After 10 years of hosting the weekly Soulful Sundays on WRNB-FM (100.3) with Derrick Sampson, veteran radio personality Dyana Williams is heading back to the airwaves full time on Monday, July 15. She will host the afternoon drive from 3 to 7 p.m. on Classix 107.9 FM, Monday through Thursday, while continuing Soulful Sundays.
“I haven’t done full-time radio since the ’80s,” Williams said, primping her signature, now-platinum, bob. “I’ve filled in the years with so many other things … but I never stopped doing radio. I’ve always done part-time or little stints.”
The format of her show will be songs from the 1970s and 1980s, and give preference to the sound of Philadelphia. She acknowledges that Philadelphia radio is home to other formidable radio personalities.
“Philly’s a very unique market because you have a Patty Jackson who’s been on [the air] for 30 years and in the same time slot," Williams said. “That’s unheard of in radio, especially in these days where there’s so much corporatization and change.”
“If you look at R&B music over the past 40 years, who’s more engaged with the artist, the music, and the history?" Colby Tyner, Urban One’s vice president of programming asked.
Tyner said that Lady B, who will precede Williams in the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. slot, has done an incredible job with building up the audience at Classix and believes that Williams will, as well.
“These two iconic voices will continue to make Philly feel good," Tyner said.
In December, Radio One flipped the format of gospel station Praise 107.9 to Classix 107.9 FM. The current format adopted a classic R&B sound, reaching to the soulful hits of the 1970s and ’80s, which Tyner said is “perfect for Dyana.”
Along with Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Kenny Gamble and broadcaster Ed Wright, Williams is credited with establishing June as Black Music Month in 1979.
Williams has also made a name for herself by offering media coaching to such celebrities as Rihanna, Justin Beiber, and Allen Iverson. Co-host/producer of the Questlove Supreme podcast and former Power 99 FM radio personality Laiya St. Clair said that Williams has a gift for bringing talented people together.
“I actually met Questlove in a line to interview Stevie Wonder at one of Dyana’s [International Association of African American Music] conferences. Back then he was an intern. The next year his band was in the showcase,” St. Clair said.
Cathy Hughes, founder of Urban One Inc., has known Williams for more than 40 years and believes that Williams is “the number-one proponent of the preservation of black music.”
“I’m honored and blessed that she’s returning.” Hughes said. “It’s a big time commitment on her part, but she did it out of her commitment to black music. ... The only way to preserve black music is to play it.”
Williams considers it an honor to sit at the microphone and talk to audiences of color.