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Johnny Shaw

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Information about Johnny Shaw

Profile image of Johnny Shaw

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Station Owner
State Representative

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pasta
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
State of Tennessee
Favorite Quote:
God Cannot Get You Through It 'Til He Gets You To It.

Birthplace

Born:
1/5/1942
Birth Location:
Laconia, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Station Owner
State Representative

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pasta
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
State of Tennessee
Favorite Quote:
God Cannot Get You Through It 'Til He Gets You To It.

Birthplace

Born:
1/5/1942
Birth Location:
Laconia
See how Johnny Shaw is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Radio station owner and state representative Johnny W. Shaw was born on January 5, 1942 in Laconia, Tennessee. He attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received a degree in theology.

In the 1960s, Shaw was the spokesman of a local gospel group’s Sunday morning radio program on WBOL-AM in Bolivar, Tennessee, where he was also the first African American staff announcer. He was later promoted to program director and assistant manager, and then as general manager of WBOL. In addition to his work at WBOL, Shaw served as a minister at Saint John Missionary Baptist Church in Stanton, Tennessee. He also sang with the musical group, the Shaw Singers, and worked as a psychologist.

In 1987, Shaw and his wife, Opal, founded the Shaw Broadcasting Company, LLC, where he served as chief executive officer. That same year, Shaw Broadcasting Company purchased WBOL. In the early 1990’s, Shaw acquired the license permit to construct a 6000 watt FM station in Bolivar, which was then built and began broadcasting in 1992 as WOJG-FM.

In 1997, Shaw was appointed as a co-commissioner of Hardeman County in Tennessee, where he served for one-and-a-half terms. In 2000, he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing District 80, where he became the first African American to serve in the state legislature in rural west Tennessee since reconstruction. Shaw won re-election in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. While in public office, he served as house member of the 102nd through 108th General Assemblies; member of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee; member of the House State Government Committee and Subcommittee; member of the Joint Pensions and Insurance Committee; and chair of the Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus.

Shaw is a lifetime member of the NAACP, and has served as a board member of the National Civil Rights Museum. He also served as board chair of the Western Mental Health Institute, and was a member of the West Tennessee River Basin Authority Board. In 2012, Shaw received the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters (TAB) Distinguished Service Award.

Shaw and his wife have six children. They reside in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Johnny Shaw was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 23, 2014.

See how Johnny Shaw is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Johnny Shaw's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about his mother's education and aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw describes how his parents met and married
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw talks about the sharecropper system
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw talks about Tent City in Fayette County, Tennessee
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw talks lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw describes his childhood home
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw recalls the entertainment of his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw remembers the influence of WLAC Radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw recalls his early aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw recalls his high school education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw remembers his father's voting rights activism
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw describes his senior year at the Allen-White School in Whiteville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw recalls his aspirations after high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw describes his position at Whiteville Auto Parts and Hardware in Whiteville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw remembers Memphis State University in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about his employment during the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw recalls being hired as a deejay at WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw describes the format of his radio show
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw talks about The Shaw Singers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw remembers The Shaw Singers' hit singles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw describes his call to the ministry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw remembers founding Shaw's Broadcasting, LCC
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw describes the gospel format of WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Johnny Shaw talks about the challenges of radio station ownership
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw talks about radio station ratings and wattages
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw recalls the programming at WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw remembers purchasing WOJG Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about WOJG Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw talks about the gospel programming on WOJG Radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about his competitor, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw recalls his appointment as commissioner of Hardeman County, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw recalls his election to the Tennessee House of Representatives
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw recalls the opposition to his campaign for the Tennessee House of Representatives
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw describes his challenges as a state representative
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw recalls renovating the Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw recalls Stacey Campfield's campaign to join the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw remembers Barack Obama's presidential campaign announcement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw remembers Opal's Family Restaurant in Bolivar, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw recalls his retirement from Shaw's Broadcasting, LLC
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw talks about his role in the Tennessee House of Representatives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about per diem limits for legislators
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw talks about partisanship in the Tennessee House of Representatives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw talks about the future of the Tennessee House of Representatives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw shares his plans for the future
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Johnny Shaw describes his political advice to his congregation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Johnny Shaw talks about reconciling his religious and political beliefs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw talks about the separation of church and state
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw talks about the role of religion in government
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw narrates his photographs