Last December WUFO 1080 Mix Radio CEO Sheila Brown celebrated the station’s 56th anniversary with a major, historic announcement.
WUFO, after over five decades, was to begin broadcasting on an FM channel within the next 45 days. It probably turned out to be one of the longest 45 days in the visionary young station owner’s life. And many in the community were indeed beginning to wonder: Is it going to happen? But last Wednesday, August 2 was a real testament to her tenacity, her determination and her faith in God. Sheila, despite obstacles and technical and financial setbacks, kept moving and never gave up.
Now, some eight months after the 45 day target launch was announced – she “flipped the switch” and WUFO for the first time in its history, entered a new era in radio as Power 96.5 “A Blend of R&B And Your Favorite Throwbacks!” A large crowd of well wishers, supporters and dignitaries gathered at the 143 Broadway station to celebrate the ribbon cutting. To quote Assembly Woman Crystal Peoples Stokes – “It was a remarkable day in Buffalo!” Expressing gratitude to all, Sheila gave a brief snapshot of her journey starting with going to Bishop Darius Pridgen and the True Bethel Development Corporation four years ago. “They believed in me,” she said “had they not I wouldn’t be here today!” She also had praise for her husband Kenny, and to Gail Wells, for their critical financial investments. However when the big deal came, she continued, she needed hundreds of thousands more to make it happen.
Many banks had been contacted but did not came thru. Enter Mayor Brown who, she said, came to her aid. They contacted M&T. The rest is history. “M&T Bank believed in the vision and were able to take care of the funding that same day!” she said. Clifford Bell MC’s the special event, as speaker after speaker heaped praise upon this amazing young woman. Gail Wells, representing the Michigan Street Heritage Corridor, recounted the historic milestone WUFO has forged not only in the African American community but the entire city.
Mayor Byron Brown led the crowd in a rousing call and response declaration of support for “Power 96.5.” He thanked M&T Bank for its support of Mrs. Brown’s dream by investing in the community and “giving her 100% of what she asked for.” Paul Tokasz, representing M&T Bank, said they were proud to be a participant with Sheila and WUFO declaring, “We’re all in with Power 96.5!” One of Sheila’s twin sons, Barrington, gave a brief welcome. Her two other children, Barrington’s twin brother Blaine and her daughter Morgan along with husband Kenny, were all on hand.