Philly radio legend Georgie Woods
With your help, Mighty Writers is getting ready to air our first full-length audio documentary in Philadelphia and across the country during Black History Month.
The idea for doing a radio documentary on Black radio in Philadelphia came to us during a discussion about Black History Month among teens in a new media workshop at Mighty Writers.
"All my life I've been hearing about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King during Black History Month," said Nafeesah, one of our Mighty high school writers. "Both are great and historic Black Americans. But why aren't we taught about those that came before us right here in Philadelphia?"
That's when it hit us: Why not the great pioneering African-American radio jocks of yesteryear?
Legends like Douglas "Jocko" Henderson. Georgie Woods (pictured). Louise Williams. Jimmy Bishop. Sonny Hopson. Carl Helm. Harvey Holiday. Butterball.
Great Philadelphia disc jockeys every one. And our Mighty kids know nothing about them.
From the '50s through the '70s, these great disc jockeys played records the white stations wouldn't and relied on their outsized personalities for ratings. And the stations they worked for -- WDAS, in Philadelphia, most specifically -- covered news and events the mainstream media ignored. Both management and the jocks saw community service as a shared responsibility.
Partnering with talented radio professionals, we've recaptured the glory days of Black radio in Philadelphia through our Mighty Radio project.
The result is "Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio," a radio documentary hosted by legendary Sound of Philadelphia music producer Kenny Gamble.
Listeners to the radio documentary will hear the exciting patter of the jocks of yesteryear, plus first-person accounts of civil rights events, including a 1964 interview with Malcolm X on WDAS just a few months before his assassination.
The documentary also includes a soundtrack featuring jazz, gospel and soul hits from the 50s through the 70s.
"Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio" will air on WXPN on Monday, February 3, from 8-10pm, and on WHYY on Sunday, February 16, at 6pm, and on Saturday, February 22, at 2pm.
Above all, this project has been a chance to engage an audience of kids, parents and grandparents, and to revive an important part of music and Civil Rights history.
Thank you for the part you've played in making this possible.