radio is a non-profit, publicly funded arts and cultural institution, dedicated to the curation, presentation, and preservation of music created out of the African American experience. The station is committed to providing the community with independently produced music programming and journalism for the purpose of public enrichment, entertainment, and insight.
WBGO was the brainchild of an urban think tank whose members came together in Newark in the 1970s to effect change after the uprising of 1967. Marshalling an extraordinary group of city activists, and with the help of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, they established the first public radio station in New Jersey in 1979. WBGO affiliated with National Public Radio (NPR) and went to a 24-hour broadcast day in 1980.
The station has had a long relationship with William Paterson University’s Jazz Studies Program, dating to the 1980s, when the station was invited to record performances in
Shea Center for presentations on the NPR series, The American Jazz Radio Festival (AJRF). Performers included the late Wayne Shorter, Horacee Arnold and Ralph Towner,
Tanareid with Rufus Reid and Akira Tana, the Michael Carvin Quartet, the Jazz Journey of Benny Golson, and a tribute to Thad Jones featuring William Paterson students.
A memorial concert featuring the music of the late Jazz Studies Program director James Williams, organized by the WP jazz faculty, and featuring the late Mulgrew Miller,
who succeeded Williams as Jazz Studies Program director, along with WP full-time and adjunct faculty as well as students, was featured on a JazzSet hosted by Dee Dee
Bridgewater. In 2004, Miller played solo in the street in front of WBGO ‘s studios at 54 Park Place in Newark in celebration of the station’s 25th anniversary. In addition,
WBGO’s celebrations of April as Jazz Appreciation Month have featured numerous performances and interviews with WP jazz students as well as Mulgrew Miller, current Jazz
Studies Program director Bill Charlap, and Jazz Studies Program coordinator David Demsey.
Today, WBGO's broadcast signal is heard by listeners in the New York and New Jersey metro area on 88.3FM and globally via WBGO.org, the WBGO app, and multiple streaming services. Listeners from around the world enjoy the wonderful weekday programs, Rhythm & Song weekends, plus podcasts and video from WBGO Studios. WBGO is honored to celebrate its 44 years of music discovery with William Paterson University.