By Tyronda James
Gloria Langston, co-founder of local radio station WDKX has died.
The radio station made the announcement Saturday on Twitter.
“With heavy hearts we regret to inform you that co-founder of WDKX, Gloria Langston, has passed away,” said the statement. “We appreciate your patience love and understanding as we process her transition.”
Langston, a native of Jamaica, moved to New York City to attend NYU which is where she met her husband, Andrew. The two later married and co-founded the radio station–which was the first Black-owned station in Rochester and one of the first Black-owned stations in New York State.
Andrew, died in 2010.
In 2014, former mayor Lovely Warren named a street in honor of him, “Andrew Langston Way.”
WDKX went on the air in 1974, but according to the WDKX website, it was after six years of delays, traveling back and forth on hundreds of trips to the FCC in Washington, DC, and additional congressional hearings.
The posting on the website notes further that Langston had no previous radio experience but was a quick learner. “Gloria was quick to join the radio scene as a storyteller… During her time with WDKX, she had the opportunity to interview Black leaders, such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the first Black woman elected to congress Shirley Chisholm.”
According to reports, the Langston’s chose the call letters WDKX in honor of several Black historical figures. The ‘D’ stands for Frederick Douglass, the ‘K’ for Martin Luther King Jr., and the ‘X’ for Malcolm X.
Former WDKX PR and Social Media Marketer Ella Dean, noted some of her memories working for Langston and how the two of them later became close friends.
“I’ve known Mrs. Langston since I was 16. That’s when I started working at WDKX Radio as an intern,” Dean writes on the WDKX website. “I didn’t work with her often but would often type letters for her or do filing. I knew I had to be on point whenever I worked on something for her. She was my boss then, but it wasn’t until a year or two before I moved to Phoenix in 2002 that our friendship began.”
Dean moved back to Rochester in 2008 and says that’s when her friendship with Langston blossomed.
“…we became very close. I attended Toastmasters with her many times. I do think she was a little disappointed I didn’t join. We would often go to the movies and always went out to eat after.”
Since Langston’s death there has been an outpouring of statements on social media.
“Gloria Langston… was a trailblazer and icon in our community. She was a fierce advocate for the people of Rochester and will truly be missed. My deepest condolences to her family and friends,” wrote Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.
“The epitome of what a real role model is. She welcomed me with graciousness when I first arrived in Rochester in 1980 knowing no one. I have never forgotten her kindness. Good memories are indeed a “gift”. My sincere condolences,” wrote Janet Lomax, retired journalist, and News Anchor for News 10NBC
“My Deepest condolences. She was a pioneer and inspiration to so many of us,” noted local Rochester performer and artist, Thomas Warfield.
“Sending fervent prayers of comfort and peace as you mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a blessed Elder,” said Melanie Funchess, CEO/ Principal at Ubuntu Village Works LLC.
“Condolences on the passing of this strong and great woman. Thoughts and prayers to Andre and the entire Langston Family,” wrote former NYS Senator, Joe Robach.
A private service for Mrs. Langston will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2022. A public celebration for Langston will be announced at a later date.
Langston’s loved ones and the staff at WDKX are appreciative of the overwhelming amount of calls, cards, posts, and prayers, they ask that privacy is respected during this time.