December 17, 2009
It is time for the history of the African American in St. Louis radio to truly come alive. It is important to learn about the past performance and highest achievement of St. Louis radio and the part African Americans played in building this industry. We have a very rich and dynamic past and it behooves everyone to understand what went before hip hop, old school and 'oldies but goodies.' Black radio was the strength of the modern civil rights era.
From the nineteen-forties until today, the personalities that developed, engineered and urbanized 'Soul Radio,' played a premiere and essential part in the shaping of the history of St. Louis radio. Although sometimes overlooked by national institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and other Federal Archives, St. Louis radio personalities gave a voice and identity to a people and a segment of the community that had been alienated and invisible. It survived Jim Crow, segregation and played a significant function during the civil rights era. It provided a forum for educators, politicians, entertainers and civil libertarians. It as and is a precious resource that must be remembered and maintained.
Local Black radio stations made the masses aware and supplied the moral fiber that granted the platform for Martin and Malcolm, Stokely, H. Rapp Brown, Rosa and Julian, as well as keeping the memory of Sojourner, Dubois, Carver and Booker T. Washington vibrant.
The major St. Louis stations that offered programs and personality shows aimed at the 'Negro Market' in the early days were KATZ-AM 1600, KXLW - AM 1390, KADI-FM, KWK-AM 1380. WTMV 1490 AM that later became WBBR, WAMV and at the present time is WESL –WFFX 1490.
Some of the radio personalities that will automatically be enshrined in the hall will include: Lou 'Fatha' Thimes, Douglas Eason, Gentleman 'Jim' Gates, Amos 'Panyo' Dotson, Gabriel, Edie 'Bee' Anderson. Michael Tyrone Key, Gene Norman, Hosea Gales, Merdean Fielding Gales, Ruby Somerville Dixon, Columbus Gregory, Bill 'Fox Chaser' Moore, Edward 'Buster' Jones, Anthony 'Tony' Stittum, Robin Boyce, Trish Gregory, Jimmy Bishop, Cheryl Winston, Deneen Busby, Alvin John Waples, Bill Bailey, Bobby Knight, Bill Wilkerson, Zella Jackson Price, Dorothy Shelly, Jeanie Trevor, Ron Nichols, Virginia White, Robert 'Scottie Lawrence' Salter, Steve Byrd, Sylvester 'The Cat' Caldwell, Denise Williams, Lou 'J.R.' Thimes Jr., Sharon McGhee, Bob Lawrence, Donn Johnson, Tom Joyner, 'Mel and Thel,' Randy O'Jay, Hank Thompson, Betty Thompson, Decatur Agnew, Keith Antoine Willis, Kevin 'Kevvy Kev' Pulley, Demetrius Johnson, 'Spider Man' Fuller, Richard 'Onion' Horton, Lizz Brown, Charlie Tuna, Corneal 'Tony' Washington, Deacon Ernest Greenlee, Steve Love, Carole Carper, Curtis 'Boogie Man' Brown, and many more local announcers and personalities that will be among the honorees.
There will be a special section for those who are no longer with us, including: Wiley Price, Jr., Dave Dixon, George 'The G' Logan, Jessie 'Spider' Burks, Al 'Scoop Sanders' Gay, E. Rodney Jones, Leo Cheers, Rod 'Jockenstein' King, Willa Mae 'Gracie' Lowery, Roscoe 'Little Ole Roscoe' McCrary, Donnie ‘Soul Finger' Brooks, Jerome Dixon, Hank Spann, Robert 'B.Q.' Burris, Gary 'Starr' Perks, Yvonne Daniels, German Massenberg. Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith, Wynetta Lindsay, Leonard Morris, Rev. Cleophus Robinson, Devan Strong, The O'Neal Twins, Geneva Gentry, Leonard Morris and a host of others who have joined our ancestors.
Some other personalities of St. Louis Black radio that should and will be considered are: Jay Dubard, Mark Anthony, John Gardner, Jake Jordan, Sonny Joe White, Donn St. John, The 'Magnificent' Montague, Chuck Cunningham, Niecy Davis, Walt 'Baby' Love, Lee 'Baby' Michaels and Freeman Bosley, Jr.
There are so many more and I am positive that I have left too many off of each list, so I ask forgiveness and understanding, and I invite your comments, suggestions and nominees.
We are hoping to have the facility located in the African American History Wax Museum. No date has been set and the details have not yet been worked out but we are hopeful and prayerful.
Perhaps in the future we are able to expand to become the St.Louis Black Media Hall of Fame, to include television and other members of the media, including performing and visual arts, recording artists, writers, members of the creative media and public relations. Frank Absher created the model that is housed at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and has offered his help and assistance with our mission.
Have a wonderful holiday season and keep Kwanzaa spiritual, and listen to my radio show on WGNU 920 AM, Monday through Friday at 7 am, and watch my television program on Ch. 24 every Saturday night at 10 pm and Friday mornings at 9 am.
I can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.