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Art Gilliam, Jr.

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Information about Art Gilliam, Jr.

Profile image of Art Gilliam, Jr.

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Station Owner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ribs
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beach
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/6/1943
Birth Location:
Nashville, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Station Owner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ribs
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beach
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/6/1943
Birth Location:
Nashville
See how Art Gilliam, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Radio station owner Art Gilliam was born on March 6, 1943 in Nashville, Tennessee to Leola Hortense Caruthers and Herman Arthur Gilliam, Sr. Gilliam attended the Westminster School in Connecticut, and, at the age of sixteen, enrolled in Yale University. He graduated with his B.A. degree in economics from Yale University in 1963 and then joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Gilliam went on to receive his M.B.A degree from the University of Michigan in 1967.

Upon graduation, Gilliam returned to Memphis, Tennessee to work with his father at Universal Life Insurance Company, where he remained until 1975. In 1968, he began writing a weekly editorial for The Commercial Appeal and was hired by WMC-TV in Memphis as the weekend news anchor. Gilliam was the first African American to write for The Commercial Appeal and the first African American on-air reporter and anchor on Memphis television at WMC-TV. Then, from 1975 to 1976, he worked as an administrative assistant to U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Sr.

In 1977, he launched Gilliam Communications, Inc. and bought the WLOK radio station. In doing so, WLOK became the first African American-owned Memphis radio station and the city's first locally owned station. As president and CEO of Gilliam Communications, Inc., Gilliam has also operated radio stations in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia. He also sponsors the annual WLOK Stone Soul Picnic, which draws thousands of attendees.

Gilliam’s WLOK has earned the title of #1 Gospel Station in the nation by Religion & Media Quarterly for several consecutive years; and, in 1997, was recognized by the Tennessee Historical Commission as a Tennessee Historical Landmark. Gilliam has also received the Black History Men of Honor Leadership Award, the Gospel Bridge Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rainbow/PUSH Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, the Memphis Advertising Federation's Silver Medal Award, and the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Visionary Award. He was also honored with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Outstanding Community Service Award, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Citizen of the Year Award, Phi Beta Sigma African American Male Image Award, and the Delta Sigma Theta’s Outstanding Community Service and Florence Cole Talbert McCleave Awards. In addition, Gilliam was recognized as one of the “Top 25 African Americans in Radio” by Radio Ink Magazine’s, and one of “Ten Outstanding Young Men in America” by the United States Jaycees.

Gilliam has sat on the boards of the Memphis Advertising Federation, the Society of Entrepreneurs, Memphis Zoo, Inc., the National Federation of State Humanities Council, and Lemoyne-Owen College. He served as chairman of the Black Business Association of Memphis and the Tennessee Humanities Council, and was an advisory board member of the University of Memphis College of Communications and the Memphis Sheriff’s Department. Gilliam is also a member of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, Leadership Memphis, NAACP, and Leadership Music – Nashville.

Art Gilliam was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2014.

See how Art Gilliam, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Art Gilliam, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Art Gilliam, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his mother's education and profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his father's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers watching Jackie Robinson play baseball
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes the African American community in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers his family vacations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Art Gilliam, Jr. recalls his teachers at Hamilton High School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers his early experiences of religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his parents' decision to send him to the Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his experiences at Hamilton High School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Art Gilliam, Jr. recalls his initial impressions of the Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the development of black radio in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his experiences at the Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers being removed from a segregated bus in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his aspiration to become an actuary
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the impact of his education at Yale University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes the African American community at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his extracurricular activities at Yale University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers the African American community in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Art Gilliam, Jr. recalls his graduation from Yale University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Art Gilliam, Jr. recalls hearing Malcolm X speak at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his early career at the Universal Life Insurance Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes how he came to write for The Commercial Appeal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the discriminatory practices of The Commercial Appeal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his column in The Commercial Appeal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes how he became an anchor at WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his position as a weekend anchor at WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers working for Congressman Harold Ford, Sr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Art Gilliam, Jr. recalls acquiring the WLOK Radio station in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the history and format of WLOK Radio in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers changing the format of WLOK Radio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about WLOK Radio in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes WLOK Radio's relationship with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the Stone Soul Picnic in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about WLOK Radio's gospel format
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his projects at Gilliam Communications, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about WLOK Radio's on air personalities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Art Gilliam, Jr. remembers the election of Mayor W.W. Herenton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Art Gilliam, Jr. reflects upon his career at WLOK Radio in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the consolidation of the radio industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Art Gilliam, Jr. reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his civic engagement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Art Gilliam, Jr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about the state of the radio industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Art Gilliam, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Art Gilliam, Jr. talks about his parents' reaction to his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Art Gilliam, Jr. narrates his photographs