Soul of Dayton adds decade of music

The team behind locally-owned radio station, the Soul of Dayton, (left to right) Carol Beer, Bradlee Beer and Stan “The Man” Brooks, which broadcasts a freewheeling mix of classic R&B, soul and funk digitally at WHKO-HD3 and terrestrially at WHKO-FM (98.7).

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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The team behind locally-owned radio station, the Soul of Dayton, (left to right) Carol Beer, Bradlee Beer and Stan “The Man” Brooks, which broadcasts a freewheeling mix of classic R&B, soul and funk digitally at WHKO-HD3 and terrestrially at WHKO-FM (98.7).

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Since 2013, Soul of Dayton listeners have enjoyed a freewheeling mix of classic R&B and funk released between 1964 to 1989.

However, on Friday, Jan. 21, the locally owned radio station, which broadcasts terrestrially at WHKO-FM (98.7) and digitally at WHKO-HD3, expands its format to include more than 1,000 songs from the 1990s.

“Adding 1,000 tunes from a decade is not an overload for us because we were already playing thousands of tunes,” said station founder Bradlee Beer. “Our focus has always been on funk and Motown but there are some great tunes from the ‘90s. Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men and Janet Jackson are going to see a lot of airplay. I think everybody will enjoy the mix of rhythm and blues and funk.”

Repetition free

Beer, a Wisconsin native, enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1967. The avid music collector got his start in radio while still serving in the late 1970s and ended up stationed in Dayton in the 1980s. Beer helped get Oldies 97.3 on the air before launching the Soul of Dayton almost a decade ago.

“One of the things we’ve always done is put in much greater variety than a typical commercial radio station,” he said. “We play a tremendous variety, but the ones played most frequently are the ones everybody is going to recognize, (particularly) the big rhythm and blues hits that crossed over. We (also) play tunes (that) appeal to a broad audience, not just an African-American audience, but people who enjoy music, period.”

Catalog building

Beer, who works part-time as a civilian engineer for the U.S. Air Force supporting aircraft acquisition and upgrades, spent about a year compiling the songs for the format expansion.

“It took most of that time just to find the tunes,” he said. “In the ‘90s, rhythm and blues artists, especially, were not all managed by major labels. Some of them went to small labels and it a took a ton of searching for me to find the tunes I wanted to play. I don’t think a lot of people are going to hear the difference right away because those ‘90s tunes are going to be stuck in there.”

A wider net

Appealing to a broader audience is also a practical business decision for the Soul of Dayton.

“We’re all getting older, but the good news is, younger people that enjoy the old music, are also going to enjoy the ‘90s,” Beer said. “We don’t play hip-hop, that’s already well covered by another radio station. We’re trying to do something a little bit different than the other radio stations out there, which do a great job. Our advertisers enjoy having a broad appeal and bringing in more listeners, especially now.”

Community service

Reaching Daytonians is Beer’s focus, and it goes beyond music. The station runs community announcements for free and also provides 30-minute slots to local churches on Sunday mornings.

“We’ve increased the number of churches on board with Sunday morning broadcasts,” he said. “Not everybody feels comfortable sitting in a church with a bunch of people. This way, churches can reach out to their membership. We run community announcements because we’re also trying to keep our listenership informed on things they might need to do. (For example), if you tune in, you’re going to hear mentions from the State of Ohio. It’s a tough time out there. We’re all anxious for the pandemic to end and things to get back to normal. I don’t think it’s coming tomorrow so we’ll do anything we can to help out.”

For more information, visit www.soulofdayton.com.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

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