Support Your Mind & Soul
In the basement of a modest building that sits adjacent to the birth-site of Malcolm Little, famously known as Malcolm X, rests the headquarters of a low-power FM radio station with high-powered aspirations.
101.3 FM Mind and Soul Radio, housed in the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, is celebrating their second anniversary on-air. In preparation for an ambitious new year, the producers and hosts of the station’s flagship show, Michael and Michelle in the Morning, are seeking public support to continue providing quality programming for the North Omaha community.
I was invited to join the crew for the morning broadcast. As I got comfortable, I couldn’t help but notice the playful energy in the studio. Before going live at 7:00 a.m, there were laughs and smiles as the team prepared. Dalamar McTizic, aka BLK (black) Xcellence, is the lead sound engineer and producer of the show. He also serves as the announcer, opening the broadcast with a charisma-filled greeting that could make anyone hop out on the right side of the bed.
“Got to get up ERRRRLY in the morning to catch Michael and Michelle in the Morning! I’m BLK Xcellence, holdin it down on the boards. Doin what I do, attemptin t’do it well, how are you guys a a’doin?”
Michael Scott and Michelle Troxclair then pick up the reigns. Scott’s voice bellows in with a rich timbre that is complemented by Troxclair’s smokey smooth delivery.
Born and raised in New York City, son of Jamaican immigrants, Michael Scott began television reporting in Tucson, Arizona in 1977. He went on to anchor numerous news markets including Denver, Dallas, and Los Angeles on Entertainment Tonight. His work brought him to Omaha multiple times in the 80s and 90s where he anchored for KETV and KMTV. He developed a strong reputation and deep love for the city. “Omaha is great a place to live. I’ve left Omaha and come back,” said Scott. He even left a second time and came back in 2015, semi-retired.
That’s when Mind and Soul Radio was just getting started and program director Paul Allen IV was looking for strong talent to develop a flagship morning show. Allen met with Scott who was then connected with Michelle Troxclair.
One of many trades and talents, during the day Troxclair runs creative writing programming out of the Douglas County Youth Center and has been engaged in community development from a young age. Well-known for her social activism, poetry education background, and spoken word events, Troxclair was an obvious pick to sit opposite of Scott. The two have been working together since the show’s launch in 2016.
The content of Michael and Michelle moves from local to national news, political to pop culture, and of course morning weather and traffic. “We extend the broadcasting through the day, we try to grab the audience and bring them through,” said Scott, who also announces upcoming programming and local headlines to run throughout the day. On some days the trio is joined by a guest from the community to discuss issues or events related to them but every show winds down with a “Michelle Soapbox Moment” where Troxclair sounds off on subjects on her mind. That day in the studio it was about a Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody. During the moment though, she made a minor factual error, and that’s where Scott steps in, “I’m supposed to be the big boy that brings journalism on the air. She’s a very opinionated woman, I think we balance each other.”
“We are arguably, probably the only progressive voice in radio here in Omaha, or in Nebraska even. So we’re hoping as we grow, as the station grows, we can reach more people and be one of the voices that helps to swing people to progressive ideas and values,” said Troxclair.
“An educated and informed public and citizenry do better at making decisions for their own lives with reference to government and how it functions. We feel like it is our charge that we do that.”
Progressivism in this case does not shy away from discussing and criticizing the current president of the United States. Scott often reads national headlines regarding President Trump, his behavior, and policy decisions. Although the duo have received some push-back from people who disagree with their political stances, Troxclair believes the information and discussion is important, “An educated and informed public and citizenry do better at making decisions for their own lives with reference to government and how it functions. We feel like it is our charge that we do that,” she said.
Informing the masses comes at a cost though, one the 100 watt station is seeking community support to maintain and ultimately boost. Paul Allen has aspirations to expand the station to 100,000 watts, similar to that of 8.97 FM The River based out of Iowa Western Community College. “Unfortunately, it depends on when the FCC makes those licenses available,” said Allen. In the meantime the station is available online via Tune-in and other platforms, but the team wants to continue to raise the profile of the station with quality programming to galvanize public financial contributions.
Troxclair says community-supported radio is simple math, “If we got 1000 people in our community to give ten bucks a month, there you have it and we are not dependent on outside entities coming into our community putting down their dollars and telling us what to do.”
The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, the station’s fiscal agent, is a non-profit that is able to receive grants and tax-deductible donations. Although the station has been successful in acquiring some grant funding, Troxclair says she speaks for the crew when she stresses public participation, “I hope that people see the value in what it is that we do and support us. I want our community to be involved and invest in us so that we can continue and then grow!”
101.3 FM Mind and Soul Radio is a key partner in the development NOISE. Since the inception of the initiative, the station has supported the creation of the NOISE Report, a weekly news brief featuring soundbites and headlines from around the community. The report runs at the top of every hour Monday through Friday after Mind & Soul News and can be found on noiseomaha.com.