Introducing Ayana Contreras

Written by on November 14, 2023

Join us in welcoming our new Assistant General Manager of Radio and Program Director, Ayana Contreras!

Ayana is a cultural historian, author, radio DJ and archivist, Contreras joins the station from Chicago, IL where she helped create and served as content director for the first urban alternative radio station. An avid collector with more than 9,000 vintage vinyl records, she hosts the Reclaimed Soul program on WBEZ and Vocalo Radio in Chicago.

“In our work together as a part of the Urban Alternative Radio collective, I have the pleasure to support, celebrate and champion Ayana and the brilliant work to which she is committed,” states Nikki Swarn, 104.7 THE DROP and 89.3 KUVO JAZZ’s general manager. “Her depth of knowledge of public media, music and culture will further fuel the growth of THE DROP as we continue to pursue critical avenues to build awareness, community impact, and establish our cultural legacy. We are excited to have her lead our very capable teams and look forward to her continued success.”

Outside of music, Contreras is a prolific writer and is a columnist for DownBeat magazine, her writings have been published in The New York Times, Chicago Review, Oxford American and Bandcamp Daily among other publications. Additionally, she is a regular contributor to the NPR Music New Music Friday Podcast, and her book on Post-Civil Rights Era cultural history, titled Energy Never Dies: Afro-Optimism and Creativity in Chicago, was published December 2021 through University of Illinois Press.

“I’m over the moon to embark on this new journey. My passion for jazz and urban alternative music finds a unique home here at Rocky Mountain Public Media – one of the only places in the country where both formats coexist in one forward-leaning organization,” Ayana Contreras, Assistant General Manager of Radio and THE DROP’s program director said. “I’m elated to connect to Colorado’s vibrant, cultural scenes and I look forward to our stations continuing to mirror and amplify the richness of this region.”

Contreras started in this role on Monday, November 13. Let’s give Ayana a big shoutout as she brings her passion for music and culture to THE DROP 104.7!

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