News & Politics

Happy 50th Birthday, WHUR

The great DC station is celebrating with a U Street mural.

DC radio institution WHUR is celebrating its 50th birthday today. The Howard University station is commemorating the occasion with a mural that’s being unveiled outside of Ben’s Chili Bowl. It features depictions of people who shaped the station’s sound.

WHUR first lit the “on air” sign on December 10, 1971, after Howard University purchased the station from the Washington Post for $1. It grew into one of DC’s top stations—a vital hub for Washington’s Black community that launched the careers of many notable radio personalities. Today’s listeners can still tune in to 96.3 to hear its R&B-focused programming.

Among the station’s big names is Cathy Hughes, who served as general manager before launching her Radio One and TV One media empire. Hughes oversaw the creation of the Quiet Storm format, which WHUR DJ Melvin Lindsey made famous. (The station still airs a Quiet Storm show, now hosted by John Monds.) Lindsey was posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame this year. WHUR is also where Kojo Nnamdi got his start, serving as news director in the ’70s and early ’80s.

In addition to the mural, WHUR will also present special programming throughout the weekend, including music retrospectives and a virtual concert.


Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.