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Lucky Cordell

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Information about Lucky Cordell

Profile image of Lucky Cordell

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Personality

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chili, Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1928
Birth Location:
Grenada, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Personality

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chili, Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1928
Birth Location:
Grenada
See how Lucky Cordell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Disc jockey Moses “Lucky” Cordell, affectionately known as “The Baron of Bounce,” was born in Grenada, Mississippi, on July 28, 1928, to Grace and Moses Cordell. At age three, his mother died unexpectedly and his family moved to Chicago. Cordell attended Chicago Public Schools and graduated from Dunbar Technical High School in 1946. Shortly after graduation, Cordell joined the U.S. Army, serving in the Special Services Branch. While in the military, Cordell developed his theatrical ability. He received an honorable discharge in 1948. He was hired at WGES as a disk jockey in 1952 to work under Al Benson.

While working at WGRY in Gary, Indiana, Cordell hosted the popular show House of Hits. The show was well known for its audience participation and became a community favorite among African Americans in Gary. In 1956, local newspapers held an election for the “Honorary Mayor of the Negro Community” and Cordell won unanimously (beating four other radio personalities, religious leaders and political leaders). He held this honor for four years, until he decided not to run in 1960.

Cordell worked at several other radio stations in the Chicago area before taking a position as a disc jockey at WVON in Chicago. WVON, owned and operated by Chess Records, would become one of the most influential radio stations in United States history. Cordell became WVON’s program and music director in 1965, and in 1968 he was promoted to assistant general manager. After a change in station ownership in late 1970, Cordell became general manager. Under his leadership, the station increased its ratings and almost doubled the income received from advertising.

In the late 1960s, Cordell joined the Chicago Urban League. After retiring from the radio business, Cordell remained an active member of Chicago’s African American community.

Cordell passed away on September 6, 2015.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lucky Cordell interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell remembers his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell discusses his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell recounts an accident in his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell discusses his upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lucky Cordell remembers his childhood friends
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lucky Cordell shares memories from his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lucky Cordell recalls a dangerous encounter from his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lucky Cordell explains his nickname
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lucky Cordell remembers inspirational figures from his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lucky Cordell explains choosing a vocational education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell details his service in the U.S. military
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell describes his pursuit of a career in radio broadcasting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell details his business relationship with radio personality Al Benson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell explains his interest in radio broadcasting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell remembers radio personality Al Benson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell discusses radio personality Al Benson's career ascent
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell describes the radio industry in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell details the end of radio personality Al Benson's career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell discusses his radio career at WGRY in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell recalls his participation in the Skyloft Players theater troupe during the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell describes his popularity in Gary, Indiana in the 1950s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell talks about establishing his reputation as the 'Baron of Bounce' at WGRY in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell explains his transition from WGRY in Gary, Indiana to WGES in Chicago, Illinois in 1961
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell talks about the music and the disc jockeys on WGES in Chicago circa 1961
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell discusses leaving Chicago's WGES for Chicago's WVON in 1964
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell dicusses his relationship with Leonard Chess, owner of WVON and Chess Records
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell addresses the subject of working for a radio station owned by a record company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lucky Cordell shares an anecdote about a disc jockey named The Magnificent Montague
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lucky Cordell discusses his alliance with the disc jockeys during changes in WVON's ownership
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lucky Cordell talks about running afoul of advertisers at WVON
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lucky Cordell describes the office environment during his stint as general manager at WVON
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lucky Cordell explains why he was chosen to be general manager of WVON
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Lucky Cordell dicusses the Black History Week programming that he produced at WVON
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell describes WVON station politics surrounding the management shift and disc jockey Joe Cobb
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell talks about WVON disc jockey Herb Kent's personality
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell relates an anecdote about WVON disc jockeys Herb Kent and E. Rodney Jones
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell talks about some of the WVON disc jockeys during the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell talks about the nicknames used by the disc jockeys at WVON
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell discusses 'The Black History Series' he produced
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lucky Cordell discusses a CHA radio project he worked on with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington after leaving WVON
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lucky Cordell talks about his affiliation with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Operation PUSH
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lucky Cordell discusses changes in black radio from his career through the present