June 27, 2018

A Salute to Radio's Golden Age of Personalities: When Black Radio was Too Black

Artist Chas Bronxson and Mourn Records have released 'R.I.P.' (Radio's Incomparable Personalities), a salute to the many iconic disc jockeys who contributed to the genre of Rhythm & Blues, Soul Music, "Race Music" and Rock & Roll - as originally influenced by music rooted in African American culture. 

The title 'R.I.P.' is symbolic of the dead format of the 'radio personality' who was able (and allowed to) program and carry an entire show by themselves.

The above are notes from the following YouTube video for the song 'R.I.P.' (The Song) that was written, arranged, produced, and sung by Chas Bronxson with additional vocals by Kerslie Nicole. The following video is absolutely one of the most comprehensive documentation of Black Radio on-air personalities we've ever come across. It's one of the best things you'll ever see.

Image may contain: 1 person, sittingNot many of the personalities in the video are still with us any longer, however Sonny Hopson (pictured at the top and to the left), who worked at 1340 WHAT in Philadelphia during his radio career and has appeared on the radio station WURD in recent years. Sonny is also still active on Facebook.

Chas Bronxson has provided a great history lesson through the video and documents the fact that President Bill Clinton essentially killed the kind of radio that made the difference in the Black Community. Remnants of the radio from years ago is still around. Just turn on Donnie Simpson, Tom Joyner, Lenny Green, Fred 'Bugsy' Buggs, and Michael Baisden. There's a mention of them as well.

The thing that makes radio so different today really began in the 1980's when radio consultants began telling station owners that listeners wanted to hear more music and less talk. That was across the board. What these radio consultants failed to realize is that listeners didn't tell them that they wanted less variety in music or less personality from the on-air personality or the radio presenter (if you're outside of the United States that's what you call them.) As you'll see in the video, there were many white DJ's that imitated the DJ's at the Black Radio stations. Some even worked at Black Radio stations. However many of them "borrowed" what they heard and became huge personalities on the larger white owned stations. Those personalities introduced Rock 'n Roll music and Top 40 Radio to mainstream teenage audiences, while Rhythm & Blues and Soul Music exploded among Black audiences. It was their rapid fire, pitter-patter, and high energy approach to radio that made them stars.

               Part 2

*Please note: entire original track contains (ex)plicit language. We've edited out that language on this post.

For more information on the artist and purchasing the track go to the YouTube Channel for the FULL video Chas Bronxson - R.I.P. [Radio's Incomparable Personalities] (Official Music Video)

The album is Group H.U.G.S. Chas Bronxson on Spotify or Apple Music and check out the tracks WBLS (What Bob Law Says) and The Demise of Black Radio.

Check out Sonny Hopson on 1340 WHAT

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