WBOK has come back strong from the severe damage inflicted on its studio, offices, transmitter site and broadcast tower by the flooding in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now broadcasting over a powerful signal, the station adopted a Black talk format – “Real Talk for Real Times” – on Nov. 1, 2007, after it was purchased and upgraded by Danny Bakewell Sr. on behalf of the Bakewell family.
Bakewell is publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, the oldest and largest Black newspaper west of the Mississippi, and is currently the leading candidate for chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association, known as the Black Press of America, representing over 200 Black-owned newspapers around the country.
Demonstrating the ability to bring diverse bodies of people together for the common good of their communities and with his commitment to self-help, dignity and respect for African Americans and all people, Bakewell has earned a reputation as “one of the most courageous and respected leaders in America today,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
As chairman of the Bakewell Co., one of the nation’s oldest and largest African-American owned and operated real estate development companies, Bakewell heads multi-million dollar revitalization efforts in Los Angeles, Compton, Pasadena and other California communities. His signature on each project is to ensure a majority African American workforce. When his projects are being developed, they provide a working model of inclusion and financial success in areas that other developers consider unprofitable and lacking African American talent.
Bakewell’s trademark statement, “If African Americans can’t work in their own communities, where can they work?” resonates across the nation as the clarion call for community self-determination and the inclusion of Blacks, other people of color, women and all who are routinely excluded or marginalized from the workforce. “I want not just for myself but for all to enjoy the fruits that this country has to offer,” says Bakewell. Thus Danny is found out front on issues that others shy away from. He has organized and fought to defeat proponents of the Three Strikes law, Proposition 209, the “Civil Wrongs Initiative” that killed affirmative action in California, and other threats to the Black community.
Bakewell’s vision, charismatic confidence, and his circle of friends in government, entertainment, private industry and urban communities make him an influential and hotly sought after spokesperson for local, national and international issues. He says, “It is my hope that we will someday live in a nation where there is no need for the global Brotherhood Crusade and its family of agencies and friends. But, until that day arrives, I will defend my brothers and sisters with my last breath.” Bakewell is a former president and current board chairman of the Brotherhood Crusade.
Bakewell’s growing leadership role in Black media, both broadcast and print, promises more powerful and effective advocacy by Black media for Black self-sufficiency and self-determination. In his letter to Black publishers announcing his candidacy for chairman of NNPA, the Black Press of America, he writes: “[W]e must be vigilant, passionate and committed to stand together to reach our goal of sharing respect for each other and demanding respect for the institution we represent. I believe we can best do that by making the NNPA a highly visible, well respected and feared institution – feared for our collective power of the pen.”
This profile was assembled from information on WBOK’s website, www.wbok1230am.com, and augmented by Bay View staff.