WKNC DJ profiled in News & Observer

Letters from Prisoners

Paul Williams, host of "Friday Night Request Rock" and "Penitentary Rock" on WKNC 88.1 FM, typically receives at least 20 letters from prison inmates each week. Photo by Michael Jones

Paul Williams, "Uncle Paul" to his fans, was profiled in the Nov. 11 Raleigh News & Observer. Written by David Menconi, the article focuses on the "Penitentiary Rock" portion of Williams' "Friday Night Request Rock" radio program, Friday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. Williams, who served as the station's general manager in 1993-1994, explained the program dates back to his original tenure at the station.

"Inmates from the local penal institutions were listening too, on portable radios bought at prison canteens, and a few would write in to request songs. [Fridays from 7 p.m. to midnight] is a lot of time to kill, so the deejays started reading letters on the air. More prisoners took to writing, enough for inmate requests to become a regular segment. They held a contest to name the show. The prison to amass the most signatures got to choose."

When Williams returned to N.C. State to complete his undergraduate degree, he also returned to 88.1 FM. He hosted an early Saturday morning program titled "Schoolhouse Rock" starting in the summer of 2006 and by the end of the year was the regular host of "Friday Night Request Rock." He will graduate in December with a bachelors degree in interdisciplinary studies. This story is one of several written Williams since 2006. Others include:

  • "Uncle Paul's Prison Radio Hour" - "The State of Things" on WUNC-FM, September 2010
  • "My Favorite DJ - Uncle Paul on WKNC" - Goodnight, Raleigh!, December 2009
  • "On the air" - NC State alumni magazine, Winter 2007