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Tonight on XPN, hear Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, narrated by Kenny Gamble

Photo courtesy of Temple University Urban Archives
Photo courtesy of the Temple University Urban Archives

Tonight at 8 p.m., WXPN will debut, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, a two-hour documentary chronicling the legacy of black radio with a focus on the legendary WDAS in Philadelphia. The documentary was made possible in part with support from the Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge and production support from WXPN.

Going Black showcases how vibrant radio was and continues to be, the electrifying soulful musical sounds of a culture, and the legendary pioneering DJs who held listeners’ imaginations captive. Equally important as the music, the documentary tells the story of how, starting in the 1950s, black radio stations became the pulse of African-American communities and a megaphone for people of color during the civil rights and Black Power movements. As local radio stations were pipelines into the black community, the place to get news that the mainstream media either ignored or refused to cover, WDAS served as an outlet for that history in the making.

Narrated by legendary producer Kenny Gamble, it features interviews with many of the DJ’s from WDAS and the Philly area including “Jocko” Henderson, Georgie Woods, Louise Williams, Jimmy Bishop, Jerry Blavat, Harvey Holiday, Sonny Hopson, and Butterball, rare archival air checks from the 60s and 70s, and a soundtrack that includes classic Philly R&B soul, and jazz. The show was produced under the auspices of Mighty Writers, the Philadelphia nonprofit that teaches writing to city kids.

Below, sample some excerpts from tonight’s show.

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Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio

fm1053_wdasuIn February, Mighty Writers, in collaboration with WXPN, presents Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, a two hour documentary chronicling the legacy of Black radio with a focus on the legendary WDAS in Philadelphia.

Those of us who grew up listening to WDAS in the Sixties and Seventies, like myself, remember that the station served not only as a major showcase in Philly for R&B and soul music, but was very engaged with the local community on issues around social, cultural and political change. According to one of the producers, Yowei Shaw, Going Black is “the story of Black radio in Philadelphia, of a music that would have gone undiscovered, of Civil Rights and progress in the African-American community, and of how the radio medium has changed in the last century.”

The documentary is hosted by the legendary Kenny Gamble and features interviews with many of the DJ’s from WDAS, rare archival air checks from the 60s and 70s, and a soundtrack that includes classic Philly R&B, soul, and jazz.

Two of the DJ’s interviewed was Harvey Holiday, who is currently a DJ on WOGL, and Doug Henderson, Jr., who was on WDAS and followed in the footsteps of his father, Jocko Henderson, at the station. Below, listen to a couple of segments from the forthcoming show featuring Harvey talking about some of his time at WDAS and Doug talking about his dad.

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Mighty Radio: The Sounds of Philadelphia Soul has launched!

jocko-LP
Mighty Radio, the “Sounds of Philadelphia Soul”, is on the air and the web. Partially funded by the Knight Foundation, Mighty Radio includes an audio documentary project currently in production called Sound And Fury, an internet radio station, and a website honoring the legacy of Philadelphia’s Black broadcasters, the music they played and the stations they worked at, circa 1950-1979. Produced in association with Mighty Writers, Mighty Radio celebrates the contributions of some of Philly’s greatest and most legendary DJ’s including “Jocko” Henderson, Georgie Woods (the “Man With The Goods”), Jimmy Bishop, and many others. Find out more about Mighty Radio here. Below, enjoy some Philly classics.