She’s a trailblazer!
Meet Sheila Brown, the first Black woman to own a radio station in Buffalo, New York, WIVB 4 reports.
Brown started her career working in radio at WUFO in Buffalo, New York, during the ’80s. When new management arrived, the veteran radio maven decided to leave after 14 years of service. But she made a vow to come back one day. Eight years after her departure, she returned and purchased the station. Brown has now made history as the first Black woman to own a radio station in the city.
She reflected on her early years and all the obstacles she faced, giving credit to locals who believed in her from the start.
“I looked at the building, and I waved and said, ‘Don’t worry baby, I’ll be back.’ I went through everything; we had banks say no like three times before they said yes, credit unions said ‘no your business plan needs to be updated,’ but True Bethel and Bishop Darius Pridge, they had faith in me,” Brown told reporters.
A native of Buffalo, growing up in Hamlin Park, Brown always dreamed of doing extraordinary things. She is the youngest of three siblings and credits her upbringing, strong support system, husband, and family with her success.
“My uncles coming to see us would go, ‘hey, here comes our superstar.’ Not saying it to boost me but just positive affirmation, so I never was afraid of anything I was going to do,” Brown said.
Eventually, Brown added an FMFM channel to WUFO in partnership with Power 96.5. The decision took the brand to the next level, opening several opportunities and expanding visibility by the millions.
“Since we’ve been FMFM, we were able to get morning shows, syndicated shows, and it gave us a real footprint in the industry,” Brown said.
She has opened doors for many influencers and popular D.J.s. The radio hosts a weekly talk with the mayor, interviews prominent figures, and running the WUFO history collective containing nearly six decades of WUFO memorabilia. Brown has plans to continue her work and grow the WUFO imprint, focusing on expanding her work as an entrepreneur and published author. She is proud of the work she’s accomplished thus far and hopes she has made it easier for those coming behind her.
“It feels good, but it’s sad in 2021 we’re still talking about the first of anything, but I’m just proud that the lord used me to be the first woman of color to own a radio station. The Vice President said she might be the first but not the last, so my goal is to prep other people,” Brown said.
Congratulations Sheila! Thank you for paving the way!
Photo Courtesy of Mark Mulville