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Going Black: A Fresh New Radio Documentary

Hosted by legendary Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) music producer Kenny Gamble, GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO, will examine the legacy of Black radio in Philadelphia with a special focus on the legendary radio station WDAS.

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. Stations like WDAS in Philadelphia, WDIA in Memphis, WWRL and WBLS in NYC, WHUR and WOL in DC, WERD in Atlanta, WVON in Chicago, WLAC in Nashville, WMRY in New Orleans, KWBR in San Francisco… featured radio personalities who spun records you’d never hear played on mainstream radio.

These radio stations were pipelines into the Black community, the place to go to get news that the mainstream media either ignored or refused to cover. GOING BLACK is the story of an entire genre of music that would have gone undiscovered. It also provides a context for the history of civil rights in the city of Philadelphia.

Listeners to GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO will hear first-person accounts of civil rights events and rare archival audio of Black radio air checks from the 60s and 70s, including a 1964 interview with Malcolm X just a few months before he was assassinated. The documentary also includes a soundtrack featuring R&B, jazz, gospel, and soul hits from the 50s through the 80s, with an emphasis on songs from the Sound of Philadelphia.

Listen and learn more here.

Matt Bingay is the Executive Director and General Manager for WMRA and WEMC.