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Soul Radio

“Soul Radio” tells the little-known story of a broadcast revolution that took place on the radio dial in the years after World War II, when pioneering African American announcers hit the airwaves. 
This feature-length documentary film chronicles the rise of Black radio at WERD in Atlanta, the nation’s first African American-owned station, and WDIA in Memphis, Tennessee, the first station with an all Black on-air staff. We meet early trailblazers like Jack L. Cooper, widely considered the father of Black radio, who got behind a microphone in the 1930s – a racially segregated time when popular programs like “Amos and Andy” promoted ugly stereotypes, and few, if any, Black voices were heard. 
Featuring soulful music, archival broadcasts, and the triumphant tales of charismatic disc jockeys “Chatty Hatty” Leeper, Vernon Winslow (“Dr. Daddy-O”) and “Jockey Jack” Gibson, “Soul Radio” explores the power of Black radio to heighten racial pride and bolster the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1960s and beyond. 

Associated Members

Lex Gillespie


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