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John Heidelberg

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Information about John Heidelberg

Profile image of John Heidelberg

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast Executive
Radio DJ

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/19/1944
Birth Location:
Shubta, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast Executive
Radio DJ

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/19/1944
Birth Location:
Shubta
See how John Heidelberg is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Broadcasting entrepreneur, John Henry Heidelberg was born on February 19, 1944, in Shubuta, Mississippi, to Lillian Bounds and K.P. Heidelberg. He attended his family’s Spring Hill Church School, Shibuta School, McGill Junior High School, and Riverview High School in Waynesboro, Mississippi. Joining the United States Air Force in 1962, Heidelberg was stationed in Saigon, Vietnam.

Returning home in 1965, Heidelberg enrolled in Jackson County Junior College while working at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Heidelberg attended the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters on the G.I. Bill and later entered Tennessee State University; he was hired by Nashville’s WVOL-AM as a part-time disc jockey in 1969. Six months later, Heidelberg earned a full-time job; working daily, he played urban music. In 1970, as acting program director, he gave some air time to East High School student, Oprah Winfrey, whom he eventually hired to read news broadcasts for the station.

In 1983, Heidelberg joined Nashville’s 50,000 watt WSM-AM, a station famous as the voice of country music; there, he became one of the first African American country disc jockeys. In April of 2000, Heidelberg purchased WVOL-AM stereo from Dickie Brothers Broadcasting. Under Heidelberg Broadcasting, the format of “The Mighty 147” became urban contemporary gospel and talk shows during the day and jazz at night. In 2002, Heidelberg opened John Henry’s Restaurant and Showcase on historic Jefferson Street in North Nashville; the restaurant, no longer in business, featured fine dining with a taste of soul and southern jazz with a full size bar and a dance floor.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Heidelberg's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Heidelberg lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Heidelberg describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Heidelberg remembers meeting his paternal great-great-grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Heidelberg describes his mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Heidelberg describes his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Heidelberg describes his paternal great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Heidelberg describes his likeness to his parents and great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Heidelberg talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Heidelberg describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - John Heidelberg describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - John Heidelberg describes his work on his great-grandparents' farm
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - John Heidelberg remembers his early interest in radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Heidelberg remembers listening to John Richbourg on WLAC Radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Heidelberg describes his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Heidelberg recalls his paternal great-grandmother's commitment to education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Heidelberg remembers the racial violence in Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Heidelberg remembers a white neighbor's interference with his mail
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Heidelberg describes the culture of the segregated South
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Heidelberg remembers McGill Junior High School and Riverview High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Heidelberg describes his interest in history
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John Heidelberg explains his reasons for joining the U.S. military, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John Heidelberg describes his early political views
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - John Heidelberg remembers the pastimes of his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Heidelberg explains his reasons for joining the U.S. military, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Heidelberg recalls his service in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Heidelberg remembers his decision to become a disc jockey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Heidelburg recalls attending a radio school in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Heidelberg remembers his early interest in elocution
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Heidelberg recalls confusion over his dialect
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Heidelberg remembers becoming a disc jockey at WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Heidelberg describes his show on WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John Heidelberg recalls his colleagues at WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - John Heidelberg describes his style as a radio disc jockey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - John Heidelberg describes his roles at WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Heidelberg remembers hiring Oprah Winfrey at WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Heidelberg talks about the female employees of WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Heidelberg recalls Oprah Winfrey's hiring as a newscaster on WLAC-TV
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Heidelberg recalls the changes in the southern culture
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Heidelberg talks about his contributions to black radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Heidelberg remembers being hired by WSM Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Heidelberg describes his career at WSM Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John Heidelberg talks about the African American origins of country music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John Heidelberg describes his experiences at WSM Radio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Heidelberg describes the misperceptions about radio personalities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Heidelberg talks about his ineptitude at dancing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John Heidelberg remembers his experiences in sports broadcasting
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John Heidelberg remembers purchasing the WVOL Radio station
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John Heidelberg describes his vision for WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John Heidelberg talks about the Arbitron rating system for radio stations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John Heidelberg describes his advertising partners
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John Heidelberg talks about the changes in the broadcasting industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - John Heidelberg describes his accomplishments at WVOL Radio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - John Heidelberg talks about the importance of independent radio stations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - John Heidelberg remembers opening a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - John Heidelberg describes his plans for his restaurant
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - John Heidelberg recalls the celebrity patrons of his restaurant
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John Heidelberg describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John Heidelberg reflects upon his career in the radio industry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John Heidelberg reflects upon his restaurant business
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John Heidelberg reflects upon his career in the radio industry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John Heidelberg reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John Heidelberg reflects upon his impact on the radio industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John Heidelberg talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John Heidelberg talks about the challenges facing small radio station owners
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John Heidelberg talks about the trends in political talk radio
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - John Heidelberg describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - John Heidelberg narrates his photographs