The G-Town Radio Community Is Mourning The Loss Of Its Founder

todayMarch 23, 2022


The G-Town Radio community is mourning the loss of its founder.

Jim Bear, the founder and long-time leader of G-Town Radio, passed away on Friday following a valiant fight against lung cancer. He was 48.

A tireless worker, dedicated community member, and loving husband, father and friend, Bear left a legacy in the community that will not soon be forgotten. During his 14 years with the station, Jim built G-Town Radio from a small start-up to an award-winning station that has garnered national praise and attention as a model for community radio.

“Not having Jim around anymore hasn’t really sunk in, but it will and it is going to be hard. He set the standard on how to lead a community project. I feel lucky to have had the chance to work closely with him and have him as a treasured friend, “said Tom Casetta, the station’s manager. His vision, patience and support were unmatched. His guidance and leadership was loved and appreciated. Thank you so much Jim Bear. You will be so missed.

“We are forever grateful that he gave Germantown a voice and told us our voices mattered,” said Joanna Wikander, the station’s program director. Jim led G-Town Radio with grace, humility and a sharp sense of humor. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family. Jim’s kindness, generosity, humor, excellent taste in music and friendship will be missed.

“Like all the most precious people we get to share space with, Jim utterly defied description. He was a man who quietly (and with no small amount of humor) changed people’s lives for the better on a freakishly daily basis,” said Reade McCardell longtime G-Town Radio programmer.

Jim founded G-Town Radio in 2006. He said he built the platform, to keep local residents connected following the demise of the Germantown Courier. Despite its local emphasis, Bear said the station, which initially was broadcast online, picked up a following from around the world, particularly for its diverse and eclectic musical offerings.

“It’s not uncommon for us to have regular listeners not only from the neighborhood but also from Germany, Switzerland, the UK, even Taiwan,” Bear said in an interview with Philadelphia Magazine.

That, however, was not good enough for Jim. He wanted the station to have a better connection with local residents in Germantown. Thus, he fought for years to have the station acquire a license with the FCC, so people without internet access could listen to the programming.

“But the reality is, the technology has not caught up with radio. And in a community like Germantown, where many people have no Internet access in the home, radio is the best way to serve the community,” Bear told Philadelphia Magazine.

In 2015, Bear’s goal was achieved. A license was awarded to G-Town Radio, The Germantown Life Enrichment Center and Germantown United. Three years later, Germantown Community Radio was launched, with an FM frequency of 92.9.

In his final years as station manager and board president, Bear worked hard to stabilize the organization’s financial future, and engage community members. On the last day of his term as president, G-Town Radio received a $25,000 grant from Independence Media Foundation. Since then, G-Town Radio has received more than $150,000 in additional grant funding.

“Bear left G-Town radio on stable ground. His efforts to engage different stakeholders set the organization up well for long-term success,” said Letrell Crittenden, a board member who succeeded Bear as the organization’s president from 2019 to 2021. “As the station continues to thrive, so too will the wonderful gift he gave to the Germantown community and the rest of Northwest Philadelphia.”

Bear leaves behind a wife, Maura, and two children, Leo and Julia.


Written by: Tom Casetta

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