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Charles W. Cherry II

Publisher, radio station manager and lawyer Charles W. Cherry II was born in 1956 in Daytona Beach, Florida to Julia T. Cherry and Charles W. Cherry, Sr., founder of the Daytona Times and Florida Courier newspapers. In 1978, Cherry received his B.A. degree in journalism from Morehouse College, where he also interned for WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. He then went on to receive both his M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida in 1982.

Cherry had his own law firm for twenty-one years and served as a city prosecutor for Fort Lauderdale, Florida and as a state prosecutor in South Florida. He also served as general counsel for the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, where he worked closely with its former executive director, the late Dr. William H. Lindsay. In 1989, Cherry and his father purchased WPUL-AM 1590, a Daytona Beach-area radio station. From 1998 to 2000, he served as general manager of Greenville, South Carolina’s WCSZ-AM. In 2000, Cherry was named general manager of WPUL-AM and became host of the station’s Free Your Mind radio show.

In 2004, upon the death of his father, Cherry returned to journalism and newspaper publishing. In 2006, the Cherry family re-launched the Florida Courier as a statewide newspaper; Cherry became its publisher and his column, Straight, No Chaser appeared weekly. He also went on to write commentaries, editorials, and stories for his other family-owned newspaper, the Daytona Times. In addition, Cherry served as vice president, secretary and general counsel of his family’s Tama Broadcasting, Inc., as well as vice president of corporate communications for Global Health Professionals, Inc.

Cherry published Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student's Guide to Academic Excellence (1994), which has been used as a textbook in college-preparation classes and seminars. He was elected to the board of directors of the National Newspaper Publishers Association in 2009, and served on the Government Affairs Committee of the Florida Press Association. He also founded the Florida Black-Owned Media Coalition, Inc., a trade association representing Florida mass media owned by African Americans.

Charles W. Cherry II was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 7, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.230

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/7/2014

Last Name

Cherry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

William

Schools

Campbell Elementary School

St Paul's Catholic School

Father Lopez Catholic High School

Seabreeze High School

Morehouse College

University of Florida

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Daytona Beach

HM ID

CHE08

Favorite Season

None

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Africa or the Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow, For the Kingdom of Heaven Is Within

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

8/6/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Lauderdale

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Scallops

Short Description

Publisher, radio station manager, and lawyer Charles W. Cherry II (1956 - ) is the publisher of the 'Florida Courier' newspaper. He also served as vice president, secretary and general counsel of Tama Broadcasting, Inc, and as a city and state prosecutor in South Florida. He is the author of Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student's Guide to Academic Excellence.

Employment

City of Fort Lauderdale

State of Florida

Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

WCSZ-AM

WPUL-AM

Florida Courier

Tama Broadcasting, Inc.

Global Health Professionals, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles W. Cherry II's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his maternal African ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II describes his mother's childhood in Leslie, Georgia pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his mother's childhood in Leslie, Georgia pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his mother's college experience at Morris Brown College and her career as a home economics teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II describes the Barlow family, his father's maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's education at Morehouse College and Alabama State University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's various jobs and business ventures

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the two newspapers his father started, the Westside Rapper and the Daytona Times

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his likeness to his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's entrepreneurship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the roles he and his siblings play in the family business

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the "wade-in" to integrate the beach in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the march his father planned to protest the Apollo space missions

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his family being threatened with violence

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the impact of school desegregation on the African American community in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his first grade teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about reading the World Book Encyclopedia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his lack of religious upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about having a father who was an entrepreneur

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his experience at Seabreeze Senior High School in Daytona Beach, Florida pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his experience at Seabreeze Senior High School in Daytona Beach, Florida pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about transferring out of Catholic school to Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the impact of racism on mental health

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his interest in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about applying for college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the night before his high school graduation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's newspaper, the Westside Rapper, going out of print and where the word "rapper" came from

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his first semester at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his friend from Daytona Beach, Florida leaving Morehouse College due to sexual harassment

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his professor HistoryMaker Na'im Akbar at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his journalism internship at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his experience studying journalism at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about earning his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about receiving academic support from black students in graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about becoming a state prosecutor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the inspiration for his book, 'Excellence Without Excuses: The Black Student's Guide to Academics Excellence'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's newspapers, the Daytona Times and Florida Courier

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about being the outside counsel for the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about being the outside counsel for the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about ways to create safe public housing

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about changing the way he dressed after visiting Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about what he learned from purchasing his first radio station, WPUL

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about being general manager of WPUL

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about small local radio stations being pushed out of the market

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Tama Broadcasting

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his controversial radio talk show 'Free Your Mind'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the problems in Daytona Beach, Florida's black communities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about production and distribution of his newspapers, the Florida Courier and Daytona Times

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the content within the Florida Courier

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's presidency

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about HistoryMaker U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Florida's Stand Your Ground law

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about political trends in Florida's African American communities

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about adjusting his newspapers to the digital age and the books he is writing

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his business ventures in Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II reflects on what he would do differently in his career

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
Charles W. Cherry II talks about his journalism internship at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia
Charles W. Cherry II talks about what he learned from purchasing his first radio station, WPUL
Transcript
You were talking about your career trajectory in college you're majoring in journalism even though you were greatly influenced by psychology.$$Greatly influenced by, by psychology and [HM] Dr. [Na'im] Akbar but decided to go ahead and, and just make the media the main career and so we went over to Clark [later Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia]. All of, all of the media folks at, at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia] actually were taking classes at Clark. And which was a great thing because they had a top notch journalism, you know journalism and, and broadcast school there.$$Who was in charge of that? Or who was the main influence over there?$$My main influence was Nellie Dixon who was the, the journalism instructor and we had a, a Herb Eichelberger was over the, the, the broadcast school. And what happened was at that point in time, this was, this was, this was early in, in TV broadcast with regard to having black folks as part of, of, of there was a, there were issues in the TV in, in the TV industry in Atlanta [Georgia] because they had maybe one or two black, black reporters. And so we were told folks from--in journalism at the AU Center [Atlanta University Center, Atlanta, Georgia] so that was Morehouse, Clark, and Morris Brown [College, Atlanta, University] and Spelman [College, Atlanta, University]. We, they had a conference with those of us who were in journalism and broadcast and said, "all right we are going to take some of y'all 'cause and y'all gotta be top notch because we have told these white folk that we have some, some kids over here who can get the job done. We're gonna put, put some, we're gonna put some of y'all in some internships in some of these stations over here and here's what our expectations are of you. You will do well. If you can't do well, you know you're not gonna embarrass the AU Center, you're not gonna set this project back so tell us right now if you're not gonna be able to get it done." So I was one of those who volunteered and they, they gave me an internship at WAGA-TV which was Channel 5 in Atlanta for my last two and a half years at Morehouse. And that was, that was a great experience. I was a sports producer. On the weekends I did a certain part of the six o'clock news. So I wrote and produced small sections of the six o'clock news and 11 o'clock news on some week days and on the weekends. And they put me with Bill Hartman who was a guy who was a, a sports guy who's been there probably thirty years. And I, I functioned well. And [Bill] Hartman says I was the best intern that he had. He was hating to see me go but I tell you what happened?$$What?$$I decided to take the law school aptitude test my senior year did well on it. Again on a humbug decided to apply to the University of Florida. University of Florida came back with a full ride of, of grants not, not loans but grants and told me if I came that they, they'd make sure I got a grant as long as I could make it through the first year. So I decided to go to law school and not because, because of the money and at that point in time again, the University of Florida [Gainesville, Florida] was under the Consent Decree so they had to have black students. I knew I was gonna be coming back to Florida I figured that a law degree would probably be a pretty good thing. So I accepted that. But before I decided to actually go I had a conversation with the, the station manager because they offered me a job. So I, I was when I went to the meeting with the station manager, I expected that he was gonna say, "Well Charles you done a great job, you're, Bill Hartman, your boss likes you. You know the six o'clock news, the major producers like you. You know you done a great job. Gonna put you on salary X amount of dollars and you got a great career here." Well, he, what he told me was, "That what we're gonna do, we're gonna give you forty hours, but we're gonna extend that at the minimum wage that we're paying you as an intern right now." And I, I, I was flabbergasted. I was like, "I'm sorry, sir, but I worked here two and a half years. I done an excellent job as you, as you have told me and are you saying that I have a forty hour job but that even with a college degree and two and a half years of experience at this station, that I'm only gonna make minimum wage?" He said, "Yes." I was done. That was my media career.$Now let me go well, I'm gonna go to 1989 with the purchase of WPUL [-AM]. Your, your, your father [Charles Cherry, Sr.] and your brother [HM Dr. Glenn W. Cherry] were involved in this right?$$Yes, my father, my brother and a group, a group of my fraternity brothers from Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, University] we had established a venture capital fund so we got funds from Morehouse's venture capital fund and we got, got some, some friends and some family put some money together and bought that station in Daytona [Beach, Florida] that dad ran in conjunction with the Daytona Times for a number of years.$$Okay. Now was this a station that was black-oriented at the time you purchased it?$$Country western. So it was a country western station. We made the biggest mistake that we, that we made as radio owners which is a rookie mistake which is to change the format from country western to black, basically R&B and all of our, our white clients just, they, they just left. You know we thought that it doesn't matter what the format is and, and it did matter. Because we lost every dollar from the little country western bars and the, the, the, the saddle stores and the, the, the shoe shops and all the rest of that, that had put money into this so. If we had to do it over again, we would have left it alone. But I think at that point in time we, we were just so happy in Daytona Beach [Florida] to have our own station that could play Earth, Wind and Fire and Teddy Pendergrass and all that 24/7 that we just--it was a big, it was sort of a big juke box for us when we, when we first started.$$Okay. But did the advertising come?$$No. Well advertising came but it didn't come from there. So we when you are in a black format and once--that's one thing we've learned along the way that you pay a, you, you pay a disproportionate penalty for targeting black people in almost any business because you sort of, you sort of pigeon hole that white owned businesses or traditional or mainstream businesses. You have to sort of prove to them that you'll bring value that, that black people do consume and, and, and it's, it's, it's an uphill struggle for the most part, particularly post--post-desegregation. Again black folks can take their money anywhere. And so you have to prove your value to both your black consumers as well as everybody else. And that's sort of a double standard that I think that a whole lot of, of black businesses deal with. But unfortunately that, that's just of sort of where we are right now.$$Okay. Okay. So, where does your advertising revenue come from now?$$Well it comes from, from folks who, who--well let me, let me back up. What we decided to do particularly when we started having multiple stations is that we have multiple formats. So you have, you have a chance to go to multiple customer, customer bases. So we have a--you have a R&B format, you're looking at people who are targeting a black/urban audience. You know you have a, a Hispanic format. You have a jazz format. You have a religious format. You have a top forty format. So when we, when we got, where we had eleven stations, we sort of run the--ran the gamut in terms of the number of formats and so you have a better chance of, of, of having a, a much broader consumer base that you can, that you can serve and then you have different formats that you can sell to, to an advertiser.$$So, so you started, well you started with WPUL was that sort of like a testing ground for what you would do with the rest of your stations? 'Cause the other stations were purchased from what I understand from 2000 to--from 1998 to 2000,--$$Right.$$--I guess?$$Yep, yep.$$Okay.$$Un huh. Well we--I think we learned how to be broadcasters at WPUL. You know we, we learned, we learned how to, how to tell time 'cause radio time is very exact. You learn what people respond to and what they don't. You learn how to, how to, how to carve expense. I mean the whole issue of revenue and expenses in radio is, is different from, from other kinds of industries. You know you learn, you learn, so you learn it and it wasn't something that I think we did consciously originally to go and get bigger, but when we--what we saw, when we saw how daddy was having fun and he was making money, we looked at it from a, from a financial perspective that radio has value and that there are stations out there that we can get and we learned enough about radio to turn it around and a sort of get stations that may be undervalued or that maybe, that may have too many, too much expenses and then from a business perspective put 'em in a--shape, pick a format and then move, move it forward.

Jerry Rushin

Radio station manager Jerry J. Rushin was born on May 21, 1947 in the State of Georgia. When he was a child, his family moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he was raised. Rushin’s father was a truck driver; his mother, a part-time housekeeper. Rushin attended Dillard High School and enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation where he served for three years, including a two-year tour in Vietnam.

Upon returning from Vietnam, Rushin worked in a furniture store and was promoted to manager. He then enrolled in Lindsey Hopkins Technical Educational Center in Miami, Florida and was hired as a part-time board engineer at WEDR-FM while taking a six-month course in radio broadcasting. In 1973, he became a part-time on-air personality and hosted the “Super Jerry J” show on weekends. Rushin was soon promoted as a full-time radio host and later to program director and sales representative for WEDR in 1975. In 1980, he was appointed general manager of the station, becoming the first African American in South Florida to operate a radio station. While general manager, Rushin increased WEDR’s signal from 16,000 watts to 100,000 watts, and, in 1992, the station became the top rated radio station in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area.

In 2000, Cox Media Group purchased WEDR and Rushin was subsequently named vice president and market manager for the corporation’s South Florida radio stations, which included WHQT, WFEZ, WFLC and WEDR. He retired in 2012.

Rushin’s honors include the National Black Programmers Coalition 1995 General Manager of the Year award, the “Living Legend Award” from Black Radio Exclusive, and the Excalibur Award from the Family Christian Association of America. In addition, Rushin served on the board of directors of the Nat Moore Foundation.

Jerry Rushin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.212

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/9/2014

Last Name

Rushin

Maker Category
Middle Name

Joe

Organizations
Schools

Dillard High School

Clarence C. Walker Elementary School

Lincoln Park Elementary School

Lindsey Hopkins Technical College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jerry

Birth City, State, Country

Eastman

HM ID

RUS10

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Florida

Favorite Quote

Just Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

5/21/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chop Sandwich

Short Description

Radio station manager Jerry Rushin (1947 - ) became the general manager WEDR Radio station in Miami, Florida in 1980. He later served as the vice president and market manager for the Cox Media Group’s South Florida radio stations.

Employment

United States Army

WEDR-FM

Cox Media Group

Zeno Mattress MFG. Co. Inc.

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1512,16:3024,35:3384,45:3744,52:5616,107:6840,139:17928,474:24420,489:27860,573:28500,584:29060,604:31060,682:38900,759:39440,766:40250,776:42050,802:43940,842:47216,850:47936,951:52472,1111:69701,1335:74706,1451:76015,1509:80019,1619:97848,1961:98238,1967:98550,1972:98940,1978:116136,2212:118842,2440:120236,2481:121794,2560:124910,2626:125484,2666:141156,2939:141524,2944:149350,3070:155690,3214$0,0:2389,57:8740,168:9175,184:14569,357:22138,540:25705,660:30926,669:31521,676:32116,682:39430,772:40190,782:42080,797:43542,841:43886,846:45176,862:46724,936:47842,953:62380,1219:62700,1224:76000,1420:85000,1579:85360,1584:101582,1845:102067,1851:106238,2016:118150,2215:127882,2389:135358,2500:145408,2728:145798,2734:146110,2739:146578,2747:147280,2773:147748,2780:157410,2919:162690,3075:163490,3092:169230,3154:169590,3159:172920,3230:181892,3513:188832,3577:189156,3582:192072,3637:192477,3643:193125,3741:203566,3850:214654,4000:221706,4144:231566,4378:253280,4712:260034,4774:260424,4783:270486,5029:270798,5035:271344,5043:276624,5076:278548,5132:281878,5225:283358,5257:291783,5442:301280,5508
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jerry Rushin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jerry Rushin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jerry Rushin describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jerry Rushin describes the community of Eastman, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jerry Rushin describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jerry Rushin describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jerry Rushin talks about his family's move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jerry Rushin remembers going to work with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jerry Rushin describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jerry Rushin describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jerry Rushin lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jerry Rushin describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jerry Rushin describes the sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jerry Rushin remembers segregation in Eastman, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jerry Rushin describes his elementary school experiences in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jerry Rushin recalls his influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jerry Rushin recalls his early love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jerry Rushin describes his early aspirations, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jerry Rushin describes his early aspirations, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jerry Rushin talks about the black radio stations in South Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jerry Rushin remembers Clarence C. Walker Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jerry Rushin recalls his early exposure to media

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jerry Rushin talks about his experiences at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jerry Rushin remembers serving in the Vietnam War, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jerry Rushin remembers serving in the Vietnam War, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jerry Rushin describes his decision to attend the Lindsey Hopkins Technical College in Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jerry Rushin describes his first position at WEDR Radio in Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jerry Rushin talks about WEDR Radio's transition to a black format

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jerry Rushin remembers his show on WEDR Radio in Miami, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jerry Rushin talks about appealing to his audience on WEDR Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jerry Rushin describes the music on WEDR Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jerry Rushin remembers his celebrity guests on WEDR Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jerry Rushin describes his role as program director on WEDR Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jerry Rushin talks about the types of radio shows

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jerry Rushin talks about midday radio shows

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jerry Rushin remembers his conflict with the management of WEDR Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jerry Rushin talks about the growth of WEDR Radio during the 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jerry Rushin remembers the changes at WEDR Radio during the 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jerry Rushin recalls the on air personalities at WEDR Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jerry Rushin recalls the incidents of police brutality that led to the Miami riots of 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jerry Rushin talks about the relations between police and the community in South Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jerry Rushin talks about the acquisition of WEDR Radio by the Cox Media Group

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jerry Rushin reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jerry Rushin talks about the murder of Trayvon Martin

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jerry Rushin talks about his retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jerry Rushin describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jerry Rushin reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jerry Rushin talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jerry Rushin reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jerry Rushin talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jerry Rushin describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Jerry Rushin talks about appealing to his audience on WEDR Radio
Jerry Rushin recalls the incidents of police brutality that led to the Miami riots of 1980
Transcript
So a, a typical like morning show, would you have a guest, or, or would you--$$Yeah. Back then, you didn't have the complete zoos like you have now. Like if you notice on Tom Joyner ['Tom Joyner Morning Show'], you got J. [J. Anthony Brown], you got Sybil [Sybil Wilkes] and all those people, and, and this Rickey Smiley got ten people in there with him. Back then, it was pretty much just a jock [disc jockey], and I think--but, again, if you can be creative, you can fill that talk void because you're not being scripted, just ten seconds worth of whatever. Or you could have phone calls, or you could have a guest come in. You can have--you know, do interviews. But I, I believe that I could express my opinion at any time because I'm on the air, so I was always concerned about wanting to know and share what listeners thought. I thought people, people like to listen because they either want to disagree with what you say, or they're looking for some kind of confirmation on what they're saying or affirmation of what they're saying. "Oh, he's right. See, that's what I was telling my wife last name. Hear what he just said?" "Oh, he's stupid. What are you talking about?" That's okay. But they listen for those two reasons, so that's why I like to get the, the audience involved, you know. And then sometime if it's not the fire that I wanted, I would say something silly to fire--to put some fire under it, just to, you know--but I would do it myself, you know, so you learn those things and how to do those things, you know, when you're--after a while in the business, you know.$$Well it seems like it would be like a tightrope on some level because you don't want to make yourself unpopular by saying something that's completely wrong, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah.$$So--$$So, so you learn, you learn to--you know, sort of--kind of like Joan Rivers. She picked at herself some, even when she started having the plastic surgery, she could talk about some other starlet and how the star had plastic surgery. So, what's the word, self hybrid--whatever the word be--$$Self effacing (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$Or, or--$$Okay.$$--self deprecating.$$Yeah. So I was very good at that. I would always shoot myself down the hardest, you know, and it kind of took--you know, people say, "Yeah, you right. You sure are." You know, it kind of took the sting out of it, but now when your time come for me to come down on you, well, you know, there ain't much you can say. You know what I'm saying? But, but you learn how to do that. That comes with experience how to--that tight- the tightrope, get that balancing act. You learn how to do that, you know, without, you know. It's what I used to call going to the edge but not over. I would say, let me just take the audience to the edge, and if they decide they want to go over, they can do it by themselves, but I knew where the edge was on every, every subject that came up, and I would go right to the edge. Then I'd put my brakes on. And now if some listeners want to go over the edge--not that something bad gonna happen, but you want your imagination now to, to go wherever, that's fine, but I didn't tell you to go there, you know.$I guess from the eight- probably before from the--I know from the '80s [1980s] through the '90s [1990s], there, there are quite a few urban rebellions and riots in the Miami [Florida] area beginning in the, 19--$$The '80 [1980] riots (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) eighty [1980] with the big one--$$Yeah.$$--the big one was 1980, I guess, but, but there were other riots in Liberty City [Miami, Florida] (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) We had one, 1980 was when Arthur McDuffie--$$Right.$$--my--a friend of mine got beaten to death by the police. Then we had a kid--$$So you, you knew Arthur McDuffie.$$Yeah, yeah. I knew him well. Yeah.$$Okay.$$That was such a crazy thing. Arthur got beat, beaten in December, and they had the trial in May, and they had a change of venue, and, of course, everybody was found innocent, so--$$What happened? Tell, just tell, tell us from what you remember (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well, Arthur had came to one of my clubs one Saturday night, I think it was, and he was hanging out, but at some point, he got on his motorcycle, and what happened, I guess a cop wanted to stop him for a ticket or speeding. I don't know the details why they were chasing him, but at some point, you know, I think he crashed his motorcycle, and the chase ended right there, or he--and he just--I guess he's excited because of the adrenaline rush from chase--from the chase. And I know that happens when you chasing your kid about, "Don't you run from me, boy." Same thing, you get--so--and they just beat him, and then at some point, he passed away from the blows, you know, and when everybody was let go and the trial over in Tampa [Florida], it was on a Saturday, and I know some people called me up and said--you know, my jock [disc jockey]. Said, "Say J [HistoryMaker Jerry Rushin], we're getting a lot of calls about this trial."$$So, so he was tried in Tampa, which is four--$$Change of venue (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) hours away from here, yeah.$$So he said, "Well, you're getting a lot of calls, man." I said, "Well, you know, just, you know, just tell them we'll get, get into Monday." It's Saturday, but, you know, so I tried to like down play it. Then the jock called back, and said, "Man J, I'm telling you, man. The phones are going crazy." I said, "All right." So, whatever, whatever, so. Then he called me back said, "J, people is outside the building, man. They asking for you." I say, "Okay. I'll be right there." So I drive to the, to the station [WEDR Radio, Miami, Florida], man, 'cause we in the, we in the hood now, in the city. We're in the inner city. Sure enough, I couldn't get to the station for these cars. I'm--I know I was outspoken, but, I never thought about that kind of stuff, you know, like the people really gravitated to the stuff I would do, the things I would say, whatever. But I finally got to the little building there, and, and they just wanted to talk, so I stood outside and we talked and we talked, and then I went on the air, and I talked, and put one or two people on the air. Again, again let, let a couple of them vent. You know, they were upset, obviously. So what happened that night, they had what they called a silent protest at the government building [Metro Justice Building; Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, Miami, Florida], and a couple police cars got turned over, and it was on for the next few days, and I think maybe twenty-two people [sic. eighteen] got killed, and it was--so, you know, and then some people actually said that the--that I started the riots, and at some point you got to realize, this man is dead and finding these people innocent. Nobody is being punish for it. That's what started the riots. And there had been some other incidents. That wasn't the only one. Nathaniel LaFleur, they broke into his house. Police thought that they had the wrong address, cracked his skull. Young kid was relieving himself outside a warehouse building in Hialeah [Florida], you know, they shot him down. A kid named Donald [ph.] was in his car drunk. They said they thought he had a gun. They shot and killed--all this led up to the ones in this riot, so this is a lot of--so that--now, see all these things and nobody should be punished [sic.]. So remember one of the things the police was saying commonly was, "Well, he made a sudden move." So we came up with this thing we called the sudden move syndrome, so I actually had to go in there and go step by step what to do if you're stopped by the police. You know, you put both hands outside the car. You don't reach for your wallet or your license or your insurance. You put both hands outside the car so he can see them. That way he know you don't have a gun or you're not reaching for a gun. I had some other steps in that whole thing, but--'cause it, it got crazy, and all the cop has to do is say, "Well, you know, he made a sudden move, and I thought he had a gun." "Oh, it was his watch flashing. Or I saw the flash. I thought it was a weapon." And if you say that, nothing happens. And it had to stop. You know, again, that same thing from my childhood kick in. Somebody got to stand up to these people. No, you're not going to fight. You know, you can't fight the police or the, or the government, you know, but somebody gotta make the process change. So, hell, it was--I was--just happened to be there. Again, it was like on my watch so to speak, so and that's how, how that whole thing pretty much went down in 1980, the riots of 1980.

Karen Slade

Radio station manager Karen E. Slade was born on October 18, 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio to Violette Crawford and Charles Slade. In 1977, Slade earned her B.S. degree in telecommunications from Kent State University, where she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She went on to obtain her M.B.A. degree from Pepperdine University in 1991.

Upon graduation from Kent State University, Slade was hired as an account executive at Xerox Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio. For the next decade, she worked in various positions for Xerox, including as a marketing consultant, project manager and dealer sales manager. In 1988, Slade was promoted to a regional sales manager in Atlanta, Georgia. Then, in 1989, she returned to Los Angeles, California to work as vice president and general manager of KJLH, the radio station owned by R&B artist Stevie Wonder. As general manager, Slade led programming and sales as well as the station’s efforts to address local and national issues in the African American community. Under her leadership, KJLH Radio received the distinguished George Foster Peabody Award and the NAACP Image Award.

Slade has been honored by the California Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and the Black Business Association, and received the Phenomenal Woman Award from California State University, Northridge. Radio Inc. magazine named Slade one of the 25 most influential African Americans in radio. She served on the board of the Los Angeles Urban League from 1989 to 1995, and has been a member of the Black Media Network and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters since 1989.

Karen Slade was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 28, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.213

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/28/2014

Last Name

Slade

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Eileen

Schools

Moses Cleaveland Elementary School

Robert H Jamison School

John F Kennedy High School

Pepperdine University

Kent State University

First Name

Karen

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

SLA03

State

Ohio

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/18/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Short Description

Radio station manager Karen Slade (1955 - ) was the vice president and general manager of Stevie Wonder’s KJLH radio station in Los Angeles, California.

Employment

Taxi Productions, Inc.

Xerox Corporation

KJLH Radio

Timing Pairs
0,0:3806,84:4142,89:6494,136:9098,192:9686,200:14584,231:15152,245:15720,255:16501,268:18276,353:22607,447:33500,578:43060,699:46012,756:47078,763:47488,770:48226,781:52940,831:53570,841:56230,905:57210,921:59100,959:60010,971:60850,985:66288,1038:66756,1045:68345,1055:68735,1062:69255,1073:71556,1101:72216,1112:73866,1138:74262,1146:74592,1152:74988,1159:75648,1170:76836,1193:86135,1303:89390,1345:95480,1446:100999,1481:102725,1494:108334,1650:110890,1698:114080,1725:114695,1731:123054,1940:125055,1967:130509,2120:132284,2145:141540,2217:141940,2222:142740,2233:146976,2264:149244,2308:152352,2371:152688,2376:155370,2386:156822,2433:157086,2438:157482,2446:158472,2469:164808,2599:176150,2768:181350,2862:182550,2881:186646,2911:187690,2941:188676,2966:190358,3015:198110,3132:200405,3165:202550,3171$0,0:392,3:888,8:3050,23:17158,175:17704,182:18068,187:18432,192:19797,209:20434,218:21708,237:22527,247:29520,267:29880,275:30120,280:33378,322:33650,327:33990,333:34398,340:35350,358:36642,402:41570,453:44580,529:45070,538:46260,566:48080,597:49340,621:52890,634:56874,699:57372,706:59613,744:71537,864:72169,873:73512,896:74144,905:76860,946:77140,951:77630,960:78330,972:95856,1224:98712,1279:99972,1299:100392,1305:100728,1310:117300,1627:139526,1867:141806,1905:142110,1910:142794,1925:154760,2074:155360,2083:158810,2164:159785,2181:167052,2293:167972,2307:171008,2350:174304,2406:174584,2412:174864,2418:175424,2432:175648,2437:177272,2473:177720,2482:178392,2497:178896,2508:179288,2521:179848,2532:183740,2574:186096,2580:187692,2624:189820,2665:190580,2676:191340,2687:198040,2780:198607,2788:199255,2799:199660,2805:202414,2873:202981,2881:203386,2887:203710,2892:208732,2971:209056,2976:209947,2994:215940,3036:216480,3043
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Karen Slade's Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Karen Slade lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Karen Slade describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Karen Slade remembers her maternal grandfather's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Karen Slade talks about her maternal grandparents' life in Cleveland

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Karen Slade describes her mother as a young adult

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Karen Slade describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Karen Slade describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Karen Slade remembers the Lee-Miles neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Karen Slade describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Karen Slade recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Karen Slade describes her favorite subjects in school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Karen Slade remembers her favorite teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Karen Slade recalls her maternal grandmother's influence on her academics

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Karen Slade talks about her high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Karen Slade remembers the music of her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Karen Slade recalls her decision to attend Kent State University in Kent, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Karen Slade talks about her decision to major in telecommunications

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Karen Slade remembers Arsenio Hall and Steve Harvey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Karen Slade describes her radio internships

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Karen Slade recalls her college extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Karen Slade talks about working at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Karen Slade remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Karen Slade talks about her mentors at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Karen Slade remembers transitioning to radio broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Karen Slade describes the origins of the call letters at KJLH Radio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Karen Slade recalls her work at KJLH Radio in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Karen Slade talks about KJLH Radio's format

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Karen Slade describes the radio market competition in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Karen Slade recalls upgrading KJLH Radio's signal

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Karen Slade talks about the ratings system for radio broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Karen Slade describes local disk jockeys at KJLH Radio

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Karen Slade talks about the community leaders of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Karen Slade recalls her station's coverage of the Rodney King riots

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Karen Slade remembers winning a George Foster Peabody Award

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Karen Slade talks about LAPD violence against minorities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Karen Slade describes her work as manager of KJLH Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Karen Slade recalls the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Karen Slade talks about KJLH Radio's identity as a black owned station

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Karen Slade remembers KJLH Radio's involvement with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Karen Slade talks about the future of KJLH Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Karen Slade describes her hopes for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Karen Slade reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Karen Slade talks about black owned radio stations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Karen Slade reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Karen Slade remembers influential coworkers at KJLH Radio in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Karen Slade describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Karen Slade talks about her network of coworkers and friends

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Karen Slade describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Karen Slade talks about her decision to major in telecommunications
Karen Slade describes her work as manager of KJLH Radio
Transcript
Did you have any idea that you could make a living as a mathematician?$$You know at that time I didn't, I thought you could either be a teacher or you could be a nurse. I mean I had a really limited scope on what I could do and I knew I wasn't ready for marriage and family and I wasn't going to college [at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio] to get a husband, I was going to figure out how--what I was going to do with the rest of my life; so I remember watching--I must have been home for a break and I saw Dorothy Fuldheim, that's a name of the past. She was a female news anchor in Cleveland [Ohio] and I said I can do that, all she's doing is talking, I can do that, I can talk (laugher), so that was, you know, in my mind's eye I could do that, so that's when I declared a major in journalism. Well at--even though it was broadcast journalism at the time it was called telecommunications, it was before the word broadcast journalism, but you studied television, radio, print, which were the only platforms then. And I joined the Family Tree, the Family Tree was a production company--college production company. It had a public access, cable access television program and you cycled through all the jobs, so you started with the, I believe you started with the lighting and then the audio for sound and as you, I guess matriculated at some point you did the interviewing of the guests and I was lucky enough to interview [HistoryMaker] Angela Davis, which was big at the time and she came down with her brother who played for the Cleveland Browns, he was a good looking guy.$$Ben Davis, right?$$Ben Davis, oh, he was a good looking guy and subsequently I, I--Ben and I worked together at Xerox [Xerox Corporation], small world. Let's see, [HistoryMaker] Julian Bond, Angela Davis (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Did you know Fania Davis, the sister, the other sister?$$No, I never met the other sister.$$I know she spoke on her behalf when she was in, in prison, you know. Fania would go--she looked just like her pretty much, yeah.$$No, well I met the other brother [Reginald Davis]. I can't think of the other brother's name. I think he may have been at Xerox too. But, so, but what I determined at that time was I could not be on camera. I was terrible. I got nervous. I talked with my hands, which you see I'm consciously trying to hold them, hold them down, but when I was in college and interviewing I would talk with my hands and I would make gestures and I was so demonstrative it was distracting, so when I looked back and even though you're college kids you're there to learn. When I looked back I wasn't comfortable with what I saw, or how I sounded, I was so critical, but then I cycled through and we produced some shows and I, I liked that, you directed some shows, I liked that even more, so I--there were so many other aspects that you could--if this was your field you could just find what field you were comfortable. So where I initially thought I wanted to be in front of the camera and be a news anchor, I determined that that was not for me (laughter). So I ended up, from there I ended up going to Xerox and, and got into sales.$So does this, does the radio station's, I guess, community stance mirror the, the, the, I guess the, the outlook of Stevie Wonder, the, the owner?$$I'd say yes. I don't know anyone else that would commit the level of resources to their community that Steve does. I like to tell people I'm a capitalist and I usually say that right before people ask me for something (laughter) because I want them to understand that I'm really here you know, to run a business and it has to be successful, I've got to meet payroll, I've got to cover my expenses. It's got to be a profitable asset or there's no reason for the owner to keep it. Of course the owner is Steve and he is a philanthropist and he is a really good guy, so he would give, give away stuff and I'm trying to say, no, no. I remember we got into a discussion with Don Cornelius of 'Soul Train,' they were changing channels or something, changing stations and he's like, "Well you should just tell the people what station they can find it on," and da, da, da, da, da. And I said, "I will if you pay for advertising, right, you pay for advertising I'll tell you" (laughter). "Do you know I'm friends with Stevie," and da, da, da, da, da. And I was like, "Stevie's a good guy, I'm sure you are his friend, but this is his business and if you truly care about him you won't take advantage, you'll pay for advertisement." The next thing I know he gets Steve on the phone, I'm like--my boss is on the phone (laughter) and Don Cornelius is on the phone and I'm fighting to get money for the station so I held my own, so I said, "Steve he's got to spend money, that's how we make a living." "Well give him a break Karen [HistoryMaker Karen Slade]." "Okay, Mr. Cornelius I'll give you a break, what's your budget?" Now this is, I'm a little nervous because I'm playing hardball, right, but I want them to understand that this is a business and you can't just take advantage because it's owned by a fabulous philanthropist, this is his asset and it's got to make money for him to do with as he pleases, so I think I got two thousand dollars out of him. It wasn't a lot but it was a victory you know, 'cause Steve allowed me to do what I needed to do, and Don you know, he accepted it, so that's just one of the stories that I've had over the years. But I always try to put the business in the best light, so KJLH [KJLH Radio, Los Angeles, California], I don't think it's run like most companies, or especially most radio stations because it's a profit and loss, it's a commercial business, but we have an owner that has a heart that is sympathetic and has empathy for the community, so in that light we try to do worthwhile things and make good business sense. Like we do feeding for the homeless, we do all kinds of community related events, so we're very attached to the community and I think that is good business to support those that support you. The line you have to draw is, is the economics of it; what's the true value, what's the cost and can you afford it and what's the return.

Abe Thompson

Abraham “Abe” Thompson, Jr., was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 22, 1951, one of seven children in his family. After graduating from Calumet High School, Thompson attended Carthage College in 1969 and then transferred to Western Illinois University where he graduated from in 1974.

In 1975, Thompson joined the staff of WVON radio in Chicago as a salesman where he quickly found success. Thompson was hired by WGCI in 1980, where he became the local sales manager, and the following year he was named general sales manager. While at WCGI in 1984, Thompson met and married his wife, Launa Thompson, and in 1985, he became the vice-president and station manager of WCGI. Thompson moved to Detroit in 1986, taking over operations at WRIF while serving as vice-president and general manager; during his two years there, he helped turn the station around. Returning to Chicago in 1988, Thompson was named station manager of WVAZ.

Thompson began marketing for films and international events in 1991, including the 1991 Cancun Jazz festival and the 1995 Sinbad’s Soul Music Festival in St. Martin. In addition, Thompson has been a highly successful motivational speaker. In 1999, Thompson became president and CEO of Partnership Radio, a group of radio stations in Northwest Indiana. In 2000, Thompson published his first book, My Thoughts, Your Book, Our Journal, for his son, Phoenix. In 2003, Radio Ink ranked Thompson as one of the thirty most influential African Americans in radio.

Thompson’s wife, Launa, passed away in 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.249

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/7/2004

Last Name

Thompson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Organizations
Schools

Calhoun North Elem School

Gladstone Elem School

Calumet Career Prep Academy High School

Carthage College

Western Illinois University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Abe

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

THO07

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Birmingham, England, Caribbean, Spain

Favorite Quote

I Love You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/22/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Broadcast chief executive and radio station manager Abe Thompson (1951 - ) served as the vice president and station manager of WCGI in Chicago, the vice-president and general manager of WRIF in Detroit, the station manager of WVAZ in Chicago, and the president and CEO of Partnership Radio in Northwest Indiana.

Employment

WVON Radio (Chicago)

WGCI FM (Radio Chicago)

WRIF-Radio

WVAZ-FM

Partnership Radio

Focus Radio

Favorite Color

Lime, Purple, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:3205,191:3489,196:4270,225:8317,311:9737,336:14060,368:17756,471:27584,697:37374,826:39199,882:40221,904:51186,1121:62420,1310:66054,1389:84874,1732:86346,1762:94105,1913:94630,1922:101771,2037:102324,2049:103746,2180:117768,2316:121044,2410:122760,2437:134902,2685:136057,2714:137366,2749:158200,2946:159580,3081:160480,3097$0,0:23662,529:28694,650:40522,796:40874,801:51055,990:71945,1227:73310,1253:79582,1412:83038,1468:90730,1670:114200,2037:114936,2047:124690,2207:126538,2245:127126,2291:140912,2418:143348,2462:149396,2609:150404,2626:150992,2634:162736,2878:186404,3241:190030,3302:191066,3323:191362,3328:192102,3340:192546,3347:192842,3352:193360,3360:194618,3417:194914,3422:195284,3428:207100,3526:216800,3707:217080,3712:217850,3726:248288,4191:249674,4221:256470,4282:259062,4346:260214,4360:266730,4456
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Abe Thompson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Abe Thompson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Abe Thompson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Abe Thompson describes his maternal and paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Abe Thompson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Abe Thompson recounts how his parents met in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Abe Thompson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Abe Thompson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Abe Thompson lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Abe Thompson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Abe Thompson explains how he came to live with his father after his parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Abe Thompson describes his neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Abe Thompson describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Abe Thompson describes his childhood activities and attending Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Abe Thompson recalls the various schools he attended in Chicago, Illinois and his memorable teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Abe Thompson talks about meeting legendary entertainers through his music teacher at Calumet High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Abe Thompson reflects upon his participation in high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Abe Thompson explains his decision to attend Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Abe Thompson talks about leaving Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin and transferring to Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Abe Thompson remembers his time at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Abe Thompson talks about his studies in psychology at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Abe Thompson explains the complexity of statistics

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Abe Thompson talks about his interest in religious studies

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Abe Thompson shares why he loves studying religion

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Abe Thompson talks about leaving his sales job at Ryerson steel corporation for a job in radio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Abe Thompson talks about the history of urban radio in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Abe Thompson talks about the connections he made in the media business as a salesman for WVON radio in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Abe Thompson talks about the history of WVON and WGCI in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Abe Thompson talks about the history of WVON and WGCI in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Abe Thompson talks about the marketing labels assigned by radio stations to various genres of music

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Abe Thompson talks about the cultural context for slang words and music

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Abe Thompson details his career trajectory at WGCI radio in Chicago Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Abe Thompson describes how he met and married his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Abe Thompson talks about his time in Detroit, Michigan as general manager and vice president of WRIF radio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Abe Thompson talks about forming Partnership Radio and acquiring radio stations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Abe Thompson talks about the passing of his wife, Launa Thompson, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Abe Thompson talks about the passing of his wife, Launa Thompson, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Abe Thompson talks about life lessons he learned from his wife's death, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Abe Thompson talks about life lessons he learned from his wife's death, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Abe Thompson reflects upon the current state of marriage in the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Abe Thompson reflects upon the current state of marriage in the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Abe Thompson shares his advice for lasting relationships and friendships

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Abe Thompson talks about publishing his book, 'My Thoughts, Your Journal, Our Book'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Abe Thompson talks about the reception of his book, 'My Thoughts, Your Journal, Our Book,' and its reprint through Third World Press

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Abe Thompson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Abe Thompson reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Abe Thompson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Abe Thompson talks about his family sharing in his success

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Abe Thompson talks about stock ownership as a means for African Americans to influence the media

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Abe Thompson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Abe Thompson talks about the barriers to owning radio stations

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Abe Thompson remembers Tom Lewis, first black radio station owner

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Abe Thompson talks about the process of acquiring his first radio station, WUBU in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Abe Thompson talks about organizations that fought for the inclusion of minorities in broadcasting

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Abe Thompson talks about satellite radio

DASession

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Abe Thompson remembers his time at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois
Abe Thompson talks about leaving his sales job at Ryerson steel corporation for a job in radio
Transcript
So then Western [Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois] kind of turned you loose, right?$$Well it was just one--$$(Unclear) (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) it was just that experience was just like you go here and you got your own room, you know, you can stay out as long you want. And I said when I became resident advisor, I'm an athlete and, well first of all, everybody, if you're, if you're okay as an athlete, they like you 'cause you, you know, you're playing football, basketball, tennis, whatever, so folks are like yeah, there goes so and so. But if you're a resident advisor, if you're pretty cool, everybody's like yeah, this guy runs the floor, so I had both of those. So I was like, oh, you know. The guys, and here's the thing, I was probably the youngest guy on my floor 'cause I was a resident advisor like as a sophomore, a lot of the guys were juniors and seniors, so I'm their leader. You know, and I had to keep, I kept 'em in line. I told 'em I said, listen, I would, I would stretch the rules, I said, you know, fellows, we're not supposed to do such and such but let me tell you this, as long as everything else is done appropriate and it's cool, we can, we can stretch the rules a little bit, you know. And I said well I don't want the floor messy, you know, guys would have parties, tear up floors, and I'd say as long you don't do that it's cool. And only one time did I have a run-in and that when I had gone away to a game and I came back and the guys had wrecked the floor and I went off. I mean, I went off to the fact that it got confrontational. And then the guys start saying man we ain't never seen [HistoryMaker] Abe [Thompson] mad. So even the guy, a couple of guys I was about to fight and, and again, I'm the only, out of sixteen thousand students I think there were five hundred black students, so I'm a black guy leading all these other guys, leading, I'm a younger, young black guy leading all these older white guys and I made 'em stay in line. And, and the, and the great thing about it is that, it got to a point where it didn't matter, the, the, the class rank, the age, the ethnicity, didn't matter and because I made that clear. You know, I said, you know, that, all that other stuff I, I didn't care what you said, you know, I didn't care, well just, just so you respect each other and respect our floor, didn't tear up our floor. And one time they, the (unclear) I came back the floor was a wreck, man I went off, there was shaving cream all over everything, they had busted some, some of the light fixtures, I said aww man, I went off. And when I went off, I'm trying to think what happened. I think I had to go to practice, 'cause it happened while I was over, while I was on a break, I think I went to, that, that when I came back and found it, that next day I had to go to basketball practice, when I came back the floor was clean, they had cleaned it up. I'm telling you those guys must have apologized to me for about two weeks. So college was great for me too. You know, it was a great, it was a great life experience.$When did you graduate from Western Illinois [University, Macomb, Illinois]?$$I think I left Western in, man, it's been a lot of years for a lot of this stuff. I think I left Western in '73 [1973] or '74 [1974].$$Okay.$$Seventy-three [1973] or '74 [1974], I think I left Western, yeah.$$And so well what did you, well what were you gonna do when you left [Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois], did you, did you plan to go to graduate school (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, well it's funny. I majored in psychology also because I thought I wanted to, and, and I was, and I minored, I think, in special education. I thought I wanted to teach, no I wanted to teach learning and disabled children. And I was offered a job at a school in Burlington, Iowa for $7400 a year. And I was also offered a job in sales at the Ryerson steel corporation [Ryerson Holding Corporation, Chicago, Illinois] on the West Side [Chicago, Illinois], came back to the West Side for [$]11,200, the economics won out (laughter). I forgot about saving the world and went for the money (laughter). And I worked at Ryerson and then it was at working at Ryerson I met these people in the media because I was mana-, well I called myself a manager of a band that my brothers had. And I took them around to talent shows and that kind of stuff, and in taking them around that's how I met people in the media. And I saw these people in the media who were making about, I was making eleven grand that was great, but I saw people who were making much more. And I didn't own a car, they had a car, they had cars. I didn't own a suit, they were wearing nice suits and I'm thinking whoa they're making more than I'm making, I'm doing pretty good. And they get paid to like go to stuff, I'm like (making a sound). So I went around and interviewed at every record company that was here, every newspaper, every TV station, every radio station and nobody hired me. So I did it again, nobody hired me. So I did it a third time, nobody hired me. And then after the third round, I started, I called up specific stations and one was VON [WVON, Chicago, Illinois]. And I, you know, I learned in the course of those interviews, that you don't just wanna be a friend with the president or the manager or the vice president, you wanna be friends with the secretary, and receptionist, so I got to know 'em. Man, I knew some of these general managers and stuff would go and be in their offices before they did (laughter) 'cause I got to know their receptionist and stuff. And, and I ended up getting an interview at VON because the secretary of the general manager, her name was Karen [ph.]. Karen said, "[HistoryMaker] Abe [Thompson, Jr.] he's gonna be (unclear) blah, blah, blah." She said, "So why don't you come at this time 'cause he'll be going out and you can catch him going out and you can walk out with him." That's what I did, I came up, he said, "When you wanna start?" So that's how I got my job in radio at VON, at WVON.$$What year is this around about?$$It was either, it was '74 [1974] or '75 [1975], I, I, man the years, I don't know.$$Okay. All right. So, well VON was in like in its heyday then. (Unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well, yes and no.$$Okay.$$Yeah. Yes, in terms of it was the only one, it was the only station and people were talking about it 'cause it was in Chicago [Illinois], it was the only black station, black formatted station. But no in terms of it wasn't generating a lot of revenue. You know, it wasn't generating a lot of revenue. I mean, relatively speaking, I mean it was (unclear) but it was, you know, at that time it should have been going gangbusters but, but many people in the marketplace didn't think that we could, that, that we, and I mean black folks or the listeners of VON, could afford certain things. You know, they wouldn't, they didn't think that we could afford Mercedes [Benz], (laughter) you know, big homes and all that kind of stuff, fine jewelry, so. Just interesting, just real interesting.$$So the advertising dollars would (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, the, the advertising dollars didn't come in, and still don't for most of those stations, black formatted stations like they should.$$Okay. When I came to Chicago in '77 [1977] black, the VON advertisers were barbeque restaurants and--$$Um-hm.$$--and, you know, bug killers and--$$Um-hm.$$--all that sort of thing.