Posted June 27, 2017

Man of letters

Writer and talk radio personality Solomon Jones, KLN ’97, uses the power of words to shape his community. 

Video Production: Gina Benigno and Louis Peluyera
Solomon Jones, KLN ’97, can trace his writing career back to a grade school bet.

He was in seventh grade, in the 1980s, when a classmate challenged him to write a rap. Jones rose to the occasion and penned lyrics that started him on his path as a professional writer.

Though his stint as a rapper didn’t pan out, he continued to put pen to paper to express his thoughts. He honed his natural ability at Temple and has since written eight novels. He’s also a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Jones expanded his media presence in 2014, when he began hosting Wake Up With WURD, a weekday morning program that airs on the only African American-owned and -operated talk radio station in Pennsylvania. He uses the platform to explore the topics he writes about in his column while providing listeners with real-time news commentary and context.

The show has cemented his status as a leading voice in the Philadelphia region—a responsibility Jones doesn’t take lightly.

“I don't think I’ve ever had a job in journalism where people depend on me so much for information, for perspective, for context, as they do now that I’m in radio,” he says.

Both on air and in print, Jones facilitates dialogues with his audiences. He covers the issues that matter to them and suggests ways they can use information to shape what happens in their communities.

“Your voice is most powerful when you can influence what other people are talking and thinking about, and what other people are doing,” he says.

In a world without Temple, critical conversations wouldn’t be amplified.