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WDIA-AM (Best Songs Best Talk)

WDIA-AM (Best Songs Best Talk)
Rating :10

Last updated:
2010-11-07 14:07:28
Country: United StatesListen to radio stations broadcasting from United States
City: Memphis
Address: 200 CONCORD PLAZA, SUITE 600, San Antonio, TX78216
AM (MHz): 1070
Genre: Black
Phone: 901-529-4300
Fax: 901-529-9557
Description: WDIA is an AM radio station in Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States of America. Its radio frequency is 1070 kHz. In 1962 it became the first U.S. radio station programmed by African-Americans, though its ownership was white.WDIA went on the air in June 1947 from studios on Union Avenue. The owners were John Pepper and Dick Ferguson, and the format was a mix of country and western and light pop. The station did not do well.Nat D. Williams, a syndicated columnist and high school teacher, started "Tan Town Jubilee" in October 1948. This was the first radio program in the United States to specifically target black listeners, and WDIA soon became the number 2 station in Memphis. After a switch to all-black programming, WDIA was the city's top station. In June 1954 WDIA was licensed to increase its power to 50,000 watts. Its powerful signal reached down into the Mississippi Delta’s dense African-American population and was heard from the Missouri bootheel to the Gulf coast. As a result WDIA was able to reach 10% of the African-American population in United States.WDIA took its community service responsibilities seriously from the start, and its slogan became, "50,000 Watts of Goodwill."Many music legends got their start at WDIA, including B.B. King and Rufus Thomas. Elvis Presley was greatly influenced by the station.B.B. King had a daily 15 minute show, sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, a first for a major advertiser and a local black show. King credits his days on the station for building his audience and launching his career describing the station as providing a sense of freedom.Williams ended his show in 1972 following a stroke, but Thomas continued to work at WDIA until he died in 2001. Bobby O'Jay became a popular host.WDIA played a major role in the redevelopment of Beale Street and in making possible the National Civil Rights Museum and Soulsville, USA.Clear Channel Communications bought WDIA in 1996. Changes and improvements made since then have kept the station popular in spite of competition from similar stations.At one time, the owners of WDIA back in the 1970s and 1980s also owned KDIA, a similar formatted station in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is now a Christian programmed station.An excellent resource for information about the early years of WDIA is a 1992 book by Louis Cantor, a former engineer at the station, "Wheelin' on Beale."

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