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Herb Kent

Born on October 5, 1928, Herb Kent was raised on Chicago's South Side, where he received early musical inspiration from the rhythm & blues clubs that dotted his neighborhood. Often, he stood outside the windows of these clubs listening to the tunes being played inside. As a young teen, he became involved in drama workshops and studied classical music at Hyde Park High School. By age sixteen, Kent had already given an on-air performance on Chicago's prestigious WBEZ Radio station with his workshop. The year was 1944, and Kent's passion for radio was solidified.

During the remainder of the decade, he continued to participate in workshops, particularly with the Skyloft Players, a local theater company. He built scenery and performed in the ensemble along with the other players for several years. The theater was a perfect testing ground for the improvisational skill required to host a radio program, and in this environment Kent excelled. Finally, in 1952 he was given a salaried position as an on-air radio personality with WGES Radio, where he hosted a one-hour country and western show. He developed a distinctive on-air style and, with it, a substantial fan base. After three years with the station, he moved on to the Head Announcer position at WBEE Radio.

Throughout the following two decades, Kent hosted radio shows on several stations in Chicago. Though each station had a platform and a format of its own. Kent's style of humor, critique, and banter was immediately recognizable to his loyal listeners, no matter what station broadcast his shows. One of his most iconic stints was with WVON Radio between 1962 and 1970. Many members of the broadcasting community have stated that Kent greatly helped to launch the careers of such R&B artists as The Temptations, Minnie Ripperton, Curtis Mayfield, and Smokey Robinson because of his enthusiastic, on-air embrace of their music. During his broadcast on WVON, Kent became widely known as the "Voice of the People" for Chicago's South Side, the spokesperson for local African America. He became known widely as "Herb Kent, the Cool Gent", and even served as producer for an R&B group named The Cool Gents.

During the 1960s, Kent also became known as a prominent Civil Rights activist because of his outspoken views on the lack of social and economic equality in America. For several years, he broadcasted his WVON show live from a different high school each week so that he could provide community youth with an alternative to the typical Friday night activities. After his retirement, he continued his work with community leaders to create programs that provided a productive environment for South Side youth.

A few of Herb Kent's many awards and recognitions include his 1995 induction into the Museum of Broadcast Communications Radio Hall of Fame. In 1996, Kent witnessed the official dedication of a street on Chicago's South Side in his honor: "Herb Kent Drive". He was also recognized by the dedication of a United States postal stamp bearing his image which was included in the 1998 "Golden Days of Radio" series. The following year, Herb Kent was named the Honorary Mayor of Bronzeville by the citizens of that South Side community.

At the time of the interview, Kent was a columnist at N'Digo Magazine, the Chicago-based African American periodical.

Kent passed away on October 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2000.026

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

2/15/2000

Last Name

Kent

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Hyde Park Academy High School

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Herb

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

KEN02

Favorite Season

October, Indian Summer

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/5/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Beans, Rice

Death Date

10/23/2016

Short Description

Radio personality Herb Kent (1928 - 2016 ) also known as "The Cool Gent," was a radio broadcasting legend for WVON in Chicago. Kent has worked within many radio formats but no matter the platform, Kent's style of humor, critique, and banter was immediately recognizable to his loyal listeners. Herb Kent also became known as a prominent Civil Rights activist because of his outspoken views on the lack of social and economic equality in America.

Employment

WGES Radio

WBEE Radio

WVON Radio

N'DIGO

WHFC Radio

Main Sponsor
Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Herb Kent's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herb Kent remembers living with his mother as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herb Kent talks about going to school in a white environment

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herb Kent discusses his early interest in radio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herb Kent talks about growing up in Chicago's Ida B. Wells housing project

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herb Kent describes his personality as a child and teenager

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herb Kent discusses his family's background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herb Kent does not know the details of his family's background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herb Kent describes his inspiration to have a career in radio broadcasting

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Herb Kent talks about being discouraged from pursuing a career in classical music radio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herb Kent discusses racial conflict and cultural differences between blacks and whites

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herb Kent talks about the racial climate of Chicago in his early years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herb Kent discusses the importance of a college degree

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herb Kent describes his first jobs in the radio business

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herb Kent talks about the influence of Al Benson and other African American disc jockeys

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herb Kent talks about selling airtime and ratings competition in black radio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herb Kent discusses working with disc jockeys Al Benson and Sam Evans

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herb Kent details his first airtime on black radio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herb Kent talks about his public image in his early radio days

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herb Kent talks about working at WGES with disc jockey Sam Evans

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herb Kent talks about the popularity of African American disc jockeys in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herb Kent describes the differences between WBEE and WGES

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herb Kent discusses the work environment at WBEE

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herb Kent talks about how he helped various doo-wop and R&B music groups

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herb Kent talks about the popularity of doo-wop and R&B during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herb Kent talks about the relationship between disc jockeys and musicians

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herb Kent discusses his firing from WBEE

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herb Kent shares a light moment with his boss and discusses his success at WJOB

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herb Kent discusses the changing definitions of rock and roll

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herb Kent tells of his move to WHFC (WVON)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herb Kent discusses the success of Leonard Chess and WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herb Kent describes the work environment at WVON during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herb Kent talks about the impact of WVON on Chicago's African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herb Kent describes some of the characters he created at WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herb Kent talks about other black disc jockeys in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herb Kent talks about the decline of WVON in the early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herb Kent talks about changing his style to fit the FM radio market

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herb Kent discusses limitations for blacks in the radio industry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herb Kent talks about his newfound appeal at Chicago's WVAZ radio station

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herb Kent discusses his popular appeal

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herb Kent talks about working in television

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herb Kent talks about his role in popularizing the Chicago dance style called "steppin'"

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herb Kent discusses his future aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Herb Kent describes what he wants his legacy to be

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Herb Kent discusses his concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Herb Kent discusses the effect of radio conglomerates on the industry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herb Kent discusses the effect of technological advances on the radio industry

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herb Kent discusses his age and his popularity

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herb Kent briefly talks about what his mother thought of his success

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herb Kent talks about some of his favorite musical artists

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herb Kent talks about the impact of black music on society

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Herb Kent explains the impact of black disc jockeys

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Herb Kent remembers some of the influential black disc jockeys in Chicago

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Herb Kent discusses his early interest in radio
Herb Kent talks about the impact of WVON on Chicago's African American community
Transcript
So I had built radios, you know, at the age of fourteen, fifteen, built crystal radios so I heard about this radio guild after extra-curricular activities in school so I got in it. Now this was my first taste of racism in the school [Hyde Park High School, Chicago, Illinois]. When I got in it, the teacher--I'll never forget her name was Miss Clawson. She got mad at me because I said "tin" instead of "ten," which I, you know, I changed, but she said, "colored people say 'tin' instead of 'ten,'" and she probably dropped that class so we kept it. And there was a Jewish guy who was the president of it, and we would have--do little radio plays, and we had equipment that--we had a microphone and some speakers and turntables, and we'd put the speakers in one room, and we'd get in the other room and play radio, and we had--did radio shows and went to different places and did this, and then we would come from behind the screen and take a bow and stuff like that. Well, this Jewish guy was a little hard on them so the girls--they booted him out and made me president so there I was. I was president of this radio guild, and they loved me, and we had fun. Then I heard about auditions at WBEZ [Chicago, Illinois radio station], which at that time was at 42.5 megacycles or something. The whole FM channel was--had moved. They started it at a lower thing. In later years they moved it up to where [W]BEZ is now. What is it, 91.1 or something like that? They just shifted the whole spectrum. That's neither here nor there--but I auditioned and I won. They take two--they took two students from every high school in the city of Chicago so all these things--I'm the only black. I'm getting used to this. Sometimes I would feel intimidated; sometimes I wouldn't, and you know, when I got around everybody, it was fine, but I knew that there was racism all around me because you could feel it. It was in the headlines, you know. It's been there for a long time, and occasionally I would experience it in these different groups, but what we did was every Tuesday or Thursday at 7:00 or 7:30 spend two hours at WBEZ practicing, reading lines, practicing radio. It was a workshop, and we would criticize each other, and they had an instructor that was very good, that got my speech patterns together at fifteen or fourteen, and that helped me have the type of delivery that I have today, which is a good way to start. You know, to try to start to change your delivery at thirty years old is just almost an impossibility, although you could become a communicator, but to--just to have a great articulate way of speaking and breathing, it's good to start at an early age, and my mother had always corrected me at home. She didn't like to hear me use black terms or stuff like this. It's a wild story.$Now, it [WVON, Chicago, Illinois radio station] was a big deal here in Chicago, though. The fact that it was [on the air] twenty-four [hours playing black music]--it was a big deal.$$Oh, it was the biggest thing ever to hit. It really was. It--I think you had to be envious of the public service it did. It--we had our claws into everything that happened, and Chicago stations today want to be involved in the community. They do everything they can, but with WVON it was just the most magical thing I've ever seen. We were just a community station. We could tell folks to go sit on the steps of City Hall. There'd be five thousand of them there. We had a--we had contests we did. We were hooked up with the Black Power movement. We were instrumental in [Reverend] Jesse Jackson's rise to success. I think he was a country preacher. Rodney Jones [disc jockey] was the guy that noticed him. Rodney looked at him. He said "you see that young guy?" I said "what?" He said "he's gonna be the biggest biggest thing you have ever seen." Rodney had insight--that was our program director--that was--that was unique, and that certainly came--certainly came to pass, and we talked about Jesse and did a lot of stuff with him. I did a lot of stuff like bike [bicycle] rides. I had the first big bike ride that ever happened in Chicago. I did. We all were doing stuff like this 'cause it was such a community station, and I can't tell you how many thousands of bikes came out because ten-speed bikes were beginning to be real popular, and we had three or four of those. [disc jockey] Pervis Spann and Rodney Jones used to do shows at the Regal [Theatre, Chicago, Illinois]. They brought in the Temptations [R&B group] and the Miracles [R&B group]. Motown Records was cutting its teeth. We broke most of the Motown Records for the world right through WVON. If a record was to be big, it should have gone through WVON. The station was just that--just a powerhouse, just a powerhouse, and you know I could just go on and on and on about that station. It's just--just really great. It set standards that exist today. It's--let me tell you, I'll ask on my show--I work for V103 [Chicago radio station], and I'll say what's your favorite radio station? Invariably somebody will say "WVON," and it's amazing because when I talk to them, they regress all the way back to the--to the days 'cause here I'm playing maybe a song by the Whispers [R&B group] or something, and they think "yeah," and they're talking to me. "What's your favorite radio station?" "WVON--oh, oh, I mean V103." I say "that's okay." They don't--they don't--they never get after me about it. Sometimes we can edit that out. Sometimes we let it stay in. That station was so popular. Like when I want to talk about it, I just talk about it, and that's something you really don't do at a radio station, mention another one, but we're mentioning this one, and the fact that it was absolutely great, and it was the purveyor of what is happening, what is really happening today.$$What do you think made it special? Was it that it was community focused? Was it the time? Was it the personalities or was it just--it seemed like it was a big family, I mean that everyone was sort of like a family.$$Yeah, I guess so. We--we were the--it's hard to say why anything is number one or takes over. It's just really hard to disseminate it, you know. It just happened. It was family-oriented. The whole family listened. We had stuff for everybody. It was community and the preachers--the first time we really got a good foothold into the preachers--I remember Bishop [Louis Henry] Ford. I remember all those preachers, you know, and we gave them a good play at the station. They were with us. Like I say, Motown Records was breaking big. We had just played--the music was just phenomenal. I was doing record hops drawing thousands of kids, and Rodney was doing the Regal, and the other guys were doing things. We were out in the street. The station was just whatever you wanted a radio station to be, and I think stations today would do good to heed some of the things that we did. I like the idea of the personalities around the clock. I mean, you know, today you just got to listen to music. It's just so mechanized, you know, but it's a "catch-22." If you talk a lot, the other stations are playing music so if they play music, then--the people have been--I think have been brainwashed to want more music. When you talk too much, they'll complain. In the old days they didn't complain. They wanted to hear the disc jockeys talk about their experiences and talk stuff like that, but the whole format thing has just got so that the first thing that comes out of your mouth are your call letters, and then some stations would give you twenty seconds or thirty seconds to talk, and then you'd go into music, and this just kept on and on and on, so then the thing was more "music more often, more music more often," and that's what people want so this is still a "catch-22" to give--and I'm faced with that with what I do now. How can I give more music and yet be Herb Kent? So you have to learn how to talk, to compress what you say and try to be interesting in a shorter length of time because you just don't have the time that we use to have.

Hal Jackson

Born on November 3, 1914 in Charleston, South Carolina to Eugene Baron Jackson (a tailor) and Laura Rivers Jackson, Hal Jackson became one of the most important radio personalities of all time.

When Jackson was eight, his parents died within five months of each other. After living with his sisters and other relatives, he moved out on his own in 1928 - at the age of 13. Two years later, he moved north, settling in Washington, D.C. He attended Howard University, where his interests in sports and broadcasting grew. By the late 1930s, Jackson was an announcer for Howard University and Griffith Stadium.

In 1939, Jackson approached WINX in Washington, D.C. and proposed a radio show. Management flatly refused. Undeterred, Jackson purchased airtime through a wholesale buyer of radio. He interviewed pioneering African Americans during his talk and music program, highlighting achievements of the community. His show proved so popular that, within six months, Jackson was able to buy airtime and sell ads on three additional stations in different cities! Broadcasting live from each station, Jackson worked extremely long hours.

In the early 1940s, Jackson organized the Washington Bears. This black basketball team played against white local and professional teams and finished the 1942-43 season with a record of 66-0. He also began the Good Deed Club, which donated toys, money, books, and volunteers to hospitals and others. In the spring of 1949, Jackson's television variety show premiered. At the end of that year, he moved to New York with his radio show, "The House that Jack Built." By the mid-1950s, he was again working at multiple stations. As the first African American announcer on network radio, he attracted the largest radio audience in the world at that time. Jackson continued to succeed in television as well, hosting a Sunday morning children's show, Uncle Hal's Kids Show.

Through the years, Jackson's civic works became legendary. He used every opportunity to improve people's lives-from busing groups of underprivileged children to the Palisades Amusement Park, to establishing a scholarship fund for Howard University. He also began Hal Jackson's Talented Teens International, a scholarship competition that has impacted over 30,000 young women of color. Jackson used his position and popularity to agitate for civil rights and actively participated in numerous history-making events. The NAACP and the SCLC benefited from his fundraising efforts. In 1969, Jackson helped African American models gain recognition by hosting The Miss Black America Pageant. In 1971, Jackson and other African American entrepreneurs founded Inner City Broadcasting and bought stations all over the country.

Jackson has hosted "Sunday Classics," on New York radio station WBLS for over a decade. Jackson was the first African American inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame, and several U.S. Presidents have honored him with special achievement awards.

Bibliography:
Jackson, Hal. The House that Jack Built. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Hal Jackson passed away on May 23, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.007

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/5/2002

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Avery Normal Institute

DeWitt Clinton High School

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Hal

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

JAC02

Favorite Season

November

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

It Is Nice To Be Important, But It Is Important To Be Nice.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/3/1914

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Carribean, Jamaican Food

Death Date

5/23/2012

Short Description

Radio personality and sports promoter Hal Jackson (1914 - 2012 ) was a legendary presence on New York City radio stations for his work on many programs, including Sunday Classics on WBLS, which he hosted for more than a decade.

Employment

Howard University

Washington Bears

Miss Black America Pageant

Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

WBLS Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hal Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson describes his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson describes the deaths of both of his parents when he was eight years old

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson describes his relationships to his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson talks about attending Avery Normal Institute for elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes living on his own means as a teenager in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Hal Jackson describes his experience at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Hal Jackson describes his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson reflects upon his relationships with his older sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson describes getting his start in sports writing and announcing with Sam Lacey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson describes the first time he went on the air at WINX as a baseball announcer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson describes his early success in radio broadcasting, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson describes his early success in radio broadcasting, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes being a single parent to his daughter Jane

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson talks about meeting his second wife, Julia Hawkins

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes working with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson describes the popularity of his WINX sports show

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes his experience as owner of the Washington Bears basketball team, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Hal Jackson describes his experience as owner of the Washington Bears basketball team, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the athletes who played with the Washington Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson talks about why he left the Washington Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson talks about two times he almost became the first black baseball announcer for a professional team

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson talks about his influences in broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson talks about his experience with Richard Eaton at WOOK in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson talks about his community involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson reflects upon the importance of humility

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes organizing the union for his coworkers at WOOK in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson describes launching 'The House that Jack Built' on television in 1949

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson describes adapting to television from radio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson describes his experience working for WABC, WMCA, and WLIB

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the musicians he met while working at Birdland

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson describes his experiences living in Harlem, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson remembers broadcasting live from the funeral of Bill Bojangles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes his friendship with Rose Morgan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson describes working with Parks Sausage founder Henry Parks

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson recalls his Sunday morning children's television broadcast 'Uncle Hal's Kiddie Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson talks about returning to WLIB in 1955 and purchasing the station with Percy Sutton in 1971

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes launching WHUR-FM at Howard University in 1971

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Hal Jackson describes his friendship with United States Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Hal Jackson describes meeting Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Hal Jackson describes being suspended from WLIB during the Payola scandal in the late 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson describes radio personality Douglas "Jocko" Henderson

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson describes Alan Freed and the payola scandal in the late 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson describes his experience at the Palisades Amusement Park

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson talks about returning to radio after the payola scandal

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the acts he featured at the Palisades Amusement Park

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson talks about Motown Records founder Berry Gordy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson remembers his reaction to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes his involvement in creating a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson talks about hosting Miss Black America in 1969

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes starting his Talented Teen competition in 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson describes hosting the first Miss Black Teenage America program in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the winners and performers on his Talented Teens International show

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson talks about founding the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation with Percy Sutton in 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson talks about his current work with Talented Teens International and Inner City Broadcast Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes how it feels for him to get behind a microphone

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson reflects upon the progress of blacks in the communications industry during his lifetime

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson reflects upon how the communications industry enhanced his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson reflects upon his parents

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$10

DATitle
Hal Jackson describes the first time he went on the air at WINX as a baseball announcer
Hal Jackson describes his experience as owner of the Washington Bears basketball team, pt. 1
Transcript
And those were times when, you know, they would rent, they probably had, they had black days when they would rent out the [baseball] stadium, right?$$Yeah.$$For, for the teams [Negro League Baseball].$$Well, and that's when they made the big money. The regular team, which was in the American League, the Washington Senators, they would draw 3, 4,000, but when the blacks came in 32,000 and Satchel Paige and, you know, the, the blacks, the people, really turned out. And the whites turned out too for these black games and that's when it started going all around the country and I was anxious to, you know, broadcast the games and I ran around--A guy named C.C. Coley he was, he had barbecue places, about eight or ten (he was a black guy), and I spoke to him about if I got a thing going would he sponsor it. He said, You know I will," and, and that's why when I went into this WINX at 8th and I [Streets] and talk to them about it [in 1939]. You know and the guy calls everybody in and said "Can you imagine this 'N-----' talking about going on this radio." The Washington Post owned that station too by the way. And "none will ever go on this radio station." He, he called his people in. So, I went to wholesaler who buys time and nobody questioned him because he's bringing the station so much money as to what they were gonna put on. And I got Coley to give him the money and we got all set to go on the air. They didn't know what was going on. We sat outside the car. I had Dr. [Mary McLeod] Bethune out there. I had Dr. Charles Drew out there and, and, and when the time came we just went and went on the air and it took off so big that four days later Annapolis [Maryland] was calling me, Baltimore [Maryland] was calling wanting me to do the same kind of show there. So, there I am now and it started picking up. I said, "What is this?" I would do a wake-up show in Washington [D.C.], go to Annapolis because those were the days you couldn't pipe in like, you know, in Washington and talk to Annapolis. Go into Annapolis for two hours, go to Baltimore and do a little sports summary, and come back to Washington and do a four-three, so it, it was feast or famine. I was doing four radio shows a day and finishing about 12, 1 o'clock at night. But, it was inspirational. I felt good doing it.$Now, talk about how you got started as a, a basketball team owner.$$(Laughter) Well, you know I love sports so much and having played football, basketball, and baseball I, Sam and I, Sam Lacey--there was a place in Washington [D.C.], nothing. Blacks were not allowed to play in what was then the N.B.A. [National Basketball Association]. No black players. Okay, so I had always followed these, some of the guys played in New York on independent teams, and it was during the war [World War II] and they work at Grumman, Grumman Aircraft [Corporation], so they were exempt from the Service and I said to Sam, "You know what maybe we can put some kind of team" and Wa, Washington didn't have a team in what was then the N.B.A. So, I went to this beautiful arena, Uline, Mike Uline's arena [now the Washington Coliseum], and well he knew I was a sports writer. He didn't want me to knock it, he didn't really care, but I said, "How is it you don't let black people, you know, come here." "Oh, they're welcome, you come on in bring some people." But, then I would look up I'd be the only one there with my people. So, I asked him about playing basketball in his arena. Oh, no he couldn't have that, but it was an ice arena. They had hockey and all. Now, I said, "Well Washington don't have any team. I'm gonna put a team in Washington." "Where you gonna play?" I wrote to a guy named Joe Turner. He used to have a big arena [Turner's Arena] for wrestling and everything and I showed him, Sam and I, showed him how he could block it out and play basketball. And he said, "Oh yeah, so yeah, we said we'd do it." I brought the C.I.A.A. [Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association] there afterward, the--(unclear)--the col, black colleges they had no place and I'd bring them there for their tournament and everything. But, anyway I showed him how he could do it. Ahmet Ertegun, the, you know, was there with the Turkish embassy. He was in Washington and he would be there every Sunday with me. We played every Sunday afternoon and we played all of the teams that were in, what was then the NBA. We beat up everybody. It was unbelievable and packed 'em in. So, then the word got around so that-- in Chicago [Illinois] where they have the World's Championship, Frank Forbes who was one of the big men in Chicago went to the mayor and he said "You know they have a team in Washington, they got a team now it's not in the NBA, but we ought to invite them out here for the World's Championship Professional Basketball Tournament." It was something and they called me and they asked me because we had a record of like, I think we only lost two games out of like 80, 82 games. So, this guy Forbes said "Man you gotta do it." So, I went out, he took me to the mayor and the mayor says you know, "You think this team can compete." I said "Yeah." He said well we'll invite 'em out to the tournament [in 1943]. So, we got on the train. Mike Uline, no, the guy who owned in Washington all the, don't forget now all the theaters was segregated, and this guy owned oh about twelve black theaters and I made a deal with him. I said, "If you let me advertise on the screen about the teams and the games I'll put your name on the jerseys" and he said, "Great." He was a very, very good guy. And I said you got a deal, fine.

Vy Higginsen

Producer, author, playwright and radio personality, Vy Higginsen has been instrumental in making a place for minorities and women in the media and the arts. Higginsen was born in Harlem on November 16th, to a minister father and devout Christian mother. Even though her father died when she was an infant, the family continued their involvement in the church where a young Higginsen was profoundly influenced by its sights, sounds and vocal traditions.

Higginsen attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, believing that she wanted a career as a buyer. Not long after, she decided that the fashion industry was not for her and was hired by Ebony Magazine, becoming its first female sales representative. During her tenure there, Higginsen became increasingly interested in radio and enrolled at a school for broadcasting. The well-known radio personality Frankie Crocker recruited Higginsen to WBLS. She became the first woman on prime time radio. During this time, Higginsen also launched a lifestyle magazine, Unique NY.

It was while vacationing in the Caribbean that Higginsen and husband Ken Wydro developed the idea of writing a musical partially based on the life of Higginsen's sister, well-known African American singer Doris Troy. Debuting in 1983, Mama I Want To Sing, became the longest running black off-Broadway musical. Higginsen also co-wrote and produced Sing! Mama 2 and Born to Sing! Mama 3. As an author, Higginsen's published works include: Mama I Want to Sing, This is My Song, and The Positive Zone and Harlem Is.

Higginsen is presently studying for the ministry and serves as the CEO of the Mama Foundation for the Arts, an organization dedicated to the preservation of gospel music and black history.

Accession Number

A2001.036

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/16/2001

Last Name

Higginsen

Organizations
Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Vy

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

HIG01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: must cover travel and lodging expenses
Preferred Audience: All

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Esteban, Mexico

Favorite Quote

You lose some of the time what you go after. But you lose all the time what you don’t go after.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/17/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken (Curried)

Short Description

Stage producer and radio personality Vy Higginsen (1945 - ) became the first woman on prime time radio for WBLS. Higginsen also wrote, "Mama I Want To Sing," which, became the longest running black off-Broadway musical. As an author, Higginsen's published works include: "Mama I Want to Sing," "This is My Song," "The Positive Zone," and, "Harlem Is." Higginsen is also CEO and founder of the Mama Foundation for the Arts, an organization dedicated to the preservation of gospel music and black history.

Employment

Ebony Magazine

WBLS Radio

Unique New York!

Mama Foundation for the Arts

Favorite Color

Summer Colors

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vy Higginsen interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vy Higginsen states her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vy Higginsen talks about her father's family and the origins of her surname

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vy Higginsen explains the changes she made with her surname

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vy Higginsen talks about her mother's family origins

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vy Higginsen talks briefly about her mother's upbringing as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vy Higginsen names her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vy Higginsen remembers her childhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vy Higginsen recalls her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vy Higginsen lists the schools she attended throughout her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vy Higginsen details the building development occurring in her neighborhood in Harlem

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vy Higginsen talks about her experiences in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vy Higginsen recalls her religious upbringing and her spirituality today

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vy Higginsen discusses her sister, Doris Troy, and what influenced her during her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vy Higginsen details how she changed her career aspirations from fashion to radio broadcasting

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vy Higginsen describes how she ended up in radio broadcasting, Part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vy Higginsen describes how she ended up in radio broadcasting, Part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vy Higginsen details the effects of black radio in New York in the 1970s, Part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vy Higginsen details the impact of black radio in New York in the 1970s, Part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vy Higginsen recalls her first day broadcasting on WBLS-FM radio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vy Higginsen describes her first taste of celebrity

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vy Higginsen talks about radio broadcasting and her foray into magazine publishing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vy Higginsen details her transition from radio to television broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vy Higginsen recalls her first encounter with her future husband

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vy Higginsen recalls the creative process of her musical, 'Mama I Want to Sing'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vy Higginsen talks briefly about the growing interest in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vy Higginsen remembers the difficulty she encountered trying to stage, 'Mama I Want to Sing', Part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vy Higginsen remembers obstacles encountered in staging, 'Mama I Want to Sing', Part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vy Higginsen details how her family joined her in the theater business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vy Higginsen comments on her musical's imitators and her formula for success

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vy Higginsen talks about public response to 'Mama I Want to Sing', and establishing the Mama Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vy Higginsen comments on gospel music and the belief in prayer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vy Higginsen discusses the next phase of the Mama Foundation for the Arts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vy Higginsen posits on her mother's response to 'Mama I Want to Sing'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vy Higginsen expresses her fears the negative influences on black youth

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vy Higginsen reflects on her achievements and hopes for black America

Cecil Hale

Born on August 3, 1945, in St. Louis, Missouri, Cecil Hale has distinguished himself in the world of communications. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in 1966, he began his career in radio by working as an announcer and assistant general manager at WMPP in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Beginning in 1970, Hale worked at WVON in Chicago as an announcer, assistant program director, and assistant music director. He also recorded a show for national and international syndication. From 1973 to 1975, Hale expanded opportunities for minorities in the radio business as the president for the National Association of Television and Radio Artists. In 1975, he earned an M.A. in communication from The International University of Communications.

In 1977, Hale left WVON for Phonogram/Mercury Records Polygram. There, he promoted rhythm and blues for a year while he completed work on his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Union Institute. In 1979, he accepted a job as vice president at Capitol Records/E.M.I. but left in 1981 to found Hale Media Communications Consultancy. In his capacity as a consultant, he advised the Federal Republic of Nigeria about network television.

Always looking for new, rewarding opportunities, Hale began teaching broadcasting at the City College of San Francisco in 1984 and was awarded tenure. He also taught summer classes at Stanford University and was granted a fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. He spent eight years as General Manager for KCSF, a college radio station with a city-wide audience. Hale went back to being a student himself and completed a M.P.A. at Harvard University in 1995.

Hale's activities extend to a wide variety of civic organizations, including the American Bar Association, the Society for Values in Higher Education and the NAACP.

Accession Number

A2002.008

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/22/2002

Last Name

Hale

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

William Penn Elementary School

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Dunbar Magnet Middle School

Horace Mann High School

Southern Illinois University

I.U.C.

Union Institute & University

Harvard Kennedy School

Mann Arts and Science Middle School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Cecil

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

HAL01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Depends

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Depends

Georgia address:
1151 Carriage Trace Circle
Stone Mountain, GA 30058
(404) 992-6102

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii, Tokyo, Japan

Favorite Quote

Always with God all things are possible.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/3/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Dimsum, Sushi

Short Description

Corporate executive and radio personality Cecil Hale (1945 - ) was a former WVON (Chicago, Illinois) radio personality who later worked in the record industry as vice president at Capitol Records/E.M.I. Hale left the record industry in 1981 to found Hale Media Communications Consultancy. In his capacity as a consultant, he advised the Federal Republic of Nigeria about network television.

Employment

KOKY Little Rock

WMPP Radio

WNOV, Milwaukee, Wisc.

WVON Radio

Phonogram/Mercury Records/Polygram, Inc.

Capitol Records, Inc.

Hale Media/Communications Consultancy

San Francisco State Univ.,

City College of San Francisco

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of the Cecil Hale interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ceccil Hale lists his favorities

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cecil Hale talks about his mother and her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cecil Hale talks about his father and his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cecil Hale discusses his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cecil Hale recalls learning to read at a young age

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cecil Hale talks about how he came to live in Little Rock, Arkansas as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cecil Hale describes himself as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cecil Hale talks about his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cecil Hale talks about some of his mentors from the black community in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cecil Hale talks about his experiences in Boy Scouts

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Cecil Hale describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Cecil Hale talks about the subjects that interested him in school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cecil Hale talks about his shift in interest from medicine to radio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cecil Hale talks about his first experience in radio broadcasting as a teenager in Little Rock

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cecil Hale recalls his grandparents' reaction to his choice of a radio career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cecil Hale explains his college choice and his arrival at Southern Illinous University in 1963

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cecil Hale explains the appeal of W.E.B. DuBois's 'Souls of Black Folk'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cecil Hale describes his college years at Southern Illinois and memberhip in Alpha Phi Alpha

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cecil Hale describes being the target of a hate crime as a radio disc jockey in North Dakota

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cecil Hale recalls radio jobs and an FCC-sponsored master's program in the late 1960s-early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cecil Hale recalls how he came to work for WVON and its Milwaukee offshoot WNOV

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cecil Hale describes working for WVON in the late 1960s-early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cecil Hale talks about the Chess brothers' management of WVON

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cecil Hale describes the work environment at WVON

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cecil Hale talks about WVON's affiliation with Jesse Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cecil Hale talks about WVON's community and civil rights involvement and recalls official harassment

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cecil Hale discusses the investigation into payola in black radio in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cecil Hale recalls some of the major record companies of the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cecil Hale analyzes WVON's demise

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cecil Hale talks about the new WVON and the end of the old WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cecil Hale talks about his PhD and his career choices after radio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cecil Hale describes his work at Polygram Records

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cecil Hale talks about his work in A & R and producing for Capitol Records

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cecil Hale describes his work assisting Nigeria with its television system

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cecil Hales talks about the interim between Africa and starting his teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cecil Hale talks about starting his academic career

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cecil Hale talks about attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cecil Hale describes how the history of black radio can inform its future

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cecil Hale shares his mixed feelings about hip-hop

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cecil Hale talks about his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cecil Hale talks about his idea of his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Cecil Hale recalls how he came to work for WVON and its Milwaukee offshoot WNOV
Cecil Hale describes his work assisting Nigeria with its television system
Transcript
Okay, so--how did you get to WVON[-AM radio, Chicago, Illinois] though? You don't--you haven't answered that question.$$Yes. [sigh] When [1967] I started working [at WMPP] in Chicago Heights [Illinois] , the way that I got that job was that I also had an FCC first class license. Now back in those days that was a big deal. And I was very young and not too many--very few African-Americans had the license to begin with and certainly no one young. At that I could name almost all of us who had them. The guy who owned the station in Chicago Heights--that's another story--hired me because Roy Wood over at WVON had told him that he had met me. Roy Wood was also an Alpha [Phi Alpha]. That's how we first met each other. Roy Wood was a news man who was great. I met this guy. He hired me. And he hired me because he thought he could get four people in one. He'd get an announcer, he could get a sportscaster, he could get a newscaster and he could get an engineer all in one for the grand sum of $100.00 a week. And, of course, I would take it. It's like, "Yes, I'll take it." I mean what is $100.00 a week these days, maybe $300.00 a week? It's not... It wasn't that much money. But anyway, I worked at the station for a year and a half. The way I got to 'VON there--the guy who was doing mornings at 'VON, Joe Cobb, he and I had gone to high school together. It's funny how that works. He was doing mornings. I met him again in Chicago. He mentioned me to some people in the station which made them begin to listen to me. They heard me in Chicago Heights. They knew they were putting a new station [WNOV] together in Milwaukee and so they recruited me to come to the--for the new station in Milwaukee. After they hired me, there were four of us. We sat around 'VON for a month doing air shifts, doing production and all of this. They shipped us off to Milwaukee [1968]. I did middays there for the first--August--about the first nine months. And then I did mornings for the rest of my tenure there. And then... Oh, this is funny. During one of the periods, some stuff was happening at 'VON. I don't remember what. But Lucky--they shifted us back and forth all the time. [Moses Lindberg] 'Lucky' Cordell came to Milwaukee to do middays for about two weeks. And Lucky was making that drive every day. He would drive up early in the morning and be beat to death after the shift was over. So I would keep him awake in the car all the way back to Chicago. We developed a friendship. So after Lucky became General Manager and a lot of shifting took place, Lucky called me and said, "Little Brother, you ready to come home?" It's like, "Yes! I finally made it." There I was at 'VON [in 1970].$After that...$$[simultaneously] The African project.$$Yes. I wanted to ask you about that. That I found very interesting.$$Okay.$$So but how did that even come about then?$$All right. The way that it came about, there was a guy who worked for CBS News by the name of Randy Daniels. I had known him since I was at [W]VON. He also went to SIU [Southern Illinois University] in Carbondale. When he first came out of college, when he was looking for a job, we became friends. Because I was helping him out with jobs. Well years later, as he is now about to leave CBS, he has met quite a few influential people in Africa. Because he became bureau chief of the African bureau. He had heard about the Nigerian government wanting to improve its television system. One of the things to make that happen, and at that time Nigeria is very different than it is now. It had its first democratically elected government. [Shehu] Shagari was the president. They wanted us to come over and take a look at the network and see what was wrong with it. Why wasn't it, you know, functioning as well as it should? Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa. And at that time they were making unbelievable money from oil. But it didn't come through in terms of what was happening in terms of network programming. We went over. We spent a week there the first time just taking the system apart. Traveling all over Nigeria and really getting to understand the system. In the next piece of it, we came back and we gave them a proposal. Which they liked. So we came back and we began to offer consulting answers to some of the problems they were having with their network. And then ultimately, this is when I was no longer with the project, Daniels and a couple of other folks moved to Nigeria and were there for almost eight months training people. But that was the project. It was great.

Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie

"The music host who loves you most," Holmes Daddy-O Daylie was born on May 15, 1920, in Covington, Tennessee. His mother died tragically during childbirth and his father five years later. Holmes was then raised by his older brother, Clinton, and the family moved to Chicago's South Side when Holmes was a child. He attended John D. Shoop elementary and Morgan Park High schools. A talented athlete, after graduation Daylie played professional basketball with the Harlem Yankees and the Globetrotters. However, he soon tired of the lodging discrimination encountered while traveling across the country, and he returned to Chicago to begin a new career.

Affectionately called "Daddy-O" long before his entrance into radio, Daylie was known for his linguistic gymnastics and sense of humor. These qualities would prove to be the key to his success. Discovered in 1947 while working as a bartender in the Beige room of the Pershing hotel, famous disk jockey Dave Garroway was impressed by the artistic rhymes Daddy-O used while serving his clientele. On Garroway's suggestion, Daylie enrolled in radio school to refine his skills and, in 1948, Daddy-O's Jazz Patio made its debut on station WAIT.

Daddy-O's relaxed style and hip improvisational rhythmic monologues during the forty-five minute program were an instant success. In addition to introducing audiences to the innovative sounds of jazz, blues and swing music, Daylie used his program as a platform to further the cause of civil rights and to highlight other social maladies in African American communities. One of Daddy-O's proudest achievements was Operation Christmas Basket, which helped feed hungry Chicagoans during the holiday season.

After leaving WAIT, Daddy-O first joined the staff of WMAQ radio and then "The Voice for Equality" WAAF 950 AM. He retired in 1988. Daylie passed away February 6, 2003.

Accession Number

A2001.021

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/29/2001

Last Name

Daylie

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Morgan Park High School

John D. Shoop Math-Science Technical Academy

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Holmes

Birth City, State, Country

Covington

HM ID

DAY01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

There is always hope. When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/15/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Death Date

2/6/2003

Short Description

Radio personality Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie (1920 - 2003 ) was a radio disc jockey who introduced audiences to jazz, blues and swing while furthering the cause of civil rights. Working at WAIT, Daylie was known for his linguistic gymnastics, sense of humor, and hip improvisational rhythmic monologues.

Employment

Harlem Globetrotters International

WAIT Radio

WMAQ Radio

WAAF Radio

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie's favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about mementos of his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about returning to his childhood town

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his siblings and where they grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie continues to talk about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie recalls some of his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie briefly discusses the age of his brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about growing up on the outskirts of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his childhood interest in athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes playing professional sports as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains the difference between his basketball team and the Harlem Globetrotters

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes traveling to different towns on the professional baseball circuit

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes a typical year in his life as a professional athlete

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses what he learned from his experience as a professional athlete

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about leaving professional sports and starting a new job

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about working at the El Grotto Supper Club

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains what inspired him to be a radio disc jockey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about getting into radio school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes his first radio job

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses his lyrical and poetic ability

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains how bartending inspired his songwriting

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains how he got his nickname

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about some of his favorite musical performers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains why he tried not to have favorite artists and songs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about getting a radio show on WAIT

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the start of his WAIT radio show

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his first radio show on WAIT

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the early days of black radio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about participating in the Bud Billiken Parade

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his charity, Operation Christmas Basket

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie briefly talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about meeting comedian Redd Foxx

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie tells stories about dealing with Redd Foxx's colorful language

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about popularizing Redd Foxx's first record on his radio show

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie praises Redd Foxx's comedic talent

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie recalls a story about singer Dinah Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie tells the story of jazz singer Joe Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about finding new talent in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his community benefit radio shows

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about bringing top talent to benefit shows

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes the effects of his conflict with Chicago street gangs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie details his conflict with Chicago street gangs

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about organizing community sports leagues

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about buying a bowling alley with entrepreneur Jacoby Dickens

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the success of his bowling alley

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the start of his television show

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses his television show, 'For Blacks Only'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie expresses his anger about the actions of Chicago street gangs

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains the impact of Chicago street gangs on his business

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie briefly talks about living under the threat of gang violence

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the importance of education

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses his views on the "black music" label

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses the current state of radio and music

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses the future of the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie hopes his parents would have appreciated his success

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie signs off with his favorite saying

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie behind the bar at El Grotto

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at Operation Christmas Basket headquarters

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and his record collection

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with Nat "King" Cole

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with June Christy and Jack Tracy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and Eartha Kitt

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie on a promotional brochure

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Brochure for Daddy-O Daylie Fun Leagues [1964]

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie in a promotional photograph

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie's Operation Christmas Basket

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens, Daddy-O Daylie's business partner

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens with sponsors

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Photo - Members of a Daddy-O Fun League bowling team

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Photo - Members of a Daddy-O Fun League bowling team

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and Godfrey Cambridge

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and Nancy Wilson

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and LeRoy Winbush

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Photo - Cover of 'You're on the Air'

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at the turntables

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with friends in grammar school

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at WAIT

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at the Bud Billiken Parade

Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Warner Saunders

Tape: 9 Story: 13 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie on the back cover of his book

Tape: 9 Story: 14 - Photo - Ramsey Lewis Trio

Tape: 9 Story: 15 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie's daughter Patsy

Tape: 9 Story: 16 - Photo - Headline of bomb threat on ABC-7 in Chicago

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains what inspired him to be a radio disc jockey
Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie tells stories about dealing with Redd Foxx's colorful language
Transcript
Now when did you decide you were going to go to radio school? That's what we sort of missed along the way.$$Well, how it happened, there was a [radio] disc jockey, a very prominent, very popular disc jockey named Dave Garroway, and he was on NBC [National Broadcasting Company], WMAQ in Chicago [Illinois], and Dave came on, and he was popularizing--he was boosting [jazz singer] Sarah Vaughan. He would play Sarah's records and promoting her, and Sarah was working then at the old Rhumboogie [Club, Chicago, Illinois], which was just a little nightclub, and so I had never met Dave Garroway so one night I'm tending bar, flipping the ice, catching it in the glass, and saying my rhymes like a guy would come in and "say give me a Scotch." I'd say "Scotch and soda?" "Yeah." "Do you want to be great and drink it straight or do you want me to mix it or do you want to fix it?" You know, I'd be rhyming, and so Garroway came and sat at the bar, and I'm working the bar so I'd give a guy his drink, and he'd count his change, and I'd say "wait. Don't want you to leave here acting strange so watch me closely while I count your change," and I would count his change, and then I would palm the top dollar, see, and stick it down my collar. Then I would lean over with the dollar sticking out of my collar, and I would slide his change over to him, and he was "ha ha" and be fooled. I said "no, no, count your money because I don't want you leaving acting funny." "No, I'll count it." I said "count your money," and he would count "seven, eight, nine, seven, eight, ni--" and I said "see there? Don't holler. Here's your dollar sticking down my collar," and he would laugh and say "well, you keep it," you know, and that's how--so it was a fun thing with me so this guy's sitting there watching me, and he said "do you have a script or are these just some things that you say ad lib?" I said "I'm too hip for a script" so he said "you ought to be in radio," and I said--I never thought about it. I said "yeah." I don't know. I gave him some flip answer, and I'm working the bar because I worked alone at that time so Sarah was at the table with her husband and a party, and they got ready to leave so they came back, and she said "Daddy-O, do you know Dave Garroway," and I said "no, but we had a little session here" so they left, and about three weeks later I'm working, flipping the ice and doing my thing, and I heard this voice that said "well, I see that you don't have any ambition because you're still doing the same thing. You just want to be a bartender. That's the height of your ambition." And that hurt me so I didn't want him [Garroway] to know he got to me, but I started thinking, and there was a disc jockey on the air in our city who will remain nameless but who was not--well, he raped the King's English, let's put it this way. And so I said "hey, I'm better than he is." I had been listening to this guy all the time, but I never heard him. Then when Gabe said that, "I said I'm better than he is, and I'm not even on the air" so I said "okay." So I went and got the Yellow Pages [business telephone directory], and I thought I should get a book, look up public speaking.$See, I would always take shows out to the different hospitals and the sanitariums because I would get fan letters, and they would say "Daddy-O, you're always taking shows out to the hospital or this, that, and the other, or out to the prisons, and you don't do this" so I said "okay." Well, I took a show out to--whenever I would take shows out, whoever was in town out at the clubs I would always take out the best shows. I wouldn't go and get just local talent. I'd go to [Club] DeLisa [Chicago, Illinois] and get their stars and whoever at the Regal [Theatre, Chicago, Illinois]. I'd get their top stars and the Rhumboogie [Club, Chicago, Illinois] and the chorus and the band. I'd take out an all-star show. So we're out at Vaughn Hospital, [Edward] Hines [Jr Veteran's Hospital, Chicago, Illinois], but the Vaughn Unit, and so they had all, you know, the veterans that were paraplegics, and some of them were on the stretchers laying, and then some were in the basket, first time I ever seen a basket case, you know, where it's just--you look down, and there's this kid there with a big beautiful smile with no arms and no legs in a basket right in front of the stage, just so happy that you thought enough to bring him--. So--and the nuns and the nurses are around so Redd was on the show, and I had told Redd [Foxx, comedian] "now, Redd, you know you can't go out here using blue language. I don't want you up there cussing." And he said "oh, man, you know, I know how to act." So now there was the nurses and the nuns standing along, and Redd got out there and he said--I introduced him, and he said "Daddy-O Daylie, give him a nice hand. He'd get together and bring shows out here and get people out of bed and everything and come out here in the middle of the day like that when I should be sleeping and everything, and he then tried to tell me how to do my show, said I told that mother--ha, ha, see there? You thought I was gonna say mother--. Ha, ha, no, I ain't gonna say it." You know, he said "I know how to act, but it sure is difficult. Sister, would you mind plugging your ears up for a minute?" He just figured--he joked like he was going to cuss, and I was just perspiring because Redd--I didn't think Redd was--but he didn't say that. And then one time I had Redd, and we were at Robert's [Club, Chicago, Illinois] in the back in the parking lot. I had [Count] Basie's [pianist, composer, bandleader] band and Stanley Turrentine's [saxophonist, bandleader] group and Redd Fox. So he said--he came out on the stage, and he said--now remember, he's on 'Sanford and Son' [popular television show, 1972-1977]. Now all of these couldn't get into Robert's with--we had seats for 3,000 on the parking lot, and along the upstairs rooms they had sold the rooms in the outdoors, and it was packed. So we had a lot of people that came to see 'Sanford and Son,' brought their kids, their families, and their wives. So Redd came out, and he's got this cocaine (gestures at nose)--when he walked past me. I said "Redd, clean yourself up. You got that snow on you." And he went out there, and he said "all right now. All of you MF's, kiss my--." Right just "bam," and everybody sat up, and they started getting up and running with their children, leaving because it wasn't that good old [Fred] Sanford [lead character of 'Sanford and Son'], you know, that they had been seeing on the--well, Redd was something.

Lucky Cordell

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

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

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

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

Cordell passed away on September 6, 2015.

Accession Number

A2001.017

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

1/16/2002

Last Name

Cordell

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

James R. Doolittle, Jr. Elementary School

Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School

Radio Institute of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Lucky

Birth City, State, Country

Grenada

HM ID

COR01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/28/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chili, Chicken

Death Date

7/7/2015

Short Description

Radio personality Lucky Cordell (1928 - 2015 ) , affectionately known as “The Baron of Bounce,” Cordell was a disc jockey at WVON in Chicago becoming the program and music director in 1965 and the general manager in the late 1970s. Under his leadership, the station increased its ratings and almost doubled the income received from advertising.

Employment

United States Army

WGES Radio

WGRY radio station

WVON Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lucky Cordell interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell discusses his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell recounts an accident in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell discusses his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lucky Cordell remembers his childhood friends

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lucky Cordell shares memories from his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lucky Cordell recalls a dangerous encounter from his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lucky Cordell explains his nickname

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lucky Cordell remembers inspirational figures from his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lucky Cordell explains choosing a vocational education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell details his service in the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell describes his pursuit of a career in radio broadcasting

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell details his business relationship with radio personality Al Benson

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell explains his interest in radio broadcasting

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell remembers radio personality Al Benson

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell discusses radio personality Al Benson's career ascent

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell describes the radio industry in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell details the end of radio personality Al Benson's career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell discusses his radio career at WGRY in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell recalls his participation in the Skyloft Players theater troupe during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell describes his popularity in Gary, Indiana in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell talks about establishing his reputation as the 'Baron of Bounce' at WGRY in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell explains his transition from WGRY in Gary, Indiana to WGES in Chicago, Illinois in 1961

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell talks about the music and the disc jockeys on WGES in Chicago circa 1961

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell discusses leaving Chicago's WGES for Chicago's WVON in 1964

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell dicusses his relationship with Leonard Chess, owner of WVON and Chess Records

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell addresses the subject of working for a radio station owned by a record company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lucky Cordell shares an anecdote about a disc jockey named The Magnificent Montague

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lucky Cordell discusses his alliance with the disc jockeys during changes in WVON's ownership

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lucky Cordell talks about running afoul of advertisers at WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lucky Cordell describes the office environment during his stint as general manager at WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lucky Cordell explains why he was chosen to be general manager of WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Lucky Cordell dicusses the Black History Week programming that he produced at WVON

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lucky Cordell describes WVON station politics surrounding the management shift and disc jockey Joe Cobb

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lucky Cordell talks about WVON disc jockey Herb Kent's personality

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lucky Cordell relates an anecdote about WVON disc jockeys Herb Kent and E. Rodney Jones

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lucky Cordell talks about some of the WVON disc jockeys during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lucky Cordell talks about the nicknames used by the disc jockeys at WVON

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lucky Cordell discusses 'The Black History Series' he produced

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lucky Cordell discusses a CHA radio project he worked on with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington after leaving WVON

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lucky Cordell talks about his affiliation with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Operation PUSH

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lucky Cordell discusses changes in black radio from his career through the present

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Lucky Cordell details his business relationship with radio personality Al Benson
Lucky Cordell relates an anecdote about WVON disc jockeys Herb Kent and E. Rodney Jones
Transcript
I went to Al Benson who gave me a job. It was an Al Benson production and Lucky Cordell show. And I started with I think it was fifteen minutes, or half-hour or something. It was a short amount of time. And he put Tom Duncan--Tom Duncan and I like at each other. It was like these two young men wanna be disk jockeys on the Al Benson program. Now you send in, I don't know, bottle caps or something. I think it was Budweiser beer or something. But he had the audience voting for us by sending in these labels. And so now the thing is the label of the beer, whatever it was wasn't selling good. So he was very smart. He was smart enough to say, how can I jack up the sales? So he didn't care if I had my family and friends go out and buy tons of the stuff. You know, he didn't care. All he wanted was the response. So I won that. I became the disk jockey. Then I got a half-hour with him. Finally got an hour with him. And I'd say to him, "Mr. Benson I'd really like to get some sponsors." So he says, "You're not ready yet." So I was asking, "Can I go out and sell." You know. 'Cause I knew that's where the money was. Every time I'd ask him, he'd say, "You're not ready." I saying to myself, how do I get ready? So he had a newspaper. And he said to me, "Well you know, I'm not gonna pay you this money for you to do an hour at night." I said, "Well what--" He said, "I want you to work at the newspaper office during the day." Okay so there I was working in the newspaper office during the day and working the radio at night, which meant I had no time to go and get any sponsors. Benson was not selling at the time. And he used me and the other young fellow to say to ownership, look, I got these two hotshots in here. They're not selling anything. Better than me not selling, you know. So the break came when I--one day I went to work and on my lunch period, I went to a cleaners and sold them an account. Came back to the newspaper. And this was when I began to realize what was happening. I said, "Mr. Benson, good news. I just sold my first account." And he went off. "You did what? I didn't tell you were ready! You're not--" He says, "You know, you can't sign any contracts because I work for the radio station. You work for me." I said, "Yeah I know that. I didn't sign it." Then the--you see the light go on over his head. He said, "Oh maybe you are ready." He put his signature on it. Which means he sold it. Okay? Then he gave me free reign. You know, like, you're ready now. You can go out and sell whatever you want to." And I must have sold six accounts. And an account called in. 'Cause one of the accounts that I sold said, "I'll buy this time. But you must do my commercial. I don't want Benson doing my commercial." There were some who, because he talked, you know, very--and they wanted somebody that spoke better. He came in one night feeling good. He had some guests with him. He said, "Lucky," he says, "Listen I've got some friends here and you take the night off. I'm gonna do the show." So he's gonna do my show. "Okay Mr. Benson." He did the show and he did the commercial. The people called up the next day infuriated. "I'm not paying for that commercial. I told Lucky when he sold me that I was only gonna do--" Dr. Dyer. The light went on in his head. He called me upstairs. Now this was--he said--sent me a message. Lucky, Dr. Dyer wants to see you." Benson had threatened me within an inch by saying, "Don't you ever go upstairs. You have no business up there. Because you work for me." 'Cause he didn't want a closeness between the owners and me. So here I am. What do I do now? He said don't go up there and the man who owns the station says he wants to see me. So I took the shot and went on up to see him. And it went something like, "Lucky you're doing good and I just want to congratulate you. And listen you've sold several accounts haven't you?" I said, "Yes sir." He said, "About how many?" "Well I don't know five or six." He said, "Listen I'm looking for my list around here. Can you remember who they were?" I'm innocent. I started naming the accounts. 'Cause I didn't know Benson was taking credit and not telling the man that I was involved. So after that meeting, when I came in that night--I still got the letter. There was a letter. Dear Lucky: As of tonight I will no longer need your services. I will be doing the show myself. Maybe we can work together in the future. Signed Al Benson. 'Cause I'd gone upstairs. So the next day, I went up to see Dr. Dyer. And I said, "Dr. Dyer." I said, "Is there any time that is available that I can get my own time? Because Mr. Benson just fired me." He said, "He did what?" I said, "He said he no longer need my services." He said, "Well I--you come in tonight to work. I'll speak with Mr. Benson." They tell me he cursed him up one wall and down the other. "You're trying to get rid of this kid whose selling and you're not selling." And blah blah blah. So then I came in the next night as if I came in to pick up my things. There was another letter. Dear Lucky: I have reconsidered your position as disc jockey and you will continue in your present position for the time being or something. So I stayed there with him like I say for at least a couple of years. Finally realizing I can't progress under this man. Everything I do he's gonna take credit for. So I put the word out that I was looking. And it was Leonard Chess who said to me one day when I visited him in his office--Because who would hear about jobs. Record people. Music people would hear about jobs available. I was about ready to go out of town. He said, "Lucky there's a position open in Gary, Indiana. A little station called WGRY." Well Gary at that time sounded to me like going to the moon. I didn't realize it was a stone's throw. So I thanked him and I did go out there. I took the audition. The man liked me. And I stayed out there for eight years. And finally I said, I wanna go back to Chicago radio. That's when I went to Dr. Dyer and he gave me my own show.$[E.] Rodney [Jones] and Herb [Kent] were in a contest together. Now this was a station [WVON radio station, Chicago, Illinois] promotion. It was the same kind of thing that had been done many stations--many times. Send in a label and vote for your favorite DJ [disc jockey]. Now this was all the disc jockeys. And that gave them the opportunity of hyping saying, "Vote for me." You know. "Hey, you know, I'm in this contest. Vote for me." So Herb and Rodney were the closest. They were the leaders. Everybody else had fallen behind. And there was a guy who was a sponsor of Herb Kent's who pulled a truck. He owned a grocery store. He pulled a truck up in the lot and had two people in there ripping off labels, gonna vote for Herb Kent. Well Herb Kent won it thumbs down. I mean the man unloaded half a truck of labels. To show you how people get involved. Here he is a sponsor. He wanted the one that he was pulling for to win. 'Cause Herb did his commercials. The story goes that he was like a lightweight gangster. And one day Rodney was called into the office. And this guy had--he was a little guy. But he had two big guys with him. Oh--the reason he wanted to see Rodney was Rodney jokingly made fun of the fact that Herb Kent had stolen the, you know. "He didn't really beat me. But he stole the election. " You know. And that was like calling this guy's representatives a thief. He came out there. He said, "And don't you ever call me--say I'm crooked!" Pow! Fired on him. And Leonard was there. And it was hushed up. It never was, you know, never known. I'll tell you who the guy was. He was the guy that later was busted for--he had a plant. And they were wrapping--they were putting butter wrappers on margarine. It was really margarine. And they had a plant doing it. So naturally, he could undersell any store in town. Butter, you know, so much a pound. They caught up with him in his operation. They busted that. So there were a couple of things that, you know, were a little shady about the boy. And nobody ever knew that. That's really--because, you know, that's the kind of story--who's gonna tell it? Have him coming after you, you know.

Lee Bailey

Broadcast executive Lee Bailey has always been fascinated with radio. He was a regular visitor to radio stations in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while growing up. His first experiences with radio began while he was still in the Air Force.

Nicknamed "The Voice," Bailey began his broadcast career in 1970 as an on-air radio personality in Sacramento, California followed by a job at a radio station in Washington, D.C. Bailey achieved the most fame while working at Los Angeles's KUTE-FM. His talent also led to voice over jobs for radio and television commercials in Los Angeles. Bailey converted his garage into a studio in 1979 and formed Lee Bailey Productions, a voice over production company. Lee Bailey Productions specialized in radio commercial spots and corporate slide presentations. As the company expanded, Bailey and his wife, Diane Blackmon Bailey, created RadioScope: the Entertainment Magazine of the Air, a syndicated radio show, and Bailey Broadcasting Services (BBS), in 1983.

Today, RadioScope is aired in daily and weekend versions in over 100 U.S. markets and in over 70 countries. It maintains the largest following of any syndicated urban radio show. Lee Bailey Communications, Inc. also produces two other popular daily programs, Inside Gospel and the Hip-Hop Countdown & Report. In addition to radio programming, Lee Bailey Communications has a strong presence on the World Wide Web. BBS Interactive maintains the online publication the Electronic Urban Report, a website that shares urban entertainment news.

Accession Number

A2001.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/23/2001

Last Name

Bailey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

University of Arkansas

Cowley Elementary School

Lattman Junior High School

Allegheny Traditional Academy

Sacramento City College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lee

Birth City, State, Country

Moreland

HM ID

BAI02

State

California

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/27/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Short Description

Radio personality and broadcast executive Lee Bailey (1947 - ) founded Lee Bailey Productions, a voiceover production company, and RadioScope, a popular syndicated urban radio show.

Employment

KUTE Radio

Lu Bailey Communications

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lee Bailey interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lee Bailey describes his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lee Bailey recalls family memories from his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lee Bailey shares stories from his childhood in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lee Bailey talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lee Bailey describes his grandfather's work ethic

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lee Bailey talks about how family members influenced him as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lee Bailey describes his childhood personality and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lee Bailey describes moving to Pittsburgh to live with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lee Bailey talks about changing his name to Lee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lee Bailey talks about using his voice to his advantage as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lee Bailey talks becoming interested in radio while in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lee Bailey describes his first experience in a radio station, at KPOP near Sacramento

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lee Bailey describes his experience in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lee Bailey talks about his success at KPOP

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lee Bailey describes his numerous jobs in radio during the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lee Bailey describes his radio jobs in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lee Bailey describes his differences with disc jockey Frankie Crocker

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lee Bailey talks about losing his job at KUTE

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lee Bailey talks about starting his independent radio show 'RadioScope'

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lee Bailey discusses the origins of urban radio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lee Bailey describes acquiring sponsors for his program 'RadioScope'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lee Bailey talks about the national success of 'RadioScope'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lee Bailey talks about some infamous interviews on his 'RadioScope' program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lee Bailey discusses his interviewing strategies

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lee Bailey discusses his other successful radio programs

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lee Bailey discusses the success of his online magazine 'EUR Web'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lee Bailey talks about his future plans for Internet entrepreneurship

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lee Bailey discusses the demographics of his website, 'EUR Web'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lee Bailey talks about the business aspects of his Internet publication 'EUR Web'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lee Bailey anticipates his future business success

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lee Bailey talks about staying in touch with current musical trends

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lee Bailey talks about some of his favorite artists

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lee Bailey reflects on his successful career

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lee Bailey discusses the current shortcomings of radio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lee Bailey explains how the Internet will effect the radio broadcasting industry

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lee Bailey discusses the effects of consolidation in the radio broadcasting industry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lee Bailey imagines how his grandfather would feel about his success

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Lee Bailey talks about his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

5$9

DATitle
Lee Bailey talks about the national success of 'RadioScope'
Lee Bailey discusses the success of his online magazine 'EUR Web'
Transcript
And that led to how many--you ended up being in how many markets after that?$$God! That is--we went on the air with I think about thirty-five affiliates we went on the air. I mean we had--but they were strong affiliates. We went on the air with New York [New York], L.A. [Los Angeles, California], Chicago [Illinois], Detroit [Michigan]. I mean we went on the air with the top ten [largest populations]. So the way radio and even television works as you know, if you have the top ten, you really--I mean what is it? 80 percent of the population lives in the top fifty and 80 percent of that lives in the top ten, so on and so forth. So if you have the top ten, everything else is gravy. You've really got everything you need. So we may have had maybe nine out of the top ten. Eight or nine out of the top ten. So we had acceptance from key markets. Key stations in key markets right off the bat. I remember here in L.A., as a matter of fact a buddy of mine name was Alonzo Miller. He said he was gonna do me a favor and only carry the program three days a week as opposed to five. Because he just couldn't believe I could come up with all that information. I mean this--you got to remember this was back in '83 [1983], when something like this just hadn't been done. So he just couldn't believe that I could find enough information to do a show five days a week plus an hour--it was like a three-minute daily program and an hour-long weekend program. He just couldn't fathom how I could do it. So I begged with him. I said, "Alonzo please just carry the program as is. Don't do me any favors please. I'll prove to you there is more than enough information out there." And so after, you know, a couple of weeks, he chilled out. But I always thought that was funny. How he thought he was doing me a favor, (laughs) trying to carry it three days a week. Of course, what he wasn't realizing from an advertiser point of view, I'm going out selling five days. And he was only gonna carry it three. It was like "oh my God! That's really gonna screw me up." Plus it didn't really make sense. But he was really sincerely trying to look out for me. And he just didn't--in his mind's eye just couldn't understand where all that information could come from.$How did you get involved with--is it EEUR Web?$$'EUR' [Electronic Urban Report] Web--E-U-R and 'E-U-R Web.'$$Right. How did that come about?$$That came about because several things. Once I became aware of the Internet and the [World Wide] Web, I knew that, that was the next phase as far as I'm concerned. Plus I see myself as a information provider, not a radio company, but an information provider. I mean I hope to some day be sitting where you are or be doing something similar. In other words television is part of my game plan as well at some--hopefully some day I'll be there. But television, print, what have you. I want to be involved in the dissemination of information. I saw the Internet to me as the next logical step, on the one hand because its multimedia, but on the other hand, it was also another way of getting in front of radio people to show them that we had--we have all of this information that they could have by carrying our programs. So that was--because you have these--in radio you have these prep shows--not prep shows but prep services. So this was one way of competing with them as opposed to say charging for it. I could give it away. So we were able to reach--or are able to reach the public at large as well as radio itself. So 'EUR' is used by almost every urban outlet as show prep, I mean because we have something in every issue for the jocks to talk about. So that's been very, very successful for us.$$And you--what did--what has the--what is your experience, you know, with 'EUR?' What has it taught you? You know, that you didn't know? I mean--$$I'm--you know, I'm not sure if it's taught me anything about the news business you're saying? Or?$$Well I mean has it taught you--? Did you get feedback that you didn't otherwise get?$$(simultaneously) Oh! Well--$$(simultaneously) You know, that you wouldn't get in radio? That's all I'm saying.$$(simultaneously) Oh yeah. In that sense yeah. Oh well the whole--plus we were interactive. I mean that whole thing. Oh yeah. I mean you get--the feedback is (snaps fingers) instant. I mean sometimes we would do something--but we--but in a way though as I think about it, that's sort of a carry over from our 'RadioScope' program. Because even 'RadioScope,' we sort of in our minds pioneered that interactive element. We've always from the very beginning--we had what we call the feedback line. Where we just put a number out there for people to--as I told you before, we're getting phone calls about the Chaka Khan thing ['RadioScope interview with the singer]. I think we were like the first show--the first entertainment show that had, like a number people could call and leave their questions or comments or what have you. So I knew that that was very important. I mean I know people--your average person, they want to express themselves or they have questions or what have you. They want to be involved. So when I did the 'EUR,' that to me was a natural. And of course, the Internet lends itself to that with e-mail and the whole interactive--interactive aspect of the Internet. I wanted to make sure we involved that. But now interestingly enough, there are publications on line that don't want to hear. And there are websites--there's no way in the world you can send them e-mail or contact them whatsoever. They don't want to hear from you. Which to me is like, "are you crazy?" They don't give out their e-mail address. You cannot contact--they don't have a phone number. There's no way in the world you can contact them. There are even publications online I've come across--same way. It's like to me "that's insane!" The best thing you can do is provide interactivity. Give people a way to feed back to you. And that's one of our secrets. I mean I can't believe some of these other--some of our competition doesn't do that--like "duh, are you crazy?"