DJ Spaceship, WMNF's first Black morning show host, takes listeners on a fantastic voyage every Monday

He's on the air at 88.5-FM from 6 a.m.-9 a.m.

click to enlarge DJ Spaceship, who spins Mondays from 6 a.m.-9 a.m. on WMNF Tampa 88.5-FM. - Photo by Melvin Clarke. Design by Joe Frontel
Photo by Melvin Clarke. Design by Joe Frontel
DJ Spaceship, who spins Mondays from 6 a.m.-9 a.m. on WMNF Tampa 88.5-FM.
Every Monday morning, a DJ called Spaceship drives Tampa Bay through morning traffic. He tells stories with his turntable, mixing a style that incorporates R&B, hip-hop, disco, salsa, merengue and always, Jimi Hendrix.

In August 2022, WMNF made DJ Spaceship the first Black morning show host in the station’s 43-year history.

“Initially, it ruffled some feathers,” Spaceship said about his diverse playlist which includes a lot of flavor from across the taste spectrum. “But the team entrusted me and you know, it’s the rule of 10, the show will be for some and not for some.”

But Spaceship—who’s on the air at 88.5-FM from 6 a.m.-9 a.m.—has proved that the show is definitely for more than some. His listeners have become so tuned into the show and style, that when they don’t get their Jimi Hendrix fix, they notify the station to say they've been cheated. Spaceship calls this group of listeners the “Hendrix Mafia” and adds that the same happens when he neglects to play a salsa tune as part of “Adobo in the Morning.”

DJ Spaceship on WMNF
Mondays, 6 a.m.-9 a.m.
88.5-FM or
The art of DJing, Spaceship says, is the ability to connect and blend genres of music in order to bring people together. Spaceship first discovered this art when he was a kid growing up in West Tampa, listening to Ron "JoMama Johnson" Shepard on the radio. “JoMama Johnson took you on a ride,” Spaceship said. “And he controlled the emotions of the people. If you were having a bad day, you listen to JoMama Johnson then all of a sudden you’re having a good day.”

Spaceship learned a lot from listening to JoMama Johnson, and admired his quick way with words. He loved how Johnson used language, with smooth phrases like “girly girl” and “doggy dog”. Spaceship also watched DJs on MTV and Rap City and tried to imitate their styles. He began “earning his keep” carrying crates for a DJ called Nokk1 from New Jersey and watched from the sidelines as Nokk1 dominated the crowd, feeling energy surge through his body. One day he knew he would get the chance.

DJ Spaceship aka Greg Bowers, 39, is the second oldest of five children. He grew up in a home ringing with Betty Wright, Marvin Gaye, Gerald Levert, Mary J. Blige, George Benson, The Bee Gees and a whole lot of gospel. He graduated from Tampa’s Thomas Jefferson High School, and eventually tapped his friend Tone Kapone to start a podcast called “Powerline Radio.”

Spaceship and Tone met while Spaceship was getting his start as a DJ, playing parties for friends. Their mutual love of music and desire to influence the Tampa music scene was what united them and brought flavor to each and every episode of “Powerline Radio.” The show was all about the homegrown music, and Spaceship and Tone invited local musicians to talk about their music and the Tampa scene. When the podcast grew, they moved their recording sessions from Tone’s house to Flohio studios, a move that eventually led them both to host WMNF’s “Saturday Night Shutdown,” and then “Waves of the Bay,” which Kapone now hosts by himself.

Spaceship loved the “Shutdown.” He got the chance to include local Tampa musicians to his more mainstream mixes, and loved the back and forth and call and response with listeners. The only downside was that Spaceship was missing chances to DJ at clubs in that prime Saturday night slot.

When an operations assistant position opened up at WMNF, Spaceship applied, thinking that he could train on the equipment, and learn to produce and record. Two months after accepting the back office position, the station knighted Spaceship as its first Black morning show host.

Spaceship thinks of his morning mixes like a locomotive train, with each car carrying its weight and pushing the story forward. He strives to stay true to the narrative the entire way through, a narrative that is largely dependent on what he is feeling in the moment.

“I’m a feels type person,” he said. “I listen to the lyrics and the message and both of these have to bleed into the next song.” He adds that there’s a real science to this because you don’t want to cut the song off in the middle and risk the chance of your listener missing the message. Spaceship tends to cut the songs at the chorus and admits he puts a real emphasis on the first track and that caboose that closes the show. “That’s when they really get the message and think ‘Ah, I see what he did.”

When he’s not on the morning show, DJ Spaceship spins all over the country. He’s been to New Orleans and Miami and is hoping to make it up to New York City. Locally though, on the weekends, he holds down residencies at Hefe and Status on West Tampa’s Armenia Avenue corridor and at South Tampa’s Casa de Montecristo every Friday. He uses his downtime to research new musicians on YouTube and Google, and listens to local artists at the Hooch and Hive, Crowbar and Pegasus.

“Music has always been my thing,” Spaceship said. “And I’m just excited to have this opportunity.”

If DJ Spaceship could tell his own story with a turntable, he would start with James Brown’s, “Say It Loud.” First, there’s the high energy, then there’s the beat, then there’s the lyrics. “Those lyrics tell you who I am,” Spaceship said. “I’m Black and I’m proud.”