Bicentennial Interview: WPKN General Manager Steve di Costanzo, Prepping A Move To Downtown

WPKN MOVE from Cob Carlson on Vimeo.

Listener-supported WPKN is an eclectic city gem to tickle your musical pleasure center and ear for information. The man behind the music and also the morning mic is Steve di Costanzo, general manager for the past decade.

For Steve music has always been front and center. And soon that music will be front and center from Downtown, above the Bijou Theater, as the station readies for a move from the South End on the campus of the University of Bridgeport to Fairfield Avenue adding a new dimension to the central business district and burgeoning arts scene.

Steve writes on his WPKN profile page about his love for music, “It’s beyond therapeutic. I have fond childhood memories of listening to music on a small transistor radio pressed against my ear. What a musical feast: Beatles, Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, Stones, the Who, and assorted bubble-gum, too!”

Later he went on a deep dive of reading, record collecting, and research about the Brit Invasion as well as the UK underground scenes, then collecting albums from studios like Stax and Motown.

Steve is OIB’s latest interview saluting Bridgeport’s Bicentennial.

Q. What is your first memory of Bridgeport?
A. Coming to Black Rock from Redding, CT where we were living at the time to eat at Harborview Market.

Q. What are your ties to Bpt., and what do you do, either work or volunteer work, that benefits the city and its residents?
A. I started volunteering at WPKN in 2008 when our family moved out of New York into the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. I became the GM in 2011. As a community non-profit, our mission is to be visible and relevant to the communities we serve. Our programming is a blend of music, community programming and news. We have invited more that 100 area nonprofits over the years to allow them a platform to talk about their own organizations.

Q. What do you like best about Bridgeport?
A. I love its multiculturalism and diversity. It’s a real town full of family-run operations and larger companies as well. Over the past ten years there’s also been a swell in the number of creatives who have moved to Bridgeport. There’s a real vitality there.

Q. Where is your favorite spot in the city to visit and why?
A. I love Seaside Park because of its historic design and love walking or riding my bike along the sea wall in St. Marys.

Q. What’s your favorite Bridgeport eatery and what do you like there?
A. I have three places in mind. Harborview Market because it’s the heart and soul of Black Rock. Pho Saigon because they have the best Pho around. Finally I would say Trattoria ‘A Vucchella which is right across the street from our soon-to-be new WPKN location Downtown on Fairfield Avenue.

Q. Where do you see the city going?
A. I’m an optimist by nature. I’ve seen growth in the arts and culture; new growth Downtown and an influx of out-of-town people wanting to see and try Bridgeport.

Q. If you had a magic wand and could make a miracle happen for the city, what would it be?
A. Well, there are still many people who have a misplaced fear about the city. I’d like to wave that wand to remove that sense. I’ve lived in big cities and I’ve never felt fearful in Bridgeport.

Later this year, WPKN will relocate to beautiful new digs in Downtown Bridgeport! This is a BIG project, and we need your support to get the truck rolling. Please donate, so we can make this journey forward. Our caravan of equipment and music is being loaded up, all we need is YOU, our listener supporters. We remain, as ever, YOUR independent community radio station, always commercial-free, always different. Broadcasting out of Bridgeport CT, since 1965 we serve Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties in CT, and Suffolk county in Long Island NY. You can find us at 89.5 FM, or streaming at wpkn.org, or via our own WPKNLive mobile app.

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