“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Gulfport in Harrison County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Broadcasting the Blues

Broadcasting the Blues Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2015
1. Broadcasting the Blues Marker (Front)
Blues radio took off in the post-World War II era with the arrival of rhythm & blues programming. A new era for blues radio began in 2000 when Rip Daniels, a Gulfport native, launched the American Blues Network (ABN) at this site. Using satellite and Internet technology, ABN provided a mix of modern and vintage blues to listeners around the world.

Radio emerged as the primary medium for the dissemination of music, advertisements, and news to the African American community during the 1940s and ‘50s. In Mississippi, the earliest radio stations to broadcast black music, usually in the form of local groups singing gospel or traditional harmonies live in the studios, included WQBC in Vicksburg, WGRM in Greenwood, and WJPC in Greenville. In the 1940s, Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2 (Rice Miller) brought the blues to audiences throughout the Delta via his live broadcasts from KFFA in Helena, Arkansas, and later from WROX in Clarksdale, WAZF in Yazoo City, and other stations. Among the first African American radio announcers in Mississippi were Early Wright, Jerome Stampley, Bruce Payne, William Harvey, and Charles Evers.

In 1949 WDIA in Memphis became the first station in the country to go to an all-black format. By the early ‘50s a number of Mississippi radio stations were broadcasting
Broadcasting the Blues Marker (Rear) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2015
2. Broadcasting the Blues Marker (Rear)
the blues as a component of their wide-ranging program schedules, which were designed to reach entire local communities rather than specializing in certain genres or formats. The buying power of Mississippi’s large African American population spurred more blues and rhythm & blues air time, which was often sponsored by local businesses advertising groceries, furniture, or medicinal tonics. On September 17, 1954, WOKJ in Jackson became the first Mississippi station to institute full-time black-oriented programming.

Not until WORV went on the air in Hattiesburg on June 7, 1969, however, did Mississippi have an African American-owned station. When radio veteran and blues promoter Stan “Rip” Daniels launched WJZD radio in Gulfport on March 20, 1994, it became the first African American-owned FM station on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. According to the 2007 Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook, Mississippi had more stations (thirteen) regularly broadcasting under a blues format than any other state. In addition, specialized blues programs have been aired on various college, public, rock, oldies, and urban contemporary stations.

Daniels took the blues concept a step further on October 1, 2000, when the American Blues Network transmitted its first satellite signals from the WJZD studios. Adopting a primary format of “party blues and oldies,” the ABN
Broadcasting the Blues Marker (Closeup) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2015
3. Broadcasting the Blues Marker (Closeup)
Click on photo for closeup of photos.
secured affiliations with dozens of stations across the country and put its programs on the internet as well. Daniels’s concert promotions also ensured support of the blues and southern soul performers on the Gulf Coast “chitlin’ circuit.”
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Commission.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 30° 26.013′ N, 89° 2.15′ W. Marker is in Gulfport, Mississippi, in Harrison County. Marker is on Southpark Drive 0.1 miles south of Seaway Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10211 Southpark Drive, Gulfport MS 39503, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Gulf Coast College (approx. 2.4 miles away); Handsboro Presbyterian Church (approx. 2.5 miles away); Handsboro (approx. 2.5 miles away); Gulf Coast Military Academy (approx. 3.6 miles away); Mississippi City Courthouse (approx. 3.7 miles away); Memorialization of Jefferson Davis (approx. 3.7 miles away); St. Mark's Episcopal Church (approx. 3.7 miles away); Gulfport Boogie (approx. 4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Gulfport.
Also see . . .
Radio Station WJZD image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2015
4. Radio Station WJZD
A 100% African-American owned radio station offering blues and oldies music. Includes programming information, staff profiles and community information. The People's station.
 Mississippi Blues Trail website. (Submitted on February 23, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
Looking from marker north towards Seaway Road. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2015
5. Looking from marker north towards Seaway Road.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 200 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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