Freddie Bell takes the lead at KMOJ  

His focus is developing new talent in broadcasting

Freddie Bell
Freddie Bell Courtesy of KMOJ

Change is afoot at radio station KMOJ, Twin Cities “Voice of the Community.” Freddie Bell, long a household name among avid listeners, in addition to entertaining on the Morning Show with Freddie Bell & Chantel SinGs audiences, now doubles in a business capacity as general manager.

Reached by telephone, Cedrick Frasier, interim president of the parent entity Center for Communication Development (CCD), states, “We’re excited that Freddie Bell is assuming the leadership.”

Frasier indicates there are more changes to come, including branching out into television, at first, via community cable access. “The idea is go into [mainstream] broadcasting. Locally, then nationally.” He states that ultimately, “We’re looking forward to going forward.”

Frasier declined to comment on why Bell’s predecessor Kelvin Quarles and Programming Director Candace Breedlove left KMOJ. Asked about the reason for turnover at the top, Bell answered, “I don’t know.”

In the MSR conference room, Freddie Bell sheds his effervescent on-air demeanor to discuss things at KMOJ. Amiable but no-nonsense, he relates, “I was asked to help lead the station, to fill [the vacated] chair. I am glad to assist in any way I can to help the station, which is why I was there in the first place, [to] work for the overall good, just as I’ve been doing with The Morning Show.

“It’s a continuation,” Bell says. “The work, the job is the same, no matter what capacity you have or title is put on it. Titles are insignificant as far as I’m concerned. It’s about doing the best you can whatever task is at hand to benefit the organization as a whole.”

KMOJ Staff :(l-r, front row) Adonna Swift, Lorna M. Pettis, Nikki Love Dan Speak, and (back row) Ros Bongo Jerie, Ray Seville, Walter “Q-Bear” Banks, Jr., Big Sam, Kimuel Hailey, Shed G and DJ Divine
KMOJ Staff :(l-r, front row) Adonna Swift, Lorna M. Pettis, Nikki Love Dan Speak, and (back row) Ros Bongo Jerie, Ray Seville, Walter “Q-Bear” Banks, Jr., Big Sam, Kimuel Hailey, Shed G and DJ Divine Courtesy of KMOJ

That attitude, along with proven aptitude, including station managing stints at Solid Gold Soul and Totally Gospel Radio, makes it no surprise that Bell’s career has reached this altitude. Further, few executives connect to and resonate with the community like Bell. When his former morning show was removed from the air, Solid Gold Soul fans protested, getting him back on the air within weeks. One hazards the educated guess that this is a general manager qualified to give the people what they want.

For the foreseeable future, as things map out on the drawing board, Freddie Bell continues with sidekick Chantel SinGs on the popular drive-time program. As to whether she’ll eventually shift into the lead spot on The Morning Show or the station will recruit a ringer, “We’re gathering information from a team to make informed decisions,” says Bell.

KMOJ’s press release attests, “The CCD’s organizational vision is to develop and train persons from all communities of color through informing and educating these persons through the vehicles of mass communication, including radio, television, print and social media.”

Says Bell, “When you think about what the organization is about, which is to develop talent, part of my job is to provide the leadership, space, the autonomy to directly help [seasoned] and young broadcasters to do the very best they can.

“There’s no such thing as just the one,” Bell continues. “No one Freddie Bell, Walter [Q-Bear] Banks or Chris Styles. My idea is [that] there are several people out there who can be developed. It’s about moving that talent forward to develop them toward their goals and to reach the [needs] of the community.

“So, the notion that only one individual can carry the mission is incorrect.”

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.