Sunday, March 29, 2015

'Going Black' documentary tells story of Philly Soul radio

'The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio,' in a new Mighty Writers radio doc.

'Going Black' documentary tells story of Philly Soul radio

In 2011, at an after-school workshop about Black History month at Mighty Writers, the Philadelphia non-profit that teaches children how to write, Nefeesah Cannady posed a question.

"Ever since I've been little, I've been hearing about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks," Cannady, then a junior at Central High School said. She went on, remembers Mighty Writers founder Tim Whitaker: "I know everything about those people, they were great Americans. But how come I don't know anything about the black Philadelphians that came before me?"

That question, says Whitaker, "triggered this idea about all these pioneering black DJs from the 1950s up untl 1979 that are all but forgotten." 

Forgotten no more. 'Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio' focuses on African American jocks like Douglas "Jocko" Henderson, Georgie Woods, Sonny Hopson, Louise Williams and Jimmy Bishop, as well as their white cohorts such as Joe "Butterball" Tamburro, Harvey Holiday and Bob Klein, the general manager of WDAS (1480-AM), the white-owned station that faithfully served the black community in Philadelphia from the 1950s to 1970s. 

The 2 hour show, which was written and produced by Yowei Shaw and Alex Lewis and is hosted by Sound of Philadelphia architect Kenny Gamble, will air on WXPN (88.5-FM) at 8 p.m. tonight, February 3. It will also air on WHYY (90.9-FM) on Feburary 16 at 6 p.m. and on February 22 at 2 p.m.

Listen to a Kenny Gamble soundclip below. More on Mighty Writers and Mighty Radio here

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Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic
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