Carbon Sound in Minneapolis and HYFIN in Milwaukee, America’s two newest Urban Alternative radio stations, launched over the Juneteenth holiday weekend.  Both stations enjoy healthy ownership pedigree and deep roots in their cities.  Carbon Sound is the work of The Current and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), while HYFIN is the product of Radio Milwaukee.  Both stations received start-up funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and are Paragon clients.

Carbon Sound staff (L-R): Content Director Julian Green, Host Sanni Brown and Community Engagement Specialist Andre Griffin
Photo credit: Awa Mally for MPR

The Current launched Carbon Sound as a new music stream, website, and app on June 16.  Carbon Sound plays hip-hop, R&B, Afrobeats, funk, and electronica, and was created in partnership with “The Ice,” carried on the HD2 signal of Minneapolis’ KMOJ 89.9 FM.

Led by Content Director Julian Green, Carbon Sound has been in the design mode for the past 11 months.  In addition to local research and consulting funded by CPB and provided by Paragon’s Jordan Lee and Mike Henry, MPR drilled down to determine what Twin Cities listeners were missing in a community rocked by the murder of George Floyd in 2020.  Green commented, “The mission and the vision here are my passions.  It’s showing the depth, breadth, and beauty of Black musical expression and showing how it’s foundational to the whole canon of musical expression in this country.”

HYFIN staff (L-R): Program Director Tarik Moody, Programming Support Chris Alexander, On-Air Host Element Everest-Blanks, Community Engagment Coordinator “DJ” Darron Bruwer and On-Air Host Anthony Foster
Photo credit: Erin Bagatta

Radio Milwaukee launched HYFIN on June 19.  In addition to HYFIN’s new music stream, website, and app, the new Urban Alternative channel airs on Radio Milwaukee from 9 pm – 3 am.

The local format connects young and diverse audiences through the full spectrum of Black music.  HYFIN employs a unique focus on Black women, both musically and culturally.  The music mix is approximately 60% female-identifying artists, and stories about the successes (and struggles) of Black women air throughout the day.

Long-time Radio Milwaukee host Tarik Moody, who also doubled as their Digital Content Manager and the creator of the Rhythm Lab syndicated radio show, is now the Content Director for HYFIN.  Moody commented, “As we’ve said from the beginning, we want HYFIN to uplift Black women and we’re doing that in every way we can.”

Carbon Sound and HYFIN join four previous Urban Alternative stations that have launched since 2017:  Vocalo Chicago104.7 THE DROP DenverHot 91 WNSB Norfolk, and The Vibe on KTSU Houston.

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