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Lumpen Radio’s 2023 Year in Review: Celebrating Voices, Sounds, and Community



2023 has been a remarkable year for Lumpen Radio, and as we close this chapter, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our hosts, DJs, staff, volunteers, and, crucially, our listeners, who have all played pivotal roles in this journey. Your support and contributions have been instrumental in our mission to shine a light on the overlooked corners of our city, elevating its diverse voices and sounds.

Lumpen Radio is committed to promoting open media, fostering community unity, and spotlighting the extraordinary efforts of artists, musicians, activists, and cultural workers in our communities. This year, we’re thrilled to have introduced 15 diverse new shows. Our music-based programming, featuring shows like “Buen Viaje,” “Dusty Sparkles’ Spectacular Soundhouse,” “Trqpiteca FM,” “Enchufate,” “Radio Muévelo,” and “Spiritworld,” has captivated audiences with its rich variety. Meanwhile, our talk shows, interviews, and conversations, including “City Dreams,” “Halftone Radio Supershow,” “Perceptions of the Real,” “Queer And,” “Lumpen FC,” “Mutual Aid Report,” and “Sala,” have stimulated thought-provoking discussions. Our new Spanish language programming, including “Entre Sonidos y Almas” and “Neta,” have further broadened our multilingual radio efforts.



In addition, we’ve hosted 15 special conversations and panel discussions in our “Lumpen Specials” series. Highlights include the “2023 Chicago Local Elections Coverage,” with Jamie Trecker, Mario Smith and John Daley. We’ve also delved into the local independent media landscape and its community impact featuring insights from esteemed journalists Tracy Baim, Justin Kerr, and Sandra Treviño. A standout moment was the engaging discussion between Edra Soto and Esmeralda M. Guerrero about Soto’s solo exhibition “Destination/El Destino: A Decade of GRAFT” at the Hyde Park Art Center. And we had the privilege of interviewing Jonathan D. Katz, curator of “The First Homosexuals: Global Depictions of a New Identity, 1869-1930” at Wrightwood 659, exploring themes of identity, queer art, and its historical and future perspectives.



Our collaborations this year have been groundbreaking. In partnership with La Pocha Nostra, we produced “Gómez Peña’s Mex Files – 2023 Season,” a multi-lingual live radio and archived audio program by the renowned artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. We also continued with the fifth season of “Pocket Guide to Hell,” where host Paul Durica delves into the intersections of art, politics, and culture through Chicago’s historical lens.

Community engagement has been a cornerstone of our work. Our pop-up events at Hyde Park Art Center with “South Side Stories” was a platform for community members, artists and youth to share their cherished memories and stories. At the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Family Day, we captured the voices of children and families, enriching our collective narrative.



Additionally, we’ve hosted enriching Spanish conversations with celebrated 19 Indigenous Chilean artists, providing an intimate glimpse into the region’s ancient cultural legacy and artistic traditions.

Our “Tomorrow is Listening” event, a 24-hour transmission takeover in collaboration with International Anthem, was a global celebration of music and unity. This event, inspired by Damon Locks & Rob Mazurek’s album “New Future City Radio,” featured curated mixes and a grand finale performance, exemplifying the power of collaborative art.



Looking ahead to 2024, we’re excited about projects like the Neighborhood Access Program, which will bring to life “Neighborhood Audio Portraits” in communities like New City, Little Village, and Bronzeville. Our “Art Design Chicago Talks” will explore art exhibitions focusing on Latinx and Native American narratives, among other exciting initiatives.

As we step into 2024, we’re filled with optimism and eagerness to continue our journey of connecting communities through the power of radio. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey, and here’s to an even more impactful year ahead!

Become a PMI member today! It helps Lumpen Radio.

Please join us in supporting the conglomeration of arts and media work that’s revolved around Lumpen in Chicago since 1991. From our cultural programs to our radio station to our mutual aid initiatives, we’re still working tirelessly to take care of a weird crossroads for artists, neighbors, activists, and journalists in Chicago and beyond.  


Check out the membership gifts below and then read on to find out more about some of the work we did in 2023 and our commitments for 2024!

All members can elect to receive a $10 Buddy gift certificate and the new Lumpen Magazine Mutual Aid Issue.


Community Member: $5/month OR a $50+ one time donation

Receive a brand new Co-Prosperity hat designed by Co-Prosperity Programming Council Artist Jesse Malmed as well as a brand new Lumpen Radio bumper sticker. 


Collaborator: $10/month OR a $100+ one time donation

Pick a limited risograph print made by Co-Prosperity council artists. Plus the hat and sticker!


Co-Conspirator: $20/month OR a $200+ one time donation

Receive a copy of The Lumpen Times, a 500 page behemoth documenting 30 years of Lumpen Magazine, a front for the left in the arts. Plus the hat, the sticker, and a print!


Co-Host: $50/month OR a $500+ one time donation

All the above, plus the full set of all 7 limited-edition artist risograph prints!


PMI’s dedication to mutual aid in 2023


In 2023, we sunset our Community Kitchen covid relief food program to focus our efforts on aiding our asylum-seeking neighbors, collaborating with mutual aid groups to extend support where it’s most needed. We have distributed over 100 cell phones to folks and are gearing up for the biggest distribution yet, of over 400 new phones. 


At Buddy, we sold hundreds of artist-designed “Helping Handle” tote bags to raise funds for our cell phone distribution efforts.


At Lumpen Radio, we launched the Mutual Aid Report, a radio show hosted by Stephanie Manriquez and Mario Smith spotlighting grassroots mutual aid initiatives in Chicago.


At Lumpen Magazine, we released the Mutual Aid Issue of the magazine, which you can get in the mail if you donate at any level.


At Co-Prosperity, we hosted the Paper Jam, a month-long celebration of Printmaking, in collaboration with Chicago Printers Guild and Eric Von Haynes, director of The Love Fridge project.


What you’ll be supporting in 2024


Co-Prosperity, an artist-run center

We’re excited for exhibitions next year from Prison Neighborhood Art Project, Jen Delos Reyes, Songjae Lee and Gericault De La Rose, and many more. Here’s a preview of next year’s shows!


Lumpen Radio WLPN, a community radio station

Neighborhood Amplification Project – A brand new Lumpen Radio project commissioning audio portraits of southwest neighborhoods Bronzeville, Back of the Yards and La Villita, to be celebrated at big listening parties with live performances and meals in each neighborhood.


MdW, a coalition of artist-run projects in the midwest

In 2024, we’re expanding our coalition of artist organizations across the greater Midwest, launching a new set of commissioned MdW Atlas essays, a series of dinners and panel conversations at Co-Prosperity and around the midwest, culminating in the MdW Summit in Kansas City next November! Stay Tuned!


Buddy, a store for local artists at the Chicago Cultural Center

Buddy just won an RFP with the city to stay for two more years at the Chicago Cultural Center! Look forward to new collaborations with mutual aid and arts organizations in the city, and of course the 400+ local artists who have their work for sale at the store!


The Mutual Aid Report

The Mutual Aid Report with hosts Stephanie Manriquez and Mario Smith, premiered this past September 2023, and took off with special guests Tanya Ward and Anton Seals of Grow Greater Englewood. The episode highlighted the importance of agriculture, and how scarce locally sourced produce is on the southern and west sides of the city. Their initiative aims to collaborate with local residents in the Englewood community to create sustainable local food economies, green businesses, and land sovereignty to empower residents to create wellness and wealth. 

Throughout the episode, the topic of media coverage came up frequently:

“Englewood gets a lot of… there is such a rush with the traditional news media in this city, and in every major city where there are black and latino people… to talk about the worst aspects of the neighborhoods that these folks live in. Not realizing that the promotion of things  like GGE is a narrative changer. People come to Englewood and discover, “Oh wow! There is a whole nother thing happening here that does not involve stuff that I see on the news all the time…”

What can Chicagoans do to help amplify the promotion of all those things that are good about Englewood, South Shore, and Pilsen (…) where the news media tends to thrive on the bad parts of those neighborhoods?” 

Mario Smith



And that is exactly what the Mutual Aid Report aims to achieve.  


The Mutual Aid Report is a radio and live stream series that delves into the concept of mutual aid. Our hosts, Mario Smith and Stephanie Manriquez will unpack its historical significance and its role in local communities by spotlighting individuals who are making a real difference at the grassroots level in the city of Chicago.


In another episode, we got to interview some members of the Love Fridge– Eric ‘Manny’ Von Haynes, Ramon ‘Radius’ Norwood, James Wurm, & Lisa Armstrong. The Love Fridge was established during the pandemic (2020), and has since then aimed to feed anyone who needs it– no strings attached. 



Love Fridges are public food pantries located throughout the city of Chicago, and anyone who stops by is encouraged to take whatever they need, and give back whenever they’re able. The Love Fridges are completely community-run, and most donations come from community members themselves. 


The episode talked about the necessity of the pantries during the pandemic, and later touched on why food accessibility is needed now more than ever:


“That fear– that insecurity of not having food– when people have that in their mindset, they can’t escape it. And I think that this hunger, and this insecurity, is too ingrained, and I don’t believe that in 365 days we can solve that…” 

– James Wurm

Guest James Wurm speaks up on how the Love Fridge will hold up in a year. Will they still be necessary? 



Since then, bi-weekly shows have featured guests involved in a multitude of Mutual Aid organizations across the city. 


Listen to the Mutual Aid Report every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of the month at 2pm on 105.5FM Lumpen Radio Chicago, or on our website at

Past episodes can also be streamed at


Tomorrow is Listening • 24-hour transmission takeover

International Anthem is partnering with Lumpen Radio, a whole bunch of fellow record labels, and a growing list of independent record stores to deliver a collectivist action under the umbrella of ‘Tomorrow is Listening’. A very special global event… inspired by the artistic principles and thematic framework of 𝗗𝗮𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝗟𝗼𝗰𝗸𝘀 & 𝗥𝗼𝗯 𝗠𝗮𝘇𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗸 ‘s forthcoming album 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝙁𝙪𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝘾𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙍𝙖𝙙𝙞𝙤…

24-hour broadcast transmitting live and direct to independent record shops worldwide, from midnight to midnight Chicago time on Friday 7/28.

The program will feature curated mixes (including some new and some unreleased music) from an all-star cast of record labels, including:

Star Creature, Sonorama, Luaka Bop, Brownswood, Strut, Nonesuch, Figure & Ground, Dolfin, Sinking City, Spiritmuse, Olindo, Far Out, Northern Spy, NNA Tapes, bié, RINGS, Mushroom Hour, Numero Group, and more.

The broadcast will culminate with a grand finale performance by Damon Locks & Rob Mazurek, live from Co-Prosperity Sphere.

𝗧𝗢𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗥𝗢𝗪 𝗜𝗦 𝗟𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚 will be available on terrestrial FM radio in the Chicago area via Lumpen Radio (105.5 FM); but more importantly, we have a growing list of independent record shops across the globe who will be tuning in. That means: you can properly participate in this special day by 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗹𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗹, heading out IRL and listening to this broadcast in the community of friends and fellow music lovers at the cultural/communal sanctuary of your local record shop. The list of shops who will be tuned to the broadcast gets bigger by the minute.

Keep up with evolving details and participation locations via, and remember… 𝗧𝗢𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗥𝗢𝗪 𝗜𝗦 𝗟𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚

Lumpen Radio is a proud partner with CIMA! Support our fundraiser today.

The Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) is a partnership of independent, local, and community-driven media entities covering communities throughout the city. Through regular collaboration and the creation of new revenue streams, we uplift each other in order to amplify the voices of Chicagoans.


From June 5 to 19, 2023, we are hosting our fourth annual CIMA fundraiser. By donating at, you can directly support the work of 47 of our member outlets, including Lumpen Radio, who ensure the voices of thousands of Chicagoans are heard.




Donate today at


Founded in 2019, CIMA is a project of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism, publisher of the Chicago Reader.

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Lumpen Radio (WLPN) is a non-commercial radical radio station that showcases innovative ideas, plays highly curated music, and broadcasts commentary on the issues of our day.


We are community radio of the future!


WLPN spotlights the hidden parts of the city we love, amplifying its voices and sounds. We are a station for the people that live and work in the city, people everywhere that love Chicago’s underground cultures, and people who love the idea of freeform radio wherever they are.


WLPN is a project of Public Media Institute (PMI). PMI is a non-profit 501(c) 3, community based, art & culture organization located in the city of Chicago since 2001. PMI’s mission is to create, incubate and sustain innovative cultural programming through the production of socially engaged projects, festivals, spaces, exhibitions, and media.


Join our mailing list and to keep in touch with programs related to the station.


Re-Imagining FM Radio

Over the past three years Lumpen Radio has presented a multiversity of voices and sounds over the airwaves of Chicagoland. It is one of the few radio outlets left that is not run by a robot making playlists derived by a demographic research algorithm.

It’s made by real people with deep connections to the music they play. And the talks shows and live programs present a wide range of voices and opinions that sustain and fuel a diverse cultural exchange of ideas.

Lumpen DJs and producers are professional and amateur DJs, activists, artists, and creative folks that make WLPN one of the best live radio stations on Earth.

You can become part of the wide range of individual and commercial supporters that pays the bills to keep this station on the air..

You can support our programming through Underwriting.

Contact us at for a media kit that explains who we reach and how much it costs to stay in touch with an informed and engaged listener base that gives a shit.