CHICAGO — The South Side officially is getting a new radio station.
After 14 years of seeking federal approval to broadcast an FM signal, WJPC was granted approval to set up a radio antenna on CHA property at 43rd Street and Princeton Avenue.
WJPC, which also goes by the name of J99 Jams, follows North Center-based Chicago Independent Radio Project — or CHIRP — in receiving approval in recent months to broadcast their stations over just a small segment of the city.
The station still needs approval from the city, but once that happens, WJPC plans to broadcast not only music by the likes of Teddy Pendergrass and Usher, but give a voice to community issues relevant to large parts of the city.
"The way we are going to handle things, we are going to be everything for the South and West sides," said Antonio Chappell, executive director of the station.
Though not affiliated with Johnson Publishing Company or the former radio station with the WJPC call letters, the station is inspired by the iconic Chicago-based publisher of Ebony magazine, Chappell said.
The station initially applied to the Federal Communications Commission, the agency overseeing the approvals, with the intention to be a blues-focused station.
In 2000, the aspiring broadcaster applied for what is called a low-power FM license, given to community stations to legally broadcast in small areas, but was denied. WJPC had since developed an online stream dedicated to adult urban contemporary music and had a website claiming 101.5 as its future frequency.
For the new frequency, 99.1, the station might have to share the airwaves with another approved station at Morton College in Cicero. Under an agreement, once that station gets up and running, it would broadcast over the frequency from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, while WJPC broadcasts during the rest of the week.
Chappell expects his station to get up and running sometime in the spring with the Cicero station starting after that.
The station plans to devote considerable time to issues such as crime and other issues important to its listening area. On Saturdays specifically, the station will be a "forum for the community giving a soapbox to people to say what's important to them."
"This is a big deal, especially in this market," Chappell said.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: