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Harry Boomer

Television broadcast journalist and radio personality Harry Boomer was born on September 4, 1953 in Turkey, North Carolina. He is the youngest of ten children born to George and Lucy Boomer. Upon graduating from high school, Boomer, the son of a Baptist minister, moved to Washington D.C. to pursue his interest in broadcast journalism. He studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting, Northern Virginia Community College, and Cleveland State University.

In 1971, at the age of seventeen, Boomer was hired as an emcee at the Mark IV Supper Club in Washington D.C. He then worked on a number of different major radio stations in D.C. until 1988, when a family friend asked Boomer to come to Canton, Ohio to work as a program director at the WBXT AM/900 radio station. While still working at WBXT, Boomer began volunteering at the WUAB television station in Cleveland, Ohio. The station soon hired him as a reporter and over his more than twenty years of dedication Boomer was promoted to morning and noon co-anchor/reporter of 19 Action News at the WOIO television station (an affiliate of CBS). In addition to his work at both WUAB and WOIO, Boomer hosted and helped produce the program “InfOhio After Nine,” at the time Ohio’s first and only statewide public radio newscast; he served as an award-winning reporter/producer and assistant news director for WCPN, Cleveland Public Radio; and has been a regular guest on the Emmy-winning WVIZ Cleveland Public Television show Feagler and Friends.

In recognition of his achievements, Boomer was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Cleveland Communicators' award for best single hard news story, the Cleveland Communicators’ award for public affairs service program, the Ohio Educational Telecommunications’ award for public affairs and special news, the Excellence in Journalism award from the Press Club of Cleveland, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fellowship award from the Multicultural Producers Forum.

Boomer has also been involved in many professional and civic organizations. He served as the president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and has been a member of the board of directors for the Ohio Associated Press, the First Tee Cleveland, the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, and the North East Ohio Health Services.

Boomer lives in Cleveland, Ohio and often serves as keynote speaker and the master of ceremonies at community and college events. He has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Harry Boomer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 10, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/10/2014

Last Name

Boomer

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Schools

Hargrove Elementary School

Union High School

Columbia School of Broadcasting

Northern Virginia Community College

Cleveland State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Harry

Birth City, State, Country

Turkey

HM ID

BOO04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago Jazz Fest

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Be Thought A Fool Than Open Your Mouth and Remove All Doubt

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/4/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Broadcast journalist and radio personality Harry Boomer (1953 - ) was an anchor at CBS affiliate WOIO television station in Cleveland, Ohio. He has served as president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

Raycom Media

Mark IV Supper Club

WBXT AM/900

WOIO Television Station, 19 Action News

WCPN, Cleveland Public Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:928,17:1480,27:2308,45:3688,93:7672,143:8074,150:8409,156:18459,415:19330,434:19732,441:24290,461:27516,468:28788,488:36398,591:36694,596:38840,635:41060,680:47128,811:47646,820:56074,863:59182,910:59854,917:63130,1088:72469,1191:79820,1264:85217,1369:85602,1375:92917,1509:96620,1569$0,0:2980,30:3540,41:14740,211:26990,341:27582,351:41830,580:51983,780:52338,789:57468,845:58391,860:66627,1030:68899,1108:77419,1194:77751,1199:82980,1301:83810,1313:84225,1318:119230,1796:134460,1958:134860,1964:135740,1975:136060,1980:139344,1987:141528,2021:142116,2029:147324,2132:174460,2479:176413,2512:181290,2586:188967,2704:189551,2717:189843,2722:192690,2776:195008,2789:200252,2925:200632,2931:203444,2996:210614,3070:211511,3094:212063,3105:212477,3113:213443,3131:215168,3173:215582,3181:228164,3319:239200,3475:250052,3691:264870,3901
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry Boomer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer describes how his mother protected the family when his father was away from the home

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer describes his father's commute and life on the family farm

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer talks about his neighbors in Turkey, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Harry Boomer talks about the role of church in his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Harry Boomer talks about his grade school years at Hargrove High School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about why his father did not serve in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer remembers his grade school years at Hargrove High School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer describes his participation in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer describes his memories of the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer describes memorable teachers from Hargrove High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about integration at Union High School and race relations in North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his fascination with radio and television as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer recalls the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer describes his experience at Union High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer talks about HistoryMaker Benjamin Chavis and the Wilmington Ten

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Harry Boomer recalls the formation of The Black People's Voices in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about race relations at Union High School in Clinton, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer envisions his life without higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer recalls his attempt to enlist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer talks about his decision to attend Columbia School of Broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer describes working as an emcee at the Mark IV Supper Club in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about radio personalities and musicians in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of his career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his early years in radio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer talks about popular music in the 1970s and his family's reaction to his radio career

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer talks about his favorite musicians and his parents' distaste for secular music

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer describes his transition from music to news radio

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Harry Boomer talks about mixing beats as a disc jockey

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about his ancestor, George Boomer, who served as a quartermaster in the Civil War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer talks about Chuck Brown and Experience Unlimited (E.U.)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about racial discrimination in the broadcasting industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer talks about the Harry Boomer Show

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about juggling multiple jobs

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about his family life

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his transition to WBXT 900 AM in Canton, Ohio and the station's demise

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer describes joining Cleveland Public Radio after the downfall of WBXT 900 AM

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer reflects upon finding his voice while juggling work responsibilities at 19 Action News, WCPN, and WUAB Channel 43

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about his ascent from volunteer to weekly host at WUAB Channel 43

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer talks about the value of volunteering and internships

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about "A Separate City: Race Relations in Cleveland"

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer describes his television broadcast career at WOIO and WCPN

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about notable African Americans at WOIO including Romona Robinson, HistoryMaker Leon Bibb, Wayne Dawson, and Russ Mitchell

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about the National Association of Black Journalists and organizational burnout

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his award-winning shows on Cleveland Public Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer recounts covering the Ariel Castro kidnapping story in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer describes his commitment to civic action in his community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer describes his hopes and concerns for the Cleveland community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer describes his career goals

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about his level of social media engagement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer reflects upon his life trajectory

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about his daughter and his grandchildren

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer describes how his parents would have viewed his accomplishments

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer remembers his coverage of Barack Obama's presidential campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$9

DATitle
Harry Boomer describes his participation in the Civil Rights Movement
Harry Boomer reflects upon finding his voice while juggling work responsibilities at 19 Action News, WCPN, and WUAB Channel 43
Transcript
So, you were ten years old when the March on Washington took place, right?$$My father was at that March on Washington.$$Okay.$$And I was there twenty years later, in '83 [1983].$$Okay.$$For... when Stevie Wonder and everybody was pushing to make [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] Dr. King's birthday a national holiday.$$That's right.$$And I went down for the anniversary of Dr. King-- I think it was the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. And then I went, of course, to other events. I went, you know, to sort of stay in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, when I was in high school, my friend Dwight and I marched with Ben Chavis [HM] and the Wilmington Ten, from... they came from Wilmington [North Carolina], and marched into Raleigh [North Carolina], a 120 mile trek. We joined them in Clinton, which is a big town in our area, and about nine miles east of Turkey. And we joined them there, much to my sister Charity's [Boomer Morrisey] chagrin. She called my father on the phone in [Washington] D.C. and told him. And he's, "Well, when he gets back, have him call me." So, I did. He said, "Well, didn't I tell you... didn't your sister tell you not to go?" I said, "Yes sir." He said, "Why did you go?" I said, "I had to go." He said, "Okay." That was it. He understood I had to go. I could have gotten killed, like so many others could have gotten killed, but we didn't. That was an experience in itself.$$Okay. Now, we're getting ahead of ourselves, but we'll get to that again--$$Okay.$$--and follow-up a little bit more but--$Okay, okay. So, now, so, you also began working as a morning and noon co-anchor reporter for 19 Action News in 1990, right? Is that true?$$Yeah, I was--I don't think it was right in 1990.$$Okay.$$But over the years, I've been there for, this is my 24th year. I am the longest continuous on-air personality at both channels, 19 and 43, of those two stations. Now, there have been people who have been with one station a little longer, one with the other. But not continuous, with both. So, nobody's been there longer than I have, let's put it that way--on air.$$So, this is, this is simultaneous with--$$WCPN.$$Yeah.$$Yeah.$$So, you're working--$$I was working full-time radio--$$--radio.$$--part-time television, full time television, and part-time radio. And so, probably three or four or five years ago, when I just decided I needed to concentrate on television... I was now making enough money to survive, not getting rich, but enough to survive. So, and I wanted to find a way to use some other skills, and I started working myself to death. So--$$Now we, well, there's an article about you in your living room--about how hard you've worked, and how you always have worked--these four jobs going at once. It reminds me of Hal Jackson [HM] in New York, who had TV shows, I think, in New Jersey, New York City, and in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] at the same time--or radio shows. But, so, what was your day like in these days? What were you--well when you go to PBS, and when would you--?$$I'd go to the--depending upon when I was working at which one full-time. If I was doing WCPN, it was basically a 9 to 5. And then I would go to WUAB Channel 43 on weekends or evenings, after I got off work from the radio station. And then when I started working full-time television, I'd work on a freelance basis with WCPN doing reports and that. When I left, if my recollection is correct, I had won more awards than anybody in the history of the radio station to that date. That was at WCPN. I remember the general manager, Kit Jensen, saying to me one day, "Harry, I want to hear your voice. I want to hear what you have to say, in the confines of good public radio. But I want to hear your voice." That was such a liberating thing for me to hear, it opened up a whole new world for me. And that's when I did one of the programs that won me an award, "Black Power Redefined," where I went to highly placed African-Americans in Cleveland [Ohio]--the Mayor, the president of the local community college, other people of note in the community--and said, "Tell me, where were you when you heard "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud?" And how did that song, how did that song impact your thinking and your actions, to motivate you, if it did, to where you are today?" And that is how Black Power Redefined came out. And I remember Kit saying to me, she said, "Harry, I notice you didn't have any black, any white people, in Black Power Redefined. I said, "Well, Kit, it wasn't about white people, it's about black people." And I said, and she wasn't saying it in a negative sense, but just an observation. She said, "Well, you know, okay. See, it was hard to listen to, because it was just there. But I understand, and I appreciate what you're saying, you know. It was about where you were, and where you are now, and how that... What was the thread that got you there, the road that led to there?" And she said, "But, I'm glad you did it." And it ended up winning an award. It was important for me to find my voice, and she gave me that opportunity. I will always be grateful for that. And that stays in my brain, even today--not that my voice is some angelic kind of wisdom... I've been blessed in how I've been blessed, as we all have our own individual blessings. But just having somebody say, "I want to hear who you are," that's so-- it's such a liberating thing.

Juan Williams

Television personality and news journalist Juan Williams was born to Rogelio and Alma Geraldine Williams on April 10, 1954 in Colon, Panama. At the age of four, Williams and his family moved to Brooklyn, New York. In 1969, Williams won a scholarship to attend the Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, New York, a Quaker school. Williams then attended Haverford College, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in philosophy in 1976.

After interning at the Washington Post, Williams was hired by the newspaper in 1979. He worked as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist and White House reporter in 23 years at the Washington, D.C. newspaper. Williams published his first book, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965) in 1987, the best-selling companion to the award winning documentary of the same name. Williams was then hired by Fox News Channel in 1997 as a contributor. A year later, his second book, Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, about the pioneering Supreme Court justice, was published. It was designated a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. After serving as co-host of the television news program America’s Black Forum, Williams was hired as host of the National Public Radio call-in program Talk of the Nation in 2000. He wrote his third book, This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience, a companion to the critically acclaimed Public Broadcasting System documentary. Williams then wrote My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience and Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It; the former was co-written with Pulitzer-prize winning author David Halberstam and published in 2005, and the latter was published two years later. Williams has authored six books in total.

He is also the recipient of several awards for his writing and investigative journalism, he won an Emmy Award for television documentary writing and received widespread critical acclaim for numerous projects, including a series of documentaries like Politics: The New Black Power and A. Phillip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom. Williams has also written numerous articles for national magazines including TIME, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Ebony and GQ.

Juan Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.061

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/15/2012

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Schools

Haverford College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Juan

Birth City, State, Country

Colón

HM ID

WIL58

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Favorite Quote

Check It Out.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/10/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Panama

Favorite Food

Wife's Cooking

Short Description

Newspaper columnist, radio personality, and television commentator Juan Williams (1954 - ) is one of the most prominent African-American journalists on television, having appeared on Fox News Channel and award-winning Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentaries.

Employment

Washington Post

National Public Radio

Fox News

Favorite Color

Blue, Orange, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:24860,160:27492,288:27868,293:33305,337:35320,389:48601,589:58064,735:58490,742:63105,827:66850,836:67786,846:71842,895:72778,907:80015,963:80638,972:83396,992:84080,999:88698,1060:96325,1172:102362,1248:104936,1286:105248,1291:112705,1362:113745,1384:114850,1408:115435,1418:131768,1614:134200,1655:134580,1662:173564,2073:188248,2204:189340,2219:191250,2227:202756,2381:203274,2400:208750,2502:215416,2556:223804,2677:228560,2755:228970,2760:236140,2814:239358,2846:244956,2932:246236,2959:247068,2981:247388,2987:253276,3136:256980,3143$0,0:5480,75:14058,178:14448,184:19284,279:19908,288:23106,345:23418,350:41734,626:53540,852:53974,860:54284,866:54718,888:56888,932:61287,972:62046,986:62322,991:62598,996:70021,1135:72298,1197:72781,1206:78790,1263:79196,1275:80356,1314:80588,1319:93400,1507:93904,1515:98008,1592:98512,1600:99664,1625:100240,1634:116244,1859:136470,2145
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Juan Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Juan Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Juan Williams talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Juan Williams talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Juan Williams talks about his father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Juan Williams discusses his father's occupations in Panama and New York

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Juan Williams shares the story of how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Juan Williams talks about his likeness to his parents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Juan Williams talks about his likeness to his parents, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Juan Williams talks about his mother's move to Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Juan Williams describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Juan Williams describes the sights, sounds, and smell of growing up, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Juan Williams describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about the apartments where he lived in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Juan Williams talks about his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Juan Williams talks about his favorite subject in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Juan Williams talks about his favorite teachers in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Juan Williams talks about playing sports in Brooklyn, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Juan Williams talks about playing sports in Brooklyn, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Juan Williams talks about his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Juan Williams talks about earning a scholarship to attend Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Juan Williams talks about the racial makeup and his extracurricular activities at Oakwood Friends School

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Juan Williams remembers the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Juan Williams talks about his father's move to New York and how it affected him

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Juan Williams talks about Malcolm X's impact on his family, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Juan Williams talks about Malcolm X's impact on his family, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Juan Williams talks about his family's discussions about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about going to black bookstores and movies in downtown Brooklyn

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Juan Williams talks about his grades in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Juan Williams talks about his brother's and sister's roles in his early development

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Juan Williams discusses his mentors and role models at Haverford College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Juan Williams talks about his early writing

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Juan Williams talks about how he started writing

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Juan Williams talks about his African American influences from the news media

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Juan Williams talks about the racial makeup of Haverford College

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Juan Williams discusses his studies at Haverford College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Juan Williams talks about his influences at Haverford College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Juan Williams discusses how he majored in philosophy at Haverford College and the usefulness of critical analysis

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Juan Williams talks about his philosophy professor at Haverford College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about his internships and jobs during and after Haverford College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Juan Williams talks about the black reporters at the Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Juan Williams talks about being hired at the Washington Post after working as an intern

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Juan Williams talks about the stories that he worked on and his career at the Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Juan Williams talks about covering Marion Barry at the Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Juan Williams discusses Marion Barry's strengths and weaknesses as mayor of Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Juan Williams discusses Marion Barry's strengths and weaknesses as mayor of Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Juan Williams discusses some of the scandals surrounding Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Juan Williams discusses political philosophy in relation to Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Juan Williams discusses public sector jobs and public services during Mayor Marion Barry's administration

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Juan Williams discusses his coverage of public schools in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Juan Williams discusses his first impressions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Juan Williams shares his opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Juan Williams shares his opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Juan Williams discusses U.S. Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Juan Williams discusses U.S. Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Juan Williams discusses the appointment of African Americans to the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Juan Williams talks about what led to his work on PBS's "Eyes on the Prize"

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Juan Williams talks about meeting documentary producer, Henry Hampton

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Juan Williams discusses writing the book 'Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years: 1954-1965'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Juan Williams discusses what he remembers most about writing 'Eyes on the Prize'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Juan Williams talks about being investigated for his writings on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about being investigated for his writings on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Juan Williams talks about interviewing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Juan Williams talks about interviewing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Juan Williams talks about writing his biography on Thurgood Marshall, entitled, 'Thurgood Marshall: An American Revolutionary'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Juan Williams talks about 'America's Black Forum', pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Juan Williams talks about 'America's Black Forum', pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Juan Williams talks about how his book, 'Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary' was received

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Juan Williams talks about his book on Thurgood Marshall and the media attention it received

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Juan Williams talks about the conflict between Carl Rowan and Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Juan Williams talks about working at CNN and at Fox News

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about his interview with Bill O'Reilly that led to his departure from NPR

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Juan Williams talks about the reaction to his Bill O'Reilly interview

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Juan Williams talks about his experiences at Fox News

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Juan Williams describes his professional philosophy as a journalist

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Juan Williams responds to criticisms of his book, Enough

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Juan Williams discusses the organizational efforts that are required to make progress on civil rights

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Juan Williams talks about his future projects

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Juan Williams reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Juan Williams discusses the political culture of Fox News

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Juan Williams reflects upon his legacy and what he would do differently

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Juan Williams talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Juan Williams talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Juan Williams describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Juan Williams talks about covering Marion Barry at the Washington Post
Juan Williams talks about being investigated for his writings on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 1
Transcript
Okay, now, when you were hired as a report--now, you covered Marion Barry, didn't you as mayor--$$Um-hum.$$--of the City of Washington [Washington, D.C.]. And what was that like?$$Oh, gosh, it was a mess. You know, I was covering--when I was young--when I had, first was working on the City Staff, I was covering the School Board, and then went from the School Board to covering some of City Hall, the district building is what we call it here in the District of Columbia. And Barry was a character in both settings for me. And Barry's history with the paper, remember "The Washington Post" is the big white newspaper in town, had always been problematic. They had fallen in love with his image as kind of the Dashiki-clad, civil rights activist, and the reality on the ground is that Barry was oftentimes involved in all kinds of political shenanigans and questionable activities from way back in his days with "PRIDE" and all that. But he had the kind of dashing, charismatic energy, absent from the people who were the pioneers of what we call in the District of Columbia, "Home Rule," and these were older, more bureaucratic, administrative-type black men. I'm thinking here of Walter Washington. I'm thinking here of Sterling Tucker. These are suit and tie type guys, but they were at the cutting edge of making deals that led to Home Rule for the District of Columbia, that allowed control of budgetary authority for the District of Columbia to come to local hands, established the whole notion of the right to vote and proper representation for the people of the District of Columbia as opposed to having Congress control it. Barry comes from a different tradition, if you will. Whereas you had Walter Washington, Sterling Tucker, Walter Fauntroy, as kind of establishment, political and church leadership in the black community, Barry comes in as someone who'd been in SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee], someone who then comes to town with the Civil Rights Movement, comes from Mississippi, comes to D.C., and gets involved with these job training organizations that are taking advantage of federal grants. And he is much more kind of the voice of young, impatient and challenging to whites, black America. And, you know, the paper fell in love with Barry, especially, the editorial board and all that. And so when I start writing about Barry, writing editorials about Barry and the like and being critical of him, the newspaper is like whoa, you know, why are you writing critically about Marion Barry? But Barry was always up to tricks, and I was always critical of some of Barry's activities and willing to write in that way. And then Barry, of course, has his own issues, once he gets into elected office on the City Council and as the Mayor. And writing about him, and writing about his deals and his missteps, and the like, I think it was very difficult for lots of people to see those stories in "The Washington Post," and I remember being castigated and criticized, you know, why are you writing, why are you writing critically about a black leader in a white newspaper and those kind of things.$In 1992, you left "The Washington Post"?$$Yes.$$Okay, so what happened?$$I didn't leave "The Washington Post" in '92 [1992], but--$$Okay, well--$$I think in '92 [1992] is when I start working on the Thurgood Marshall book which comes out in '98 [1998]. But in the course of the Clarence Thomas hearings--remember Thomas was charged with--Anita Hill said, oh, he's, he's sexual harassment and all that stuff had emerged. And in the course of those hearings, then at the paper, people said, well, Juan Williams tells dirty jokes, and Juan Williams flirts with women. And all of a sudden they would say oh, well, should we be investigating Juan Williams, you know? And, you know, they--I remember the editors at the "Post" [the Washington Post], I think fearing for lawsuits against the "Post" said, well, you should be going on TV. You shouldn't be talking about this. And I had been writing about Clarence Thomas for, as we've discussed for some time. But it was so painful to me that this institution which I regarded as my home, would suddenly turn on me. In other words, they hadn't turned on me, although they had been very skeptical about my critical writings about Marion Barry. And that was highly politically charged in this black majority town. They hadn't turned on me in that situation, but in this situation where I was involved in a controversy about Clarence Thomas because I said I thought what was going on there was really unfair to him, the human being, the woman in the newsroom clearly said, "You're either with us or against us on this issue," and anybody who's writing anything favorable about Clarence Thomas is out of bounds. And so I became part of the story. And it was again, to me, just the wildest thing, I mean just--you know, they came. They had me sit through interviews with people. Did you say this? Did you do this? And it ultimately came down to write an apology and let's get over with this thing. But it was very painful to me, and I don't think, I don't think my relationship with the Post was ever the same after that. It was searing for me, and it was very public. It was all over. So-

Frank Ski

Radio personality Frank Ski was born Frank Rodriguez on May 9, 1964, to Sandra Brent and John Rodriguez in New York City. At an early age, Ski was placed into foster care by his mother. Then, at the age of six, the court ordered that he remain under the custody of his father in Miami, Florida. As an adolescent, Ski spent summers in New York City where he witnessed the birth of hip hop culture. He later became influenced by the hip hop lifestyle to become a local disk jockey.

After graduating from high school, Ski moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and attended the University of District of Columbia to pursue a career in law. It was there that Ski started his career in radio broadcasting as a part-time disc jockey. During his college years, Ski also worked as a paralegal. Then, in 1985, Ski was offered a position as an evening shift disc jockey with V-103 (then-called WEBB). He worked in that capacity for almost ten years and eventually became the co-host for the number one rated morning show, The Frank and Jean Morning Show.

In the early 1990s, Ski began remixing songs for Luke Skyywalker Records. He won the attention of music critics with his mix of the song, “Doo Doo Brown,” in 1991, and in 1994, he made his acting debut by appearing in the film, Detention. Ski would later go on to appear in several other full-length feature films. In 1996, Ski joined 92Q FM in Baltimore, Maryland, and in 1998, he was hired by the Atlanta radio station, WVEE, as its morning show host alongside comedian Wanda Smith.

Ski went on to found the Frank Ski Kids Foundation in 2000. The foundation provides assistance to low income youth applicants and youth-serving agencies to expand opportunities for educational, athletic and cultural learning. Later, in 2004, Ski became the spokesperson for the Civil Rights Walk of Fame and raised $500,000 for the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless and Metro Atlanta Respite & Development Services.

In 2002, Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., presented Ski with the Journalist of the Year Award from the Rainbow Push Coalition, and in 2007, Ski was honored with the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Atlanta Chapter of the National Urban League. He is a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, the Latin American Association, Rainbow Push Coalition and Leadership Atlanta.

Ski lives in Atlanta with his wife, Tanya, and their sons.

Accession Number

A2008.029

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/26/2008

Last Name

Ski

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of the District of Columbia

Miami Killian Senior High School

Glades Middle School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SKI01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

South America

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

5/9/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Radio personality Frank Ski (1964 - ) worked as a radio disk jockey in Baltimore and Atlanta. Ski hosted the morning show of Atlanta's WVEE-FM radio station. Frank Ski Kids Foundation provided assistance to low income youth applicants and youth-serving agencies to expand opportunities for educational, athletic and cultural learning.

Favorite Color

Summer Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:235850,3071$0,0:280250,3612
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frank Ski's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Ski lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Ski describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Ski recalls memories of his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Ski talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frank Ski talks about his mother's family origins

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frank Ski lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frank Ski describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frank Ski describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frank Ski talks about growing up in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frank Ski talks about moving to Miami, Florida at six years old

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Frank Ski recalls his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Ski talks about the racial divides between Puerto Rican and Cuban families

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Ski talks about racism in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Ski recalls his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Ski talks about learning to garden from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frank Ski talks about his childhood neighborhood in Miami, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frank Ski talks about becoming a runner in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frank Ski talks about his childhood neighborhood in Miami, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frank Ski talks about attending Glades Junior High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frank Ski describes the sounds, sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Frank Ski talks about attending high school at Miami Killian Senior High in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Frank Ski recalls a story about putting a turtle in his father's fish tank

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Frank Ski talks about the end of his time at Miami Killian Senior High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Ski describes a knee injury he sustained during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Ski talks about going to the prom at Miami Killian Senior High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Ski talks about his father's parenting style

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Ski recalls trying to catch an alligator as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frank Ski talks about working to earn money as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frank Ski talks about working at McDonald's after graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frank Ski talks about rapping, DJing, and break dancing in New York City and Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frank Ski talks about the early days of rap in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Frank Ski talks about working at a men's clothing store after graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Frank Ski talks about moving away from Miami, Florida and helping his mother collect her money from the numbers in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Frank Ski talks about the music scene in Miami, Florida in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frank Ski talks about the history of Miami bass

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frank Ski talks about making music in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frank Ski reflects on hip hop culture

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frank Ski talks about how music videos unified hip hop culture

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frank Ski talks about problematic aspects of hip hop award shows

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frank Ski describes moving to Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frank Ski describes moving to Washington, D.C. and his path to radio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frank Ski talks about being hired to host a radio show for the University of the District of Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frank Ski describes getting a job as a paralegal at Sachs, Greenebaum & Taylor

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frank Ski talks about transitioning to working in radio

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frank Ski describes working at Sachs, Greenebaum & Taylor and transitioning to radio work at V103 in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frank Ski talks about moving to a nicer apartment and learning from his mentor, Michael Lubin

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frank Ski describes his early radio and DJ career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frank Ski describes being a pioneer in Baltimore club music and DJing parties

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frank Ski talks about his responsibilities while working the night show at V103 in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Frank Ski talks about shifting to working the morning show at V103 in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Frank Ski talks about the origins of his name

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frank Ski describes being fired from V103 in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frank Ski explains non-compete clauses

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frank Ski talks about meeting and marrying his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Frank Ski describes being hired at 92Q WERQ in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Frank Ski describes the racial divide in Baltimore, Maryland and neglect of black businesses

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Frank Ski talks about why he moved out of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Frank Ski describes moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Frank Ski talks about being hired at V103 Atlanta

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Frank Ski talks about his morning show at V103 Atlanta

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Frank Ski talks about Miss Tony

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Frank Ski talks about Miss Sophia

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Frank Ski describes the structure of his radio show at V103 Atlanta

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Frank Ski describes memorable interviews he has conducted

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Frank Ski talks about HistoryMaker Xernona Clayton's International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Frank Ski talks about the Frank Ski Kids Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Frank Ski talks about the Frank Ski Kids Foundation's science efforts

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Frank Ski talks about his children

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Frank Ski talks about his hopes for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Frank Ski describes his employees

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Frank Ski reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Frank Ski reflects upon how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Frank Ski reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Frank Ski offers advice to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Frank Ski describes being hired at 92Q WERQ in Baltimore, Maryland
Frank Ski talks about the Frank Ski Kids Foundation's science efforts
Transcript
So now you go to the new radio station, what radio station is, is this?$$It's a new radio station called 92Q, WERQ.$$And is this a morning show, evening--$$Morning show.$$Okay.$$Yep.$$And tell me how it's different or how do you make it better.$$What they did was--$$How do you impact this radio station?$$This guy who was the program director, his name was Tom Calococci and Tom was a marketing genius. He taught me how to market a radio show. He taught me how to create an image on a radio show. He--what I've become now most of it I learned from Tom Calococci. He was a teacher, and Tom Calococci had this--here, here's what happened when V103 let me go the funny thing about Baltimore [Maryland] they're a town that doesn't like change. They like what they like. People on TV stay on TV for thirty years. People on radio stay on the radio forever. It's not, it's a blue collar town. It's not a town that really changes too much. When they [V103] fired me, the city went into an uproar. They picketed the radio station. They, they sent letters. They had a writing, letter writing campaign because right before they fired me, Infinity Broadcasting, which head teamed up with CBS had bought the radio station and they didn't as owners didn't want them to let me go, but as owners they have a general manager and a program director and they make decisions. They don't, you know, micromanage, so they told them if this is a mistake y'all will pay for it, so, I went. Tom Calococci had this brilliant idea and while he let me off for a week, you know before I came back, he ran a promo on the radio station that said, V103 is, no that said, "All of Baltimore is sad that Frank Ski is no longer on the radio." We think, and they ran this whole thing, "We think it was very wrong of them to let him go for no reason and we are deeply saddened by it and every professional and person that lives in Baltimore is saddened by it and we don't want to let him go because of all his years of service unceremoniously, so we are having Frank Ski day in Baltimore." This is the competition radio station. "We're gonna do Frank Ski day in Baltimore and it's hosted by the mayor [Kurt Schmoke], and the governor [Parris N. Glendening] is coming and the who's who and everybody who is somebody in Baltimore is coming to say thank you to Frank Ski for your many years of service to the Baltimore community," not knowing, nobody not knowing that this man had already hired me. So, I went out to this Frank Ski day and the whole city came up and everybody that came up, you know while they were interviewing me on the radio was like, "You know you guys should hire Frank and bring Frank back." Then they went another week of promoting that, "You asked for it Baltimore, we are gonna bring Frank Ski back starting on this day Frank Ski will be back in the morning on 92Q [WERQ]," and in one rating's period V103 was number one, 92Q was number eight, in one rating's period they went from eight to one and V103 went from one to eight, and that was the beginning of the end.$Is it only for sports?$$We do, now my side of it, of the [Frank Ski Kids] Foundation 'cause my wife [Tanya Parker-Rodriguez] loves the sports side and the art side, but my passion is science and technology, so that's what I do and one of the first things we started on an annual basis was, remember I told you the story my father [John Rodriguez] took me see the Apollo rocket take off, well NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] has a space camp for kids. It, it's expensive and we send the only team of kids to space camp every year, and we send ten kids every year to go to space camp all-expense paid.$$And, and you said there was another trip, another science project Galapagos Islands.$$The Galapagos Islands.$$Galapagos Islands.$$You know as a kid the favorite thing I used to get is books. I loved TimeLife nature books, National Geographic books, and as a kid I knew about the Galapagos Islands, but as a kid it was never any tourism that ever went there. Tourism didn't start there until the '80s [1980s], and really even until late '80s [1980s], early '90s [1990s] could people really get there without taking a ship that took weeks. And the Galapagos Islands is where Charles Darwin did his theory of evolution and Charles Darwin did his theory of relativity and evolution studies and it's a very special place on our planet. It's a place where for no other reason these animals are on these different islands and every island is different than the other. The plants, the animals are different in this archipelago series and off the coast of South America and Ecuador. It's like going to Jurassic Park, and I went a few years back, my mentor and lawyer [Michael Lubin], you know sent me as a dream and I got my best friend Craig [Aronson] that I grew up with and we went to the Galapagos Islands to live our dream and found out when we got there that no U.S. student group had ever been and I said wow wouldn't it be amazing if we could send a group of kids to follow the footsteps of Charles Darwin. What would they see and what would they become? What seed would we plant? So, we created a contest and we made kids write a presidential speech. Now, isn't it great that we might have a woman or a black man be the president. So, I had these kids write a speech. We picked the top twenty speeches and had them come to the national--the Georgia Aquarium, and deliver their speech in front of a group of scientists. And the speech was if I was the president what would I do to conserve energy and protect the environment for generations to come, and these kids, thirteen to fifteen, had to deliver this speech like they were the president in front of a pod, podium like they were doing their, you know, Galapagos speech and we took ten and we wound up taking an extra, we took eleven and we went to the Galapagos Islands. It was a, it was a bit of a trip to get there, but it was life-changing nevertheless. So, we do science, technology, arts, athletics, and our whole mission statement for the Frank Ski Kids Foundation is exposing kids to their future because I believe and my wife believes that a kid is going to become what they see. If your parents are lawyers and your parents' friends are lawyers, chances are you're gonna do something related to law. If your parents are doctors or your family is doctors and you're around medicine, you're gonna be in science and medicine some kind of way. And a lot of our kids, you know, wanna be rappers and ball players because that all they see, but if we gave them an opportunity to see more they would want to be more.

Richard Claude Steele

Chicago radio personality Richard Steele was born Richard Slaughter on January 6, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. Raised by his parents, Charles and Sylvia Slaughter, on Chicago’s south side, Steele attended Douglas and Ruggles Elementary Schools and then Parker High School. Graduating from Hirsch High School in 1960, he later attended Loop College.

From 1960 to 1964, Steele served in the United States Air Force in Orlando, Florida. Attending the New York School of Announcing and Speech in 1964, Steele worked in a part time job at WHIB-AM in 1967. A year later, he took his first full time job in radio as the program director and an on air personality at WTOY-AM in Roanoke, Virginia. In 1970, Steele joined WAAF-AM and WLID-AM in Boston in 1970 and then moved to WGRT-FM in Chicago. A program director at WJPC-FM in 1974, he was an on air personality for WVON-AM and WBMX-FM and hosted WBEZ-FM’s Page Two talk show in the 1980s. For five years, Steele hosted Morning Connection for WVAZ-FM before getting jobs at WBEZ-FM and WGCI-FM in 1994. Steele has also hosted Spirit Express on WGCI-AM gospel radio. At WCIU-TV Steele was seen on Chicago Today, The Discovery Showcase and Urban Street with Ty Wansley. He also worked on the TV specials Bridging the Gap and Two for the Show.

At Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM Steele hosted Talk of the City, interviewing people like Gwendolyn Brooks, William Safire and Wynton Marsalis. A host and contributor to WBEZ’s talk shows and jazz programs, Steele is a past president of NATRA, the black radio announcers guild, and serves as a local board member of AFTRA. He also makes frequent appearances on WTTW-TV (PBS) as a reporter for Artbeat Chicago. Steele is known to support the efforts of the ETA Creative Arts Foundation and other African American community organizations. He lives with his wife on Chicago’s south side.

Accession Number

A2005.074

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/22/2005

Last Name

Steele

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Claude

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Hirsch Metropolitan High School

Parker High School

Martha M. Ruggles Elementary School

Douglas Elementary School

Star Career Academy

New York School of Announcing and Speech

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

STE07

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

It Has Its Moments.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/6/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Chocolate Cake

Short Description

Radio personality Richard Claude Steele (1942 - ) has worked for WJPC-FM, WVON-AM, WBMX-FM, WGCI-FM, WVAZ-FM and WBEZ-FM. Steele has also hosted “Morning Connection” for WVAZ-FM and served as a contributor to WBEZ’s talk shows and jazz programs.

Employment

WTOY-AM

WILD-AM

WGRT-AM

WVON Radio (Chicago)

WBEZ-AM

WVAZ-FM

WTTW-TV Chicago

WGCI FM (Radio Chicago)

WCIU-TV

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:920,52:6447,145:7206,157:7689,165:8310,218:28539,581:40382,751:43672,804:62570,1022:63020,1028:63650,1039:67641,1113:68635,1130:68990,1136:74644,1219:76276,1252:80764,1347:81988,1380:82396,1398:87110,1450:87974,1469:89054,1483:89414,1489:94152,1564:98832,1675:100200,1719:104820,1756:106112,1777:106520,1784:109376,1853:110872,1883:115538,1916:120402,2056:121086,2067:124202,2126:136424,2287:137594,2313:138530,2331:154530,2575$0,0:1975,43:3634,80:10180,389:10765,395:24720,495:31602,655:33230,679:47270,882:57170,1051:57680,1060:60530,1066:61670,1091:71570,1184:72245,1216:72770,1225:77120,1325:104211,1761:109175,2001:120763,2216:127256,2277:137890,2474:142750,2512:143080,2520:148868,2639:158122,2843:158605,2852:160606,2892:161434,2914:171424,3076:171832,3083:184658,3411:185670,3427:186498,3437:192054,3453:205604,3642:205964,3647:211508,3773:221610,3909:221950,3914:224755,3963:225435,3973:236303,4084:238080,4121:244881,4236:245286,4242:248202,4344:254694,4381:255972,4424:256256,4429:260704,4484:266590,4554
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard Claude Steele's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard Claude Steele lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard Claude Steele describes his mother's young adult years in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard Claude Steele describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard Claude Steele describes his childhood home, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard Claude Steele describes his childhood home, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his childhood summers in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard Claude Steele describes his childhood experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his childhood love for music

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele describes his elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard Claude Steele recalls racist encounters in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his activities at Carey Temple A.M.E. Church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard Claude Steele describes his favorite radio programs and personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his favorite childhood television shows

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard Claude Steele describes his time at Emil G. Hirsch Metropolitan High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele remembers his high school English teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele describes his high school singing group, The Belvederes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard Claude Steele remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard Claude Steele recalls joining the U.S. Air Force after high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard Claude Steele recalls joining a singing group in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Richard Claude Steele recalls winning talent contests in the U.S. Air Force and meeting HistoryMaker Berry Gordy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Richard Claude Steele describes his first radio job

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard Claude Steele describes the schools he attended in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard Steele describes his early broadcasting jobs

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele recalls working for WTOY Radio in Roanoke, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele describes WTOY Radio in Roanoke, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard Claude Steele describes his fan base in Roanoke, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard Claude Steele describes the social differences between New York City and Roanoke, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard Claude Steele describes living in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his interview with WGRT Radio in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard Claude Steele describes the history of Chicago's WGRT Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard Claude Steele explains the history of Chicago radio stations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele describes his love for jazz music

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele recalls his favorite interviews

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard Claude Steele remembers Chicago Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard Claude Steele recalls a unity rally at Chicago's UIC Pavilion

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Richard Claude Steele reflects upon Harold Washington's death

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard Claude Steele details his radio broadcasting career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard Claude Steele describes The Tavis Smiley Show

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele details his television career

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele reflects upon his decision not to pursue college

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Richard Claude Steele reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Richard Claude Steele describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Richard Claude Steele reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Richard Claude Steele reflects upon how his personality helped his career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Richard Claude Steele reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Richard Claude Steele describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Richard Claude Steele describes his fan base in Roanoke, Virginia
Richard Claude Steele recalls a unity rally at Chicago's UIC Pavilion
Transcript
So you were there [WTOY Radio, Roanoke, Virginia] a year and then what happened though?$$I got a call from a friend of mine who I went to one of these radio schools with in New York [New York], Tony [ph.] was from New York too and he was working in Boston [Massachusetts]. SO he called, he started before I did. He actually got, he was had been in about maybe almost two years before I got in, maybe a year and half to two, but we kept in touch. So he actually, he called my, he called my [maternal] aunt's [Claudia Gibbons Austin] house in Brooklyn [New York] and then my aunt called me and said look, Tony wants to talk to you, he's in Boston. I talked to him he said, "Man you ready to leave Roanoke [Virginia]?" I said, "Yeah" (laughter), he said, "Well we've got an opening and I'm the program director now." So I said, "Well look how soon do you need me?" And I accepted the job and that's kind of how I left Roanoke, but Roanoke was a very, very pleasant experience in terms of learning. It was, it was the first time I had really, the first time I really got the feeling of how good it is to be a personality, the radio station was big news in Roanoke for this black-oriented radio station. We went to make an appearance one time at a school that was out in the county, one of the counties outside of Botetourt County [Virginia], which was outside of the Roanoke County [Virginia] area, further out, a lot of country folk you know. When we got to the school, I got there with our general manager and they heard we were coming, when we got to the school it was a line almost around the block and so I said, "Well what, what are they having?" They said, "No this is, they wanna meet you" (laughter), I said I couldn't, I mean this was big because in Botetourt County which was again a very small location, even smaller than Roanoke but they were able to pick up our signal to have a--and this was a black school and to have a black-orientated radio station you know playing James Brown and playing all the hits and all of that, this was a really big deal and I was, I was truly amazed that I was kind of this local star.$$Okay, is this the first time it kind of dawns on you what the, what being on the radio actually does for one (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, this was one, this is the first, this is my first actual real regular air shift. I think I came I was working afternoons.$$Had you changed your name yet at this point had, were you?$$Yeah oh yeah, yeah.$$Okay.$$No, I was Richard Steele [HistoryMaker Richard Claude Steele] yeah.$$Okay.$$$One of the things that happened for me too that was pretty significant was that after Harold [Harold Washington] died, I got this phone call asking me if I'd emcee this unity rally at the Pavilion [UIC Pavilion, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois] cause of Conrad Worrill [HistoryMaker Conrad Walter Worrill]. Dr. Worrill and I we're good friends and I said okay to the unity rally, okay so this was a period when they were trying to decide what they should do next, you know this whole thing about Sawyer [HistoryMaker Eugene Sawyer] or Tim Evans [Timothy Evans].$$Okay that's when, yeah Eugene Sawyer and I think.$$Right.$$Five other black aldermen switched sides, went over to the Vrdolyak [Edward Vrdolyak] side to have enough votes to make Sawyer the mayor, that was the plan right?$$But any way the unity rally was supposed to be, just sort of--so they had some children's choirs and they had a Hispanic band with a--I can't think of the guy that was a poet, they had a lot of different things but the bottom line to that was this was about this was about trying to support, I think at that point it was, it was about supporting Tim Evans but they didn't say that, so I'm the emcee, now the place is full. Everybody is very emotional Clarence McClain, he's had a few too many and his wig is sitting this way, you know and (laughter) and [HistoryMaker] Gus Savage was, he was, he had a little bit too much to drink and; and everybody's really upset because you know Harold's dead and they don't know what to do. I'll never forget Gus wanted to go up on stage, and I remember Danny Davis [HistoryMaker Danny K. Davis] holding him and saying, "Nah you can't go up on stage," and 'cause we're supposed to control who went up on stage and that was supposed to be kind of of my job too, to say who could come and who couldn't, and I remember Luis Gutierrez he just zipped by me and got up on stage before I got a chance to turn around, he was up there, oh it was just, it was. I will never forget this night, and then to cap things off here comes Jesse [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson]. Jesse was running for president at that point, Jesse Jackson. So he comes with about four secret service people--now the Pavilion is full, when he goes up on stage they're up--they recognize me as the emcee. They say, "Well you know who's coming and going up on the stage?" I said, "Well yeah all right so nobody's gonna come up now." So Jesse goes up there and Jesse calls for, "We want a show of unity, we just wanna see all the aldermen that are here tonight." Essentially everybody, the assumption was everybody that was there was for Tim Evans. So when he called these people to come up on stage the secret service people went nuts. "Oh, God he's calling, oh no he's calling all these people." So they got their hands on their Uzis or whatever they got and I'm like, "Oh man this is awful" (laughter) you know what I mean, but you know Jesse's very spontaneous. He called these people to come up on stage so they did, and it was like, it was a pretty messy night and I'm the emcee. I still got the program.$$I remember it was packed out front, I mean you couldn't get in it at a certain point, the place was packed (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, it was, yeah, I was the man in the middle on that one.$$Yeah that was a pretty traumatic weekend for the city.$$And the, the politics behind that were this, the city, because it was billed as a unity rally, the city was gonna pay for this, so somebody in the administration kept telling me, "We got to keep it nonpartisan or else when this comes up before city council as a bill, I mean as a bill due, they're not gonna pay for this if this is viewed as a rally for one candidate or the other, so I kept telling Conrad, 'cause Conrad was one of the organizers, and "Conrad we got to keep it" said "Yeah okay, okay." So at some point it just got out of control and then it was clearly a rally for Tim Evans. I said, "Conrad, you know Chuck Kelly [Charles Kelly] was just telling this is a problem because the city's not gonna pay for this." He said, so Conrad said, "Steele [HistoryMaker Richard Claude Steele], what can I tell you, the people have taken over (laughter), the people are in charge, I, I can't, nothing more I can do." Oh man, what a night, what a night, I was in the middle of that. You know when I think back on stuff like that I am grateful to have been involved. I was not a bystander, I was in the middle of it.$$Okay.$$It was quite an evening.

Dyana Williams

Dyana Williams, producer, artist development coach, former DJ, and founder of the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM), grew up in New York City. Williams’s mother, Nancy Williams Newman, was Puerto Rican, and her father, George G. Williams, was from Virginia. Williams attended P.S. 78 in the Bronx until she was 10 years old; she then moved to Puerto Rico where she attended Santa Rita Elementary School in Bayamon. Returning to the United States, Williams attended junior high school at Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School #143 in Harlem. An outstanding flute player at Washington Irving High School, Williams performed with Jimmy Heath and Hubert Laws. After graduating in 1971, Williams enrolled in the City College of New York where she became a DJ for the college radio station, WCCR.

By 1973, Williams had joined the staff of Howard University radio WHUR-FM. There, under the guidance of Bob “Nighthawk” Terry and John Paul Simpkins, Williams’s Ebony Moonbeams show attracted a strong following. In 1975, legendary DJ Frankie Crocker brought Williams to New York City’s WBLS radio; in 1976, she returned to Washington, D.C., where she became the first African American woman rock DJ at WRQX-FM. Williams worked as program director at WMMJ radio and as the host of television’s P.M. Magazine. After moving to Philadelphia in 1982, Williams established a show called Love on the Menu for WDAS radio. Williams also reported for Black Entertainment Television (BET), and worked as music consultant for The Soul of VH1. Closely associated with The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) and Philadelphia jazz and soul artists such as Patti LaBelle, Art Tatum, and Teddy Pendergrass, Williams produced the PBS special, The Philadelphia Music Makers in 1990. As a writer, Williams contributed to The Philadelphia Tribune, Billboard Magazine, and The Philadelphia New Observer.

In 1990, Williams and Sheila Eldridge launched the Association of African American Music (IAAAM) to promote and preserve black music. Williams co-wrote the House Concurrent Bill 509, which recognized African American accomplishments in music and helped establish Black Music Month. In 1997 Williams earned her B.A. degree in television, radio, and film from Temple University. Williams formed Creative Consultants for Soul Solidarity in partnership with Eldridge. In 2006 Williams received the Achievement in Radio Award for Best Weekend Show in Philadelphia. Williams was formerly married to music producer and activist Kenny Gamble; their union produced three children.

Dyana Willams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/8/2005

Last Name

Williams

Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Washington Irving High School

Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School #143

P.S. 78

Santa Rita Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Dyana

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

WIL22

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $2000-5000
Preferred Audience: All

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Anything That The Mind Can Conceive And Believe, If You Truly Believe It, You Can Achieve It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

11/9/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Plantains

Short Description

Talent management chief executive, radio personality, and music producer Dyana Williams (1953 - ) was the first African American woman rock DJ at WRQX-FM in Washington, D.C., served as program director at WMMJ radio in Washington, D.C., and creator of the show, "Love on the Menu," for WDAS radio in Philadelphia. Aside from her on-air presence, Williams co-launched the Association of African American Music, and co-wrote the House Concurrent Bill 509, which recognized African American accomplishments in music and helped establish Black Music Month.

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
0,0:10226,158:11430,180:14354,225:14956,233:23440,302:25240,308:25675,314:32896,438:33331,445:56032,731:63420,821$0,0:14052,258:17168,317:23000,347:26650,408:27015,414:45846,780:46420,787:51955,827:58639,939:75755,1169:86502,1393:99470,1549:101570,1604:108990,1728:109970,1747:125594,2001:130564,2036:130832,2041:142600,2226:146575,2307:147775,2331:148225,2338:153550,2441:160990,2513:163870,2560:179480,2807:201568,3215:206046,3247:235202,3740:248562,4004:262016,4161:290409,4536:291246,4547:327376,4921:332696,5080:354690,5573
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dyana Williams' interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Dyana Williams' interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams describes her mother, Nancy Neuman

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about her father, George Williams

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams describes being an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams talks about being independent and imaginative as an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about living in New York City and Puerto Rico as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about her African American and Puerto Rican heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about skin tone bias around the world

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about Arthur Schomburg and HistoryMaker Charles Blockson

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams describes her school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams talks about her cultural exposure while growing up in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Dyana Williams talks about attending Washington Irving High School in Manhattan, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about dating jazz flutist Hubert Laws

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about renowned flute players

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes being involved with the radio station at City College of New York in Harlem, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about her radio and television work while attending City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about being hired at WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes the programming of WHUR-FM

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about the people she met while working at WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about Miles Davis

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about meeting HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about meeting HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about her documentary called "Sound of Philadelphia"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes working at and leaving WBLS in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes leaving WBLS in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about raising her children and her radio work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes the HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble's connection to the black community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about working at WDAS in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about hosting "PM Magazine" on television

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about working at Magic 102.3 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about divorcing HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams talks about managing musician Gary Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams describes founding the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM)

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Dyana Williams talks about Black Music Month and the demise of the Black Music Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about co-writing House Concurrent Bill 509

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about being an ambassador for black music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes writing for magazines and newspapers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about being a VH1 reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about producing the PBS special, "Philadelphia Music Makers"

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes her decision to attend Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about producing the IAAAM Diamond Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams describes graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about her professors at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about her work in artist development and media coaching

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Maxine Powell

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams describes her work at Influence Entertainment

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about serving on an NEA review board

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about her love of art and serving on the board of the Paul Jones Collection at the University of Delaware

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams talks about receiving three Liberty Bell Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Gordon Parks

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about her future plans and the multiple homes she owns

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

14$1

DATitle
Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen
Dyana Williams talks about co-writing House Concurrent Bill 509
Transcript
Okay. Now, what, I have a note here about Vy Higginsen [HM]. Now, tell me about--$$Vy Higginsen was a prominent radio personality on WBLS-FM in New York, a station where Frankie Crocker, who was this charismatic radio star program director and on-air talent, was in charge. And Vy Higginsen was the first black woman that I heard on the radio in New York. And I was mesmerized, enchanted, totally engaged hearing her. She had a very sweet, honey, honeyed voice, and just such a sexy, warm style in her presentation. And I heard her and I was like, that's what I want to do. I kind of started tinkering with the idea. First, I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be a jazz musician. I wanted to be the first accomplished female on jazz, jazz flute, jazz flautist, but, boy, I lacked talent. I just wasn't good.$Yeah, we're talking--$$As I mentioned, IAAAM [International Association of African American Music] was a advocacy organization for black music. Sheila Eldridge and myself and our board of directors, which includes Cathy Hughes [HM] and some other prominent people, who are concerned and committed to black music and culture, we discovered, after writing President [Bill] Clinton that June was, in fact, not Black Music Month recognized by the White House. And we were like, no, no, wait, we presented all these papers from the BMA. President [Jimmy] Carter hosted this event. He said June is Black Music Month. And the folks at the White House said, we see all that, but he never signed a Presidential Proclamation, and there's nothing in the annals of the government of the United States recognizing it as such. So they suggested, they said, you know, you need to try to do something about that--get in touch with your congressman, your senator, and try to get some legislature enacted. Well, it sounded pretty simple, but I'd never done anything like that. So, here became where this was the beginning of my education about how legislature is enacted. And I contacted Congressman Chaka Fattah [HM] in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and explained the situation. I said, can you work with our organization? And then I reached out to Senator Arlen Specter, who is a Republican a little later, much later. But it was literally Congressman Fattah who championed our cause to establish legislature recognizing June as Black Music Month. Well, first, we call it the African American Music Bill that recognized the contributions of the African American Music industry as a multibillion dollar business, and one of America's exports around the world, and indigenous American music. What are the blues, jazz, hip hop, gospel? It started here. It came from the suffering and the joys and the tremendous experiences of people of color in the United States, and loved by many. You don't have to be black to love the blues. In fact, more white people seem to like the blues than black folks. If you go to concerts, you see more white people at jazz shows as well. So, we wanted to celebrate the music. I wrote the draft that became the actual language. They put the "Whereas" in Congressman Fattah's office, but I wrote the actual language celebrating--saying, why it was important to celebrate and recognize black music. Some years earlier, Congressman John Conyers [HM]from Michigan had written similar language regarding jazz, recognizing jazz as a national treasure. And that's been his--one of his causes that he has promoted during his tenure in Congress and the House. But I wrote the African American Music Bill. And when it first went up--oh, and it was a lobbying process. I had to go actually lobbying and get signatures, and encourage other congressman and women. I went to the Black Caucus and Latino Caucus. I went across the board--white congressman. I was on the Hill, on Capitol Hill. In fact, during that time, I met a women who would later become the head. She was like a page. Her name is Hilary Rosen. She was the head of the Record Industry Association of America. I would later work with her and do some projects.$$Now, I have a question in regard to that.$$Uh-hum.$$It's probably--was there any resistance to this bill?$$Yeah. Folks were literally like, why do you need it? What's, why, why do you have to say black music is great? You know, it's great. What, what, what? And I was like, well, we want it recognized by the American government. We want the President to recognize it. It deserves to be recognized by corporations. I felt that it would make it easier for us as an entity to raise money, to have across the board, recognition and respect. Why not? That was also part of my argument--why not? Why are you opposed to this? There are so many other pieces of legislature--quite frankly, many that are BS. Why can't we have one that says, this is indigenous American music. It should be recognized, celebrated--it should be studied. And that's what the bill says. But the first time out, they would not incorporate language--I said, "June is Black Music Month". So we had to go back to it later, and the bill number changed. Don't ask me what it is now. I've forgotten. But 509 was enacted and then later, Chaka added language that said, "June is Black Music Month".$$Okay.$$So, it was important. And now, guess what? June Black Music Month is celebrated by the President, President Clinton. President Bush has an annual event every year in the White House where they bring artists together of different genres and say, "June is Black Music Month". We need to study and celebrate. And it's probably what I'm most proud of. I think my parents are more proud of that than just about anything else that I've done because here I am, a little girl from the Bronx [New York City, New York] and Harlem, writing legislature that's been enacted in, in our government. I never thought I would do something like that, but it happened. And I was very proud to be a part of a movement. It was a movement. It was an effort. It took us a minute--take, make it happen. When I say a minute, I'm like black person's minute. It took us, you know, a couple of years. I wrote an editorial in "Billboard" magazine. I mean, I was champing and lobbying this cause hard. And the satisfaction of bringing it to fruition was tremendous, and a great education for myself and those of us in the IAAAM organization.

Doug Banks

Radio personality Calvin Douglas Banks, Jr., was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1958. His family relocated to Detroit when he was still young, and he attended St. John’s Lutheran School and Friends School there, graduating from Southfield High School in 1976. Banks became a popular disc jockey on Southfield High’s WSHJ when he was only fifteen. He was offered a full time job in Miami, but his mother wanted him to finish school, so Banks took a part time job at WDRQ in Detroit, where Bill Bailey mentored him. He was enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1976 before being lured by a $50,000 contract from popular Los Angeles’ KDAY, in 1977.

Banks’ career brought him briefly to Chicago, then back to KFI in Los Angeles. It was at KLAV in Las Vegas, where he did his first stint as a morning man. Moving to KDIA in San Francisco, Banks was then offered a substantial contract from WBMX (now WVAZ) in Chicago. Banks boosted the morning ratings from a 1.8 share to a 5.6 share. Enticed to join rival WGCI, Banks worked afternoon drive time, but soon returned to mornings from 1987 to 1994. Banks show with Harold Lee Rush and Bonnie DeShong became a radio institution in Chicago. Following a similar path as radio legend Tom Joyner, Banks signed a deal with ABC Radio Networks in Dallas to do a syndicated afternoon drive show, “The Doug Banks Show”. The show which targeted audiences 18 to 34 years of age, featured DeDe McGuire and CoCo Budda and Banks as the Urban Flava Creator. This show was heard by millions nationwide.

A recipient of numerous awards, Banks had a track record of being accessible to community organizations. In 2004, “The Doug Banks Show,” along with Russell Simmons, Hip Hop Summit Action Network spearheaded the One Mind One Vote campaign urging young people in the cities to vote. Banks lived with his family live in the Dallas area.

Banks passed away on April 11, 2016 at age 57.

Accession Number

A2004.216

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/26/2004

Last Name

Banks

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Friends School

Southfield Senior High School for the Arts and Technology

St. John Lutheran Church and School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Doug

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BAN02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/9/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Death Date

4/11/2016

Short Description

Radio personality Doug Banks (1958 - 2016 ) was the host of the syndicated, "The Doug Banks Show” on the ABC Radio Network. The show featured DeDe McGuire and CoCo Budda and Banks as the Urban Flava Creator, and boasted high ratings and millions of listeners nationwide. Banks passed away in Miami, Florida on April 11, 2016.

Employment

WDRQ Radio

KDAY

KFI Los Angeles

KLAV Las Vegas

KDIA Radio

WBMX Radio

WGCI Radio

ABC

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Doug Banks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Doug Banks lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Doug Banks describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Doug Banks talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Doug Banks talks about his parents' meeting and marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Doug Banks describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Doug Banks remembers Hoyt Fuller, his uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Doug Banks reminisces about his maternal grandmother's cooking

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Doug Banks recalls early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Doug Banks recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Doug Banks recalls the turmoil of the 1967 riots in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Doug Banks talks about growing up in a middle-class black neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Doug Banks describes his personality as a young man

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Doug Banks talks about his early childhood interest in radio

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Doug Banks remembers creating an imaginary friend during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Doug Banks talks about his television-watching habits

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Doug Banks recalls attending St. Johns and Friends School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Doug Banks describes his exposure to making radio as a student at Southfield High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Doug Banks recalls who he modeled his radio persona after and his first time on air

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Doug Banks recalls getting his first job in radio at sixteen

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Doug Banks remembers his radio program as a teen and reflects on what he has learned as a radio host over the years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Doug Banks talks about how his radio work affected his personal life and academics

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Doug Banks talks about getting into black radio broadcasting in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Doug Banks talks about why he left Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Doug Banks talks about the difference between black radio stations and white ones

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Doug Banks recalls his experience at KDAY-AM in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Doug Banks establishes a timeline of his early radio career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Doug Banks talks about replacing Bob Wall on the morning show at WGCI in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Doug Banks talks about his radio show on WGCI in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Doug Banks recalls the support Harold Washington received from black radio stations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Doug Banks recalls a surprise visit from Michael Jordan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Doug Banks shares good memories of his time at WGCI in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Doug Banks reflects on the fluctuating success of the radio business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Doug Banks reflects on managing success

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Doug Banks explains the political impact of talk radio on black stations

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Doug Banks talks about the producer for the 'Doug Banks Morning Show,' Harold Lee Rush

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Doug Banks talks about his reception among older disc jockeys in his early career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Doug Banks explains how broadcasters made money outside of their radio work

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Doug Banks talks about the evolution of black radio formats

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Doug Banks talks about the 'Doug Banks Morning Show' and trends in radio broadcasting

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Doug Banks talks about changes in radio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Doug Banks speculates about the future of radio personalities

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Doug Banks talks about his future radio plans and his children's perception of his career

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Doug Banks talks about keeping his radio personality relevant to younger listeners

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Doug Banks describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Doug Banks reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Doug Banks reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Doug Banks explains his approach toward child rearing

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Doug Banks talks about his relationship with his father

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Doug Banks describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Doug Banks considers his status as a national radio personality

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Doug Banks recalls the support Harold Washington received from black radio stations in Chicago, Illinois
Doug Banks describes his exposure to making radio as a student at Southfield High School in Detroit, Michigan
Transcript
What are some of the highlights of your stint in Chicago [Illinois] those six years?$$Oh my goodness. Oh man. There's so many. I think one of the, one of the greatest things ever is when Harold Washington was running for mayor the very first time, we were talking about you know the election and so on and so forth and my boss [HistoryMaker] Marv Dyson at the time called me he said, "Listen we're gonna invite Harold over for breakfast tomorrow morning." And we had him over for breakfast and we had a breakfast on the air. He was talking about his issues and what his vision for Chicago and so on and so forth. And it was a wonderful time. And of course he wanted to win. And then by the same token on the other hand one of the saddest days ever for me was the day that Harold Washington died because he would come on the radio with us. He had the number into the studio and you know in those days it was the, what they call it the council wars you know. Harold, Harold Washington had the foresight. He got all the black general managers together, Marv Dyson, oh geeze I forgot the guys' name who was running BMX [WBMX-FM; WVAZ-FM, Oak Park, Illinois] at the time, but he got all the general managers together, VON [WVON-AM, Berwyn, Illinois], BMX, [W]GCI [Chicago, Illinois] and because the city council was so volatile because of the, the thought of obviously you know as well as I know, the thought of having a black mayor of Chicago was so, so far out of the realm of thought that when Harold won and they knew you know okay we're gonna have to deal with this. But the [Edward] Vrdolyaks, the Ed Burkes, the Notarises [ph.], they all knew we're gonna do things our way. Harold wasn't gonna have that. So he very--a great--a stroke of genius came to all the general managers and said you know what I need, I need to have a microphone and a mixer and a way to get on the air. (Finger snap) Like that on the black station because these people with all the things that are going on and all the people that are against me something's gonna happen and black folks in this town are gonna tear this city up if they think something's gone wrong with me. And they put that, they put that line in his office so I don't think he ever had to use it except one time. Basically when he came on the air one time because there'd been some [city] council problems, he was like hey look I just wanna let you all know I'm all right, everything is fine. I mean it was that kind of power he had, especially with African Americans.$$Yeah he did. I mean it's really to be in Chicago in those days I mean those were really some powerful days.$$Yeah.$$I mean the community--$$Yeah.$$--came together in a way that it never had before.$$But I remember so well him saying he said to me one day on the air I said, "You know what, I have never in my life endorsed anybody openly, endorsed them on the radio." I said, "You are the first, but I believe that you are what the city needs." And he told me that morning on the air, he said, "[HistoryMaker] Doug [Banks], I thank you very much for that. But let me tell you something. I will be the mayor of this city for twenty years." And the following Monday morning because he died that Thanksgiving weekend. I remember that Monday morning coming on and I played that piece of tape back and I did, I said, "You know," I said, "what I just want everybody in the city to know that we have been cheated, we've been cheated out of twelve years" 'cause he was on his second term you know. But he was a remarkable man. So that, that's, that's a great memory for me in Chicago.$Okay. And so for high school you went on to Southfield [Michigan]?$$Southfield High School [Southfield, Michigan] where my radio career started. I started doing high school radio at fifteen and when I turned sixteen I actually got called by a station in Detroit [Michigan], ironically enough by a guy who I'm now on about four or five of his stations.$$Okay. So did you--now you're a sophomore you say you kind of stumbled up on a radio station you know?$$I did. I was studying. I was taking driver's training one summer and I saw the callers of the station were WSHJ[-FM, Southfield, Michigan], Southfield High Blue Jays that's what it stood for. And we--I was on my way to class one morning and I heard this noise coming out of there. So I thought well let me go in here and see what this is all about. I walked in there and it was a guy in there by the name of Bob Sneddon [Robert J. Sneddon]. He was the teacher but he was also a jockey. He had come from a station up in Flint [Michigan] called WTAC[-AM] and he was putting together the jingle package that the school board had actually given him money to go and buy. This radio station that he ran was probably one of the neatest radio stations you ever seen. Most high school radio stations are ten watts and you may be able to hear 'em in the cafeteria at lunch time. Our station was 250 watts. It was stereo. It had a contest budget. We even had a van that would drive around Southfield. I mean he was, he was really a great, great teacher. I, I give him all the credit in the world for my early days in radio. He really was an amazing man. He taught radio as if that's what you were doing in school. He taught it like you were there on a real radio station. It was not a high school radio station. It had jingles, network nude--excuse me network news from ABC. I mean it was amazing you know. It was, it was, it was a wonderful experience, it really was and it gave me the foundation for what I eventually went on to do.

La Donna Tittle

Radio personality LaDonna Tittle was born in Chicago. She attended Dunbar Vocational School in Chicago, graduating in 1964. She then attended Chicago State University, graduating in 1971 with a B.A. in art education and drama with a minor in journalism.

Tittle started her career in radio soon after college, working the midday and evening shifts on Chicago radio station WBEE the year she graduated. After a stint as a weekend radio personality for WNOV radio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tittle returned to Chicago in 1973 to work the midday and evening shifts for WBMX, where she showcased rhythm and blues songs.

Over the next three decades, Tittle made a name for herself not just on the airwaves of Chicago, but also as a model and an actress. She has done voiceover work in commercials for Kraft, Ameritech, Crisco Oil and Fashion Fair, and has acted in various religious and secular plays in Chicago, including productions for the city's Goodman and Steppenwolf theaters. She also appeared in the film The Relic .

Having served stints as an on-air personality for other Chicago radio stations, such as WJPC, WWHN, WNUA, and WGCI, Tittle is also a host and producer for the Web satellite radio station WGCR, which can be accessed in 294 countries. She is also pursuing a master's degree in art and communications from the Art Institute of Chicago. Tittle is the recipient of numerous public service awards, including the Operation PUSH Woman of the Year Award and the Black Radio Exclusive Air Personality Award.

Accession Number

A2003.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/17/2003

Last Name

Tittle

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School

Chicago State University

Harold Washington College

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

La Donna

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

TIT01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Bye. Chillin' In The Middle.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/13/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta, Frog Legs, Oysters, Ribs, Fried Chicken, Chitterlings

Short Description

Radio personality La Donna Tittle (1949 - ) worked as a radio personality for WNOV radio in Milwaukee, and the midday and evening shifts for WBMX, where she showcased rhythm and blues songs. Tittle also modeled, acted, and did voiceover work in commercials for Kraft, Ameritech, Crisco Oil and Fashion Fair.

Employment

WBEE Radio

WNOV Radio

WBMX Radio

WJPC Radio

WWHN Radio

WNUA Radio

WGCI Radio

WGCR Radio

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:5929,123:10780,205:14245,267:26170,395:55786,820:57919,855:59499,887:94900,1404:95220,1409:95780,1417:110784,1624:120018,1807:120666,1824:121233,1833:130824,1983:148175,2235:148798,2244:157370,2336$0,0:6808,179:10294,234:24576,409:25200,418:32142,548:35496,612:38616,678:46436,702:46846,711:47174,716:48486,736:49470,751:87377,1390:116500,1699:120585,1764:142670,2024:156648,2258:157358,2270:164813,2395:178296,2597:240920,3432:241459,3440:242383,3462:250500,3551:251424,3564:254300,3639:263340,3702:266220,3743
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of La Donna Tittle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - La Donna Tittle lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - La Donna Tittle describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - La Donna Tittle describes her parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - La Donna Tittle describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - La Donna Tittle describes visiting her grandfather on Chicago's North Side

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - La Donna Tittle describes her mother's occupation and her early exposure to radio disc jockeys

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - La Donna Tittle describes why her parents put her in Catholic school

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - La Donna Tittle describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - La Donna Tittle describes working as a candy girl at the Regal Theater

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - La Donna Tittle describes the role of the radio and music in her household as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - La Donna Tittle describes living in Robert Taylor Homes as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - La Donna Tittle describes what inspired her to pursue acting as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - La Donna Tittle talks about grade school and enrolling at Dunbar Vocational High School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - La Donna Tittle talks about her maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - La Donna Tittle describes the discipline of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - La Donna Tittle describes attending the funeral of Emmett Till

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - La Donna Tittle compares the demographic makeup of schools on Chicago's South Side

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - La Donna Tittle describes how the Civil Rights Movement impacted her as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - La Donna Tittle describes her experiences attending Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - La Donna Tittle talks about the teachers who influenced her as a student at Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - La Donna Tittle talks about mentoring students at Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - La Donna Tittle talks about urban renewal on Chicago's South Side

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - La Donna Tittle talks about becoming more politically aware as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - La Donna Tittle describes her experiences attending Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - La Donna Tittle describes working as a professional model as a student at Chicago State University

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - La Donna Tittle talks about getting married, attending Loop Junior College and becoming involved in the entertainment industry

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - La Donna Tittle describes working as a professional model in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - La Donna Tittle describes becoming involved in the Chicago theater and music scene in the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - La Donna Tittle describes how she became involved in the radio industry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - La Donna Tittle talks about her first job in radio at WBEE-AM and how the radio industry has evolved

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - La Donna Tittle talks about working at WBMX-FM and how radio stations get their licenses

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - La Donna Tittle describes the challenges of being a female radio disc jockey in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - La Donna Tittle talks about the rise of urban FM radio stations during the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - La Donna Tittle describes the effects of radio personalities joining unions in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - La Donna Tittle describes the impact of being hired as a radio personality at WJPC-AM in 1978

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - La Donna Tittle comments on radio syndication

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - La Donna Tittle reflects upon her experiences working for WJPC-AM

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - La Donna Tittle talks about Tom Joyner and his syndicated radio program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - La Donna Tittle talks about her voice

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - La Donna Tittle talks about the most distinct African American female voices in the radio industry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - La Donna Tittle talks about her radio and television personalities, and making appearances as a personality for WJPC-AM

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - La Donna Tittle describes her web satellite radio show

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - La Donna Tittle describes her experiences working as a radio personality for WJPC-AM

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - La Donna Tittle describes her experiences working as a radio personality for WBMX-FM

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - La Donna Tittle describes how radio stations gather news

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - La Donna Tittle describes how radio disc jockeys select and cue music

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - La Donna Tittle talks about memorable moments from her career, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - La Donna Tittle talks about memorable moments from her career, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - La Donna Tittle describes two of her iconic 'Jet' Magazine photo shoots

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - La Donna Tittle compares the work environments of WJPC-AM and WGCI-FM

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - La Donna Tittle talks about the consequences of automated radio

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - La Donna Tittle describes why HistoryMaker John H. Johnson sold WJPC-AM and FM, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - La Donna Tittle describes why HistoryMaker John H. Johnson sold WJPC-AM and FM, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - La Donna Tittle describes her date with Muhammad Ali

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - La Donna Tittle describes how she met HistoryMaker Melba Moore

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - La Donna Tittle describes seeing Muhammad Ali at a boat party with HistoryMaker Melba Moore

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - La Donna Tittle describes the lawsuit HistoryMaker John H. Johnson's brought against Ebony Talent Theater (ETA Creative Arts Foundation)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - La Donna Tittle talks about playing Susan Drake in "A Change is Gonna Come" for the ETA Creative Arts Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - La Donna Tittle talks about the Chicagoans who supported the production of "A Change is Gonna Come"

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - La Donna Tittle describes her role in the Bud Billiken Day Parade

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - La Donna Tittle talks about movies and television shows she has auditioned for and acted in

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - La Donna Tittle describes working on the film "Ali," in which she plays Drew Bundini Brown's landlady

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - La Donna Tittle names some of her theatrical roles

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - La Donna Tittle talks about the challenges of being an actress

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - La Donna Tittle shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - La Donna Tittle reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - La Donna Tittle talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - La Donna Tittle narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - La Donna Tittle narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$3

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
La Donna Tittle describes her date with Muhammad Ali
La Donna Tittle describes how she became involved in the radio industry
Transcript
Alright.$$Muhammad Ali was just getting his license back. So, I met him... I was walking my dog, King Solomon, who was an Afghan hound. And all of a sudden this guy comes driving down the street on 72nd Street, pulls over, gets out of his car and walks back to me; starts flirting, asks me could he take me out to dinner? He said that his name was Muhammad Ali, he was Cassius Clay. And I'm like, "Oh, yeah. You're that boxer, you know... yeah, that they're talking about. Yeah, I think you're right on, you know, don't fight in Vietnam," you know. I mean, he was a people's champion. And so, he asked me to dinner. And he picked me up, and we went to his apartment which was then on, was it Crandon? I think they had a place on Crandon, 69th and Crandon. And I went there, and before dinner got served I was sitting in the front room. And he started doing his little boxing steps in the middle of the floor, took off his pants, had on his boxer shorts. And he boxing, he was trying to wrestle me down to the floor. And I was like, "No, please don't do this. I don't want to wrestle," you know. And I just like felt... you know, but he was a gentleman, put back on his clothes and took me home. (Laughter). Gee whiz, I could have been one of the wives.$$Did he serve you dinner?$$I couldn't even remember eating, you know. (Laughter). I can't... I was just so taken. You know, I was like sitting there on the couch. And then all of a sudden, he was like, he decided to give me a show, you know, dancing around and boxing like this... "And I'm about to get my license back, and they don't think that I should be out in public." You know, so that's why I agreed to have dinner with him at his home, at his apartment, I should say. And it was Muslim there; it was a brother there, you know, who looked like his bodyguard or whatever.$$He was there the whole time you were sitting there?$$Yeah, he was... Well, no, he wasn't there watching or anything. He was like, whenever he summoned him to, you know, come do this or come do that, he came and did that. And of course, I think he did summon him to take me home, (Laughter) because I was a bad date. But, I was a good date. But that was, that was something that was unusual that happened while I was at Chicago State University [Chicago, Illinois]. Yeah so.$Let's see, where did we leave off at?$$Alright, we were... I need to ask you about how you got involved in radio? Now, you were modeling (unclear)?$$Yes, I was modeling. And I just happened to go up to my agency one day, which was Shirley Hamilton. They were in the Stone Container Building, right there at Wacker Drive and Michigan. And I was waiting on the elevator, and I saw these two little odd men standing there. And they came up to me and they complimented me on my looks and asked me, were curious as to what I did. And I told them that I was a professional model, because back then that was the word then. It wasn't an actress or whatever--it was professional model. And I told them that I'd just completed a course, just graduated from Chicago State University [Chicago, Illinois], that I was going to the Art Institute to get my master's in art, and that I had just gotten my certificate from Midwestern Broadcasting School [Chicago, Illinois]. So, they said, "Um, would you like to be on radio?" And I'm like, "Well, I don't know." You know, right then it's like traveling and modeling was the thing. I was in Mannequin Guild; we did all of the top fashion shows, Marshall Field's, the Ambassador Hotel, you know. Then, runway modeling was really big.$$Well, I guess it is now, too.$$Well, it still is, I should say.$$People are, you know--$$It's still is. I've just moved on to other things, you know. But, yeah, doing the automobile show, narrating and so forth. But those, it was just bigger, seems like, you know. So, they said, "Well, this is what you do. We have a radio station upstairs, WBEE." Marty Faye was on at the time, Merri Dee [HM] was on. And they said, "If you can find your way out to Harvey, Illinois, you can come out and there and start doing some of our public service announcements." I'm like, "Okay." Well, I didn't exactly jump right on it at the time. It wasn't until I was on an audition, a voice-over audition, and I met Merri Dee [HM], and she said she had worked at [W]BEE. And I said, "Oh, the general manager was saying, you know, if I could find my way out there, I could do, you know some voice-overs for public service announcements." So, she showed me the way how to get out there, because she worked out at that site. There was a broadcast site at 75 East Wacker Drive. Marty Faye was at that site. But the all the other jocks were out at the site in Harvey, Illinois, Markham so to speak, which was at 159th Street, right off the expressway. So, I went out there. And I started doing public service announcements, started learning the board and everything. And I was in my last semester at Chicago University. Well, by this time I had been working and going to college for like, now going on seven years. And my boyfriend used to tease me, "Are you going to become a professional student?" Well, I didn't mind, you know. I'm the kind of person, I like school. I enjoyed it; I enjoyed the atmosphere. It was like that's where all your friends were, you know. I just always liked... isn't that something? It's probably really geeky, but I like school. So, I'm like, the teacher tells me, she says, "You know, you only got a couple more credits and you can graduate." I'm like, "Really, I'm ready to graduate?" I couldn't believe it. So, that's when I got my degree. And the semester before I got my degree, Lawton Wilkerson, who was the program director at [W]BE[E], offered me a job. And I turned it down, because I wanted to get my degree. And after I graduated in January of '71' [1971], the spot came up again, and I took it. I took it, that's when I started on radio. Yeah, I took that job, and it just started... and the rest is history--

Pervis Spann

Born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, on August 16, 1932, Pervis Spann distinguished himself as a broadcaster, exposing generations to the blues.

Spann worked hard from an early age, caring for his mother after she suffered a stroke. At age 14, he managed the Dixie Theater, a local all-black theater. In 1949, he moved with his mother and sister to Battle Creek, Michigan. However, Spann soon left to work in Gary, Indiana. Spann enlisted in the Army toward the end of the Korean War. After completing his service, he moved to Chicago and settled down. He became interested in broadcasting and attended the Midway Television Institute and the Midwestern Broadcasting School on the G.I. Bill.

In the 1950s, Spann was granted a four-hour overnight time slot on WOPA. In 1960, he organized his first concert, showcasing B.B. King and Junior Parker. In 1963, Phil and Leonard Chess bought the radio station, which became WVON, a 24-hour blues station. Spann became the "all-night blues man." He gained notoriety with an on-air 87-hour "sleepless sit-in," raising money for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Spann widened his sphere of influence during the 1960s, and began managing talented performers such as B.B. King. He booked major acts, including the Jackson 5 and Aretha Franklin. Spann also owned several South Side clubs in Chicago, including the Burning Spear.

In 1975, WVON was sold and changed frequency. Forming a business syndicate with Vernon Jarrett and Wesley South, Spann bought the license to the original frequency in 1979. Listeners to the new station, WXOL, heard an all-blues format and many of the same voices from the old WVON. The station reclaimed the old call letters in 1983. In the 1980s, Spann added another station to his radio empire, WXSS in Memphis. He later sold this station. His focus then turned to building WVON, with his daughter, Melody Spann Cooper, at the helm. He continues his career promoting the blues as the co-host of the popular cable t.v. program "Blues and More."

Accession Number

A2002.010

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

2/8/2002

Last Name

Spann

Maker Category
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Pervis

Birth City, State, Country

Itta Bena

HM ID

SPA01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Good blues to you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/16/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Broadcast chief executive and radio personality Pervis Spann (1932 - ) was the "all-night blues man" for WVON in the 1960s. Spann later bought the station with Vernon Jarrett and Wesley South. Spann was also a promoter, manager and club owner working with the likes of B.B. King, the Jackson 5, and Aretha Franklin.

Employment

Dixie Theater

WOPA Radio

WVON Radio

WXOL Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:340,10:612,15:1768,56:31247,304:31856,312:35988,342:37260,357:40834,364:41402,373:41828,380:43812,393:64844,583:84647,730:91223,785:92291,799:100228,861:110998,970:111613,976:121832,1150:138040,1343:140844,1368:141208,1382:147030,1466:163366,1632:164950,1671:181895,1961:184631,1972:186560,1990:187200,2000:187600,2006:187920,2011:189530,2016:196415,2093:196910,2099:197999,2113:198890,2129:211118,2296:221065,2400$0,0:335,9:603,14:1139,24:2144,42:5226,139:12690,180:13065,186:13440,192:14115,203:16274,222:17014,234:25080,369:25746,380:26338,389:28040,422:30704,481:31148,488:32406,514:42122,630:42862,641:45674,698:45970,703:55377,788:56590,793:56992,800:57528,810:57863,816:59471,842:62445,866:70765,954:71180,960:71678,967:76936,1036:79081,1100
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Pervis Spann interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Pervis Spann lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Pervis Spann talks about his parents and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Pervis Spann talks about growing up in Itta Bena, Mississippi in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Pervis Spann talks about meeting entertainer Tex Ritter

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Pervis Spann recalls his personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Pervis Spann shares a story about being a job foreman at age sixteen

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Pervis Spann recalls the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood in Itta Bena, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Pervis Spann details influential Southern radio programs from his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Pervis Spann offers impressions of the South of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Pervis Spann talks about his job as a youth and his move to Battle Creek, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Pervis Spann talks about his move to Gary, Indiana and his work in the steel mills with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Pervis Spann recalls his military service during the Korean War

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Pervis Spann details his education at the Midway Television Institute in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Pervis Spann reflects on his enduring love for his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Pervis Spann details his early days in radio broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Pervis Spann talks about Al Benson and his years at WOPA radio in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Pervis Spann discusses his arrangement broadcasting on WOPA and WVON radio simultaneously

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Pervis Spann shares anecdotes about the radio business in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Pervis Spann recalls his start in the concert promoting business in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Pervis Spann details his falling out with concert promoter and business partner, Big Bill Hill

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Pervis Spann talks about his relationship with WVON-AM's radio owner, Leonard Chess

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Pervis Spann talks briefly about promoting singer Sam Cooke's last concert

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Pervis Spann details his learning of the concert promoting business

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Pervis Spann shares stories about musicians he's promoted

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Pervis Spann recalls WVON-AM prmotions and events during the 1970s and 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Pervis Spann talks about WVON-AM's promotion of 'The Good Guys'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Pervis Spann talks briefly about the risks of concert promotion

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Pervis Spann discusses briefly why he bought WVON-AM radio

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Pervis Spann shares stories about musicians he's promoted
Pervis Spann recalls WVON-AM prmotions and events during the 1970s and 1980s
Transcript
Let's say with some of the talent. Do you have, do you have a favorite like B. B. King story?$$(Laughs) I got one--Johnnie Taylor. I've got some B. B. Kings too. But, you know, Johnnie Taylor. You always got Johnny Taylor. Johnny Taylor--I had a show in Detroit, Michigan. And I had the Dells, the Howlin' Wolf and Johnnie Taylor. And with them, you have a constant battle about who is going to go on stage last. The Dells, or Johnnie Taylor. So what I did, I had planned on putting Howlin' Wolf on stage last. But I hadn't told nobody. 'Cause, you know, it's up to me to send them. So I sent the Howlin' Wolf up before the Dells and Johnnie Taylor. The Howlin' Wolf goes up and little do they know, that the Howlin' Wolf is more popular than either one of them. He's in that what you call underground blues circuit. And they got in there. So a creative genius--"The Howlin' Wolf!" And I brought him on that stage. And he came out on the stage. Every white person in there stood up when the Howlin' Wolf hit that stage. Every white--then the black folks started (laughs) looking around at them. All these white folks. Then they began to get up. "Well maybe these white folks got something going here." They began to get up. And the Howlin' Wolf, from the time he left that stage, everybody in the entire--I had 10,000 people there standing up with, "More! More! More!" Well, we gotta get them off the stage. I went back and I asked them other guys, I says, "Y'all sure you wanna go on?" (laughs) 'Cause everybody was standing up applauding, having fun. And after the Howlin' Wolf left the stage, the show was over. Who ever just went up, just went up. You know, just--The folks didn't pay them no attention no way. So that's the thing you got to look at when you're putting on a lot of shows. And take a lot of them old blues artists, you think, "This ain't nothing. We're gonna run over him." No. I've seen it happen too much. Too much. They wanna close the house down when people like the Wolf sing, Muddy Waters. Oh Muddy Waters, Muddy Waters. If Muddy Waters get up before you, you might as well not go on stage. 'Cause he done took the house. He done tore the house up. Muddy Waters will do that.$$Now what about James Brown? You have a famous James Brown story?$$No.$$No. You've known James Brown a long time.$$(Simultaneously) You've got enough.$So let's talk about the importance of the station [WVON-AM, Chicago, Illinois] during that period. Why was it--What was it doing that was important?$$Well, it was just doing what black folks thought it should do. It was playing the music folks and hearing the music that they wanted to here. They were dancing and--Herb Kent was giving all the hops and things every Friday and Saturday night. Herb Kent giving hops at different places. Pervis Spann and [E.] Rodney Jones were giving concerts all around. And then Rodney a lot of times would just do--I'd be doing something at the Regal [Theater, Chicago, Illinois]. Rodney would do a record hop on the West Side. We--the city [Chicago] was just opened up for whatever we were doing. You know, what really stopped the--stopped us from really doing all these things, through the radio station, that old music that they put out there. That old disco stuff. That old disco stuff. That killed the black record sales more or less. If they ever wanna tell the truth about it. If they don't wanna tell the truth about it, then go on back there.

Wesley South

Radio personality Wesley South was born to Dr. Elijah and Mayme South on March 23, 1914, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1924. South was educated in the Chicago public school system, graduating from Englewood High School.

During World War II, South served two years in the U.S. Army. After leaving the service, he enrolled at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. In 1951, he was hired by the Chicago Defender. In December of that year, he joined the editorial staff of Johnson Publishing Company, where he worked for nearly six years.

While working as a columnist doing public relations work for the NAACP in 1961, South was approached by a local radio executive who was afraid of being penalized by the Federation Communications Commission (FCC) for not having any African Americans on the air. The station executive asked South to host his own show. Then, in 1962, Leonard and Phil Chess of Chess Records bought the station and changed the call letters to WVON. Two years later, Wesley South's Hot Line began its sixteen-year run on WVON Radio. During that time, South interviewed such luminaries as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter; jazz great, Duke Ellington; baseball pioneer, Jackie Robinson; and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He became part owner of WVON Radio in 1979 and stayed in this capacity until the partnership dissolved.

South passed away on January 9, 2010 at the age of 95.

Accession Number

A2000.037

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/18/2000

Last Name

South

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School

Edmund Burke Elementary School

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Kennedy–King College

Northwestern University

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Wesley

Birth City, State, Country

Muskogee

HM ID

SOU01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/23/1914

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Death Date

1/9/2010

Short Description

Radio personality Wesley South (1914 - 2010 ) is the former host of the WVON radio talk show, On Target, in Chicago. On his show South interviewed such luminaries as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, jazz great Duke Ellington, baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Employment

Chicago Defender

Ebony Magazine

Johnson Publishing Company

Chicago American

WVON Radio

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wesley South interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wesley South's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wesley South talks about his family's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wesley South discusses his parent's separation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wesley South remembers his grandparents, part I

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wesley South remembers his grandparents, part II

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wesley South talks about his aunt and uncle's accomplishments

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wesley South describes his father, part I

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wesley South describes his father, part II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wesley South remembers his mother, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses illness in the early 20th century

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wesley South remembers his mother, part II

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wesley South recounts his first experiences coming to Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wesley South discusses his school life, part I

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wesley South describes episodes from his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wesley South discusses his school life, part II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wesley South recalls his high school years

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses his occupational choices, part I

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses his occupational choices, part II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wesley South recounts his military experience

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wesley South recalls his travels abroad while in the Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wesley South remembers his grandfather's death

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wesley South recalls mistreatment at a military camp

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wesley South explains his decision to pursue journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wesley South recalls the beginning of his career as a journalist

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wesley South discusses John Johnson's Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wesley South recounts episodes from his early career

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wesley South remembers prominent Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wesley South describes his history with John H. Johnson and 'Ebony' magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses his employment at the 'Chicago American'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses his beginnings in radio broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wesley South describes his business relationship with Fred Wall

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wesley South describes his dealings with Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wesley South recalls collaborating with investors to gain ownership of WVON

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wesley South talks about WVON's move to an all-talk format

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses his involvement in an associate judge election

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wesley South recalls how he and Manford Byrd convinced Harold Washington to run for mayor

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wesley South remembers his relationship with Jesse Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wesley South begins a story about the death of Medgar Evers

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wesley South explains how the death of Medgar Evers exemplified talk radio's importance

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses the influence and legacy of WVON

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses economic disparity in the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wesley South shares his opinions on social problems in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wesley South discusses Clarence Thomas's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wesley South considers his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Wesley South considers how his grandfather would have reacted to his career success

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - Wesley South in a publicity photo

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo - Wesley South with others

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo - Wesley South in a publicity photo

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo - Wesley South in a publicity photo

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo - Wesley South and others outside a storefront

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo - Rev. Jesse Jackson, ca. 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo - Funeral ceremonies for unknown person

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo - Wesley South with prominent Chicago political figures

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo - Wesley South with youths in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination, April 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo - Wesley South with Elijah Muhammad, 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo - Wesley South with children on a field trip to WVON, ca. 1986

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Photo - Wesley South's autographed portrait of Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago, Illinois, 1985

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Photo - Publicity photo of Wesley South, ca. 1988

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Photo - Wesley South with Senator Carol Moseley Braun at a community meeting, Chicago, Illinois, 1996

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Photo - Wesley South outside of WVON studios, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1992

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Photo - A parade down Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Wesley South with WVON executive Bernadine Washington and Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, 1966

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Wesley South receives an award from an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. representative, Chicago, Illinois, 1992

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Wesley South in a portrait taken at The Blue Note nightclub, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1960

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Portrait of Wesley South taken in Broadview, Illinois, 1992

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Wesley South with other Chicago, Illinois figures during his campaign for U.S. Congress, Springfield, Illinois, 1968

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Wesley South and others at a celebration of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas celebration, 1954

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Wesley South observes unrest after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Woodlawn area, Chicago, Illinois, 1968

Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Photo - Portrait of Wesley South, ca. 1963

Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Photo - Wesley South with Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, 1952

Tape: 8 Story: 15 - Photo - Wesley South with his daughter, his assistant and Mr. and Mrs. Neil Hartigan, Chicago, Illinois, 1992

Tape: 8 Story: 16 - Photo - Wesley and Mildred South with 'Cadillac' Al Johnson at an Operation PUSH/Breadbasket fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 17 - Photo - Wesley South with assistant campaign manager, Jim Hutchinson, at a fundraiser during his bid for U.S. Congress, 1968

Tape: 8 Story: 18 - Photo - Wesley South with Muhammad Ali, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 19 - Photo - Wesley South with American artists in a cultural exchange program at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, 1966

Tape: 8 Story: 20 - Photo - Wesley South with family members at Christmas, 1967

Tape: 8 Story: 21 - Photo - Wesley South and others celebrate the Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision, cover of 'Crisis,' magazine, 1979

Tape: 8 Story: 22 - Photo - 'The Atlanta Journal' article on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral procession, Atlanta, Georgia, 1968

Tape: 8 Story: 23 - Photo - Wesley South with then-Chicago, Illinois 8th ward alderman, William Cousins, 1968

Richard Pegue

Richard Pegue was born on July 29, 1943, in Chicago to a beautician and a policeman. His father died in the line of duty when he was only two years old. Pegue would go on to develop a strong career in radio.

This career began at age eleven, when Pegue's grandmother gave him a reel-to-reel tape recorder for his birthday. By sixteen, he was using his recorder to D.J. at dances at South Side schools. He even formed a doo-wop group, the Belvederes, at Hirsch High School. After graduating in 1961, Pegue worked bagging groceries at Del Farm Foods and selling records at Met Music. While working both jobs, Pegue still found time to attend radio broadcasting classes at Columbia College.

Pegue continued performing doo-wop with a group called the Norvells. In 1965, Pegue wrote and produced “I’m Not Ready to Settle Down.” Performed by the Cheers, the song still enjoys radio airplay today. In 1968, he became the music director at WVON Radio. When WVON was sold in 1975, Pegue found work at various radio stations in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, including WOPA and WGCI, where he worked as a program director and fill-in disc jockey. In 1987, he returned to WGCI and facilitated a popular format change to urban oldies, or dusties. He stayed with the station for thirteen years. Then in 1993, Pegue began appearing every friday at a Chicago dance club called Taste Entertainment, where he developed a following. In 1996, Pegue attended a movie theater with his wife, Sevina, and suffered a stroke. He spent six months recovering before recovering enough to work. In 2000, Pegue returned to WVON to spin his favorite tunes.

Pegue passed away on March 3, 2009 at the age of 66.

Accession Number

A2002.011

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/24/2002

Last Name

Pegue

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Frank L. Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School

Paul Cornell Elementary School

Hirsch Metropolitan High School

Kennedy–King College

Columbia College Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PEG01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Negril, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

The best music of your life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/29/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grits, Oatmeal

Death Date

3/3/2009

Short Description

Radio personality and radio program director Richard Pegue (1943 - 2009 ) became the music director at WVON Radio in 1968. When WVON was sold in 1975, Pegue went to WGCI, where he worked as a program director and fill-in disc jockey. In 1993, Pegue began appearing every Friday at a Chicago dance club called Taste Entertainment, where he developed a following. Pegue also wrote and produced “I’m Not Ready to Settle Down” which still enjoys regular air play.

Employment

Belvederes, The

Delete

Del Farm Grocery Store

Met Music record store

WVON Radio

WOPA

WJPC Radio

WGCI Radio

WBEE Radio

REPCOM Advertising (his own company)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard Pegue interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard Pegue's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard Pegue remembers his parents and family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard Pegue recalls early childhood memories of the South Side of Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard Pegue remembers listening to radio as a child, including Chicago disc jockey Al Benson

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard Pegue talks about his family's move to a majority-white neighborhood in Chicago in 1951

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard Pegue talks about his passion for science fiction

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard Pegue looks back on getting a tape recorder at age eleven as an important life event

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard Pegue recalls his band "The Belvederes" in grammar and high school

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard Pegue reminisces about the popularity of doo-wop music

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard Pegue comments on the explosion of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers in 1955

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard Pegue talks about changes in pop music and recalls music of the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard Pegue unravels the changes in WVON's radio dial numbers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard Pegue recalls popular WGES radio DJs and his band's performances at parties and school events

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard Pegue remembers DJing at parties as a teen and describes how street DJs emulated radio DJs

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard Pegue analyzes the relationship between disc jockey and audience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard Pegue remembers working at Maurie Alpert's Met Music store and Penny Record label

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard Pegue talks about attending Columbia College in Chicago during the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard Pegue recalls helping at WBEE radio station on weekends as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard Pegue talks about his favorite music groups in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard Pegue remembers meeting Leonard Chess and Herb Kent in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard Pegue compares the Chicago sound with other distinctive regional R&B styles

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard Pegue praises Sam Cooke's business acumen and discusses music publishing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard Pegue lists fellow members of the Belvederes and Norvells and recalls the wild dance moves of The Vibrations

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard Pegue praises Berry Gordy's mass-merchandising concept and wishes Chicago label owners had had his ability

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard Pegue discusses how WVON and Chess Records handled the conflict of interest issue over having the same owner

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard Pegue analyzes how WVON's black, "down home" image made it the number one radio station in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard Pegue talks about crazy promotions at WVON radio, Chicago, in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard Pegue talks about his relationship with Herb Kent and others at WVON

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard Pegue recalls Leonard Chess and his relationship with black employees and artists

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard Pegue talks about Pervis Spann's entrepreneurship in concert booking and clubs

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard Pegue sums up the ups and downs of WVON

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard Pegue tells about commercial jingles he produced

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard Pegue explains his 1981 move from WJPC to Program Director at WGCI

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard Pegue talks about Taste Entertainment's dance parties

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Richard Pegue defines "dusties" and talks about his love for older music

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard Pegue recalls his experience as a performer and arranger and the influence of Johnny Pate

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard Pegue regrets the loss of the personal element in black radio

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Richard Pegue remembers meeting Leonard Chess and Herb Kent in the 1960s
Richard Pegue analyzes how WVON's black, "down home" image made it the number one radio station in Chicago
Transcript
Okay let's talk about how you got introduced to Leonard Chess [originally Lezjor Czyz, of Chess Records, Chicago, Illinois]. And you said that you know, the owner of--Maurie Alpert--$$(Simultaneously) Um-hmm.$$Actually introduced you. And was that a case of--Did that have--I know that's been--Well anyway how did that come about? What--Did he come into the record shop?$$Oh no. I would sometimes go to Leonard's base of operation at Chess Records to pick up records for the record shop [Maurie Alpert's Met Music, where Pegue worked]. So I would pick up from the manufacturer, bypassing the distributor and the records going directly to our retail outlet. Because they were friends. Now you get that picture? And during the course of events, I met Leonard. And I said, "Maurie why don't you talk to him? He got this radio station WVON. I can do that." And he did. And I did. That's how we got started. Now, on the way I met Herb Kent. Because Herb was playing our record in 1965. That same hit 'I'm Not Ready to Settle Down' [written and produced by Pegue] So I brought the group [Little Ben and the Cheers] by the radio station. I'm a big-time promoter, right? I brought the group by the radio station and I had met Herb. And a year later he stopped at the record shop, because he was looking for some records that we had. A year later [1967], Herb asked me to come work at his record shop [and dance party hall] at 'Times Square' on 49th [Street] and Wabash [Avenue]. And so I did. Not knowing that a year and-a-half later, I would be working at the radio station. And so I did. The irony is in 1981, early '82 [1982], I hired Herb to work at WGCI [FM radio, Chicago, Illinois], where I was program director. So I worked for him, he worked for me.$$Now talk about Herb in those days. What, you know--'Cause that was--he was, he was, he--had sort of created the characters, 'The Wahoo Man' and--$$(Simultaneously) 'The Wahoo', 'The Gym Shoe Creeper' and all of his cast of characters and the 'Electric Crazy People' totally amusing--amusing to us. There was nothing on the air like it. And even though there weren't that many installments, they did a lot. It wasn't a new one everyday. But you could hear them and always crack up with whatever was funny. I mean even if you heard the same script twenty, thirty times, it was still funny. It never wore out. He was a genius at putting that, that stuff together at that time.$$And talk about the sock hops. Because people--a lot of kids came out to those sock hops right? Were they just--they weren't mainly ki--right? They were--$$(Simultaneously) We were all grown up at eighteen and nineteen.$$(Simultaneously) Okay. So okay (laughing).$$At seventeen and--$$(Simultaneously) Okay (Laughing).$$Sixteen.$$(Simultaneously) (Laughing).$$Weren't you? Yes you were.$$(Simultaneously) (Laughing) I'm sorry.$$All right?$$(Laughing) Okay.$$(Simultaneously) So there we were--and you know? When people weren't killing each other, it was a far better time for us. Everybody had a good time when you didn't have to worry about your safety. And the music was so vibrant at the time. It was--the same way the younger generation reacts to rap [music] now. That was us thirty, forty years ago.$Now I want to talk about the WVON [AM radio, Chicago, Illinois] of that day and what, you know, made it so unique. And that's what I'll ask. What made it so unique? I mean you had these personalities. It was twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, right? That was--$$(Simultaneously) That was the number one thing. Always there. We never had with the exception of WYNR [AM radio, Chicago, Illinois], here we go back to 1390 again. WYNR was a full-staffed 24-hour operation as I remember. So they were one step ahead of WVON. But the composition of WYNR was not "down home." This is Chicago. This is "Upper Mississippi" and Leonard Chess [owner of WVON] knew it. 'VON came up in competition to WYNR with good old down home radio. Polished and glossed with the Top Forty format of the time. And 'VON won. It was definitely black. It was no pretense of being gray. It was, "This is a black radio station. Here is Muddy Waters, not Clear Waters, but Muddy Waters." Clear Waters, a great artist too. Okay but it was really black and we were going to say--they were because I wasn't there then. They were going to save black folks. And they did. [Moses Lindberg] 'Lucky' Cordell has more of the story on that. Because he was there almost upon creation of that product. I came in later [1968]. The whole station only existed in that form from 1963-64 [1964] until 1975. About twelve, thirteen years, for the life of that one station that had as much impact to get to be the number one radio station in Chicago overall with the other top forties at the time, WCFL [AM radio, Chicago, Illinois] and WLS [AM radio, Chicago, Illinois] battling each other. But 'VON coming up the middle and becoming the number one station. Short lived but true.