35.268055555556 - 90.0175Koordinaten: 35 ° 16 ' 5 " N, 90 ° 1' 3 " W

WDIA is a medium wave radio stations from Memphis, Tennessee. It was 1949, the first radio station in the United States, designed the program in the black and they turned on just such a crowd. WDIA designated in the mid- 1950s as " The Mother of All station Negroes " or as "The Goodwill Station". WDIA established for a long time as a medium of the African American community in the mid- southern states, just as it contributed decisively through his music selection for the dissemination of rhythm 'n' blues and rock 'n ' roll.

First years and the decision for a "Black Radio"

The station took its operation in 1947, and sent to a weak station of 250 watts, the then usual mixture Country, light classics and catchy pop music. Compared with usual stations with a similar concept and stronger transmitters to WDIA could not prevail and resulted in the first years of a niche in Memphis. The then revolutionary attempt only came to pass, as they were not able to sell the station for an offer of $ 70,000.

First black DJ at WDIA was the teacher and proven Beale Street Moderator Nat D. Williams, which began on 25 October 1948 with the mission Tan Town Jamboree and later Brown America Speaks moderated. Although the transmitter cable words like black or negro avoided in order not to provoke the white ruling class in Memphis, Williams understood as explicitly black mouthpiece of his community. Already in his pre- radio time Williams had written in the Memphis World regularly to the problems of blacks at that time strictly segregated South. Even on the radio he thematized then segregation, differences in pay, working conditions of blacks as well as police brutality against blacks. At the same time, however, showed the white owner Jon Pepper and Bert Ferguson a few years potential advertisers explicitly indicated that they " possibly could get black clientele. " According to ads on WDIA


The success of this mission animinierte the white owner Jon Pepper and Bert Ferguson of WDIA hire more Black DJs and align their program on this handset layer. In autumn 1949 Black moderated all shipments, the complete program was aimed at this group of listeners. A few months later WDIA was the most listened to station in the city, yet in 1949 other channels like WEDR in Birmingham, Alabama began to copy the concept, with WERD in Atlante behann in the same year, the first radio station that also had black owners. By 1955, a three-digit number of radio stations that used primarily at a black audience in the U.S. economy. The broadcasts are moderated exclusively by African-Americans, almost all previously had no experience in the radio business and so avoided the usual conventions. They came from the scene in Memphis and remained closely associated with it. All leadership positions, however, remained in the hands of whites.

Programming 1949-1957

Among other things, launched BB King, Rufus Thomas, Martha Jean Steinberg, Bobby Bland and Arnold Moore their careers at WDIA. The station broadcast since 1954 on a 50,000 - watt transmitter and thus was accessible over a larger portion of the southern states. During the day, the program reached about 300,000 as blacks, at night, when the radio waves further contributed, over a million. The program and its DJs was the model for the war veterans Dewey Phillips, who was to play a similar program at a white radio station. With the help of lots of boldness and a burning trash can, he managed a night Moderator positions at WHBQ in Memphis to grab, where he hung a program similar to WDIA. In this show, he played a few years later then the first Elvis Presley single, which was on the radio. Elvis himself appeared in 1956 at a festival of WDIA. In the segregated south each time a presentation, which required a lot of personal courage, behind the scenes told Elvis that WDIA his main contact with rhythm 'n' blues was, as it was then almost impossible as a white man to come to the places in which this music was played.

After the sale in 1957

The station broadcasts still today. However, Pepper Ferguson and sell the station in 1957 for one million dollars in Nerd Broadcasting, which hosted nationwide "black" radio station, after a relatively uniform concept. The transmitter thus lost the close connection to the scene of Memphis and its role as a talent scout. Although far less common than in previous years, however, the station was able to stand up for the interests of the African- American community. For example, was the rescue of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated, and its transformation into a civil rights museum, largely due to the WDIA DJ Chuck Scruggs. Even today it is received on AM 1070 in the Memphis area, but since 1996 has been part of the radio chain, Clear Channel Communications.