Velma’s Jazz Club Hosts Benefit for KPOO

Bay Area Bands volunteer time to raise funds for African American Radio Station

KPOO.jpgBy Wade Woods

Over 30 years ago a group of young African Americans with no experience in Radio took over a small station located in a garage in an alley off Sixth Street. They originally went to meet the owner to ask for a couple of hours of air time in order to air programs that would be of interest to the African American Community, after two hours of discussions the owner told the group that what they wanted to do would take a hold station and asked them to have their lawyer draw up papers and he would transfer the station to them. They enlisted the help of a friend just out of law school and soon found themselves in possession of KPOO radio station.
The White staff quit, hoping that the inexperienced young African American would be forced to put them in charge of running the station. This would have happen, if not for an unemployed box cutter who happen to be a ham radio operator who happened to be monitoring the station that first night the young African Americans took over the station. He called the station and informed the young new owners that they were off their assigned air waves and he could help. This unemployed box cutter, Otis Evans, made his way to the station and fixed the problem and became KPOO’s first chief engineer. KPOO has been on the air ever since.
Moving to new digs in a modern station facility on Divisadero Street, KPOO has been the only Black Owned and Operated station in Northern California for the past 30 years.
Last Saturday Local musicians from all over the Bay Area came to Velma’s to hold a benefit for KPOO, a non-profit listener supported station. The Benefit was headlined by Bobbie Webb, Barbara Gainer and Fillmore Slim. KPOO supporters filled the funky Jazz club located on 2246 Jerrold Street in the Bayview off Bay Shore to listen to R&B, Jazz and Reggae.
It should also be noted that Emmitt Powell’s Fried Chicken is now located at Velma’s, he says “you can’t keep a good man down.” The Chicken was as good as ever, and it was good to see Emmitt in good sprits after all the problems he has been through.
KPOO will hold a major fundraiser in June at Yoshi’s on Fillmore Street.