Lewis White, Oral History

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Lewis White, Oral History


Lewis White, a broadcaster with WJLD from 1958 to 1972, His show was a weekender characterized as a jazz show later on in his career; however, the BBRM has one of his shows from the early 1960’s that is a total mix. Later, White became a public relations person for Mayor Richard Arrington of Birmingham, left Birmingham in the 1990’s for New Orleans radio, and returned to Birmingham around 2000. Bob interviewed him while Lewis lived in New Orleans. He passed in 2016.


Lewis White
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


April 21, 1994


Katie Ray
Emily Bibb





Oral History Item Type Metadata


Bob Friedman


Lewis White


Transcript of audio snippet:

Bob Friedman: up on the mountain in the late 50s, was it still segregated, upstairs white, downstairs black?

Lewis White: No. No, when I got there, we, uh, we stayed in the same studio. Upstairs, the second floor. This was August of 58'. The staff then as I said was Alma, Trumon, Jesse Champion, Willie McKinstry, Lewis White, and I believe maybe Johnny Jive, I don't remember that, at that time. But the answer to your question is no, we had the same studio.

B: Mhmm. Johnny Jive came in around 60'.

L: Okay, well that's about right then.

B: Yeah.

L: Yeah.

B: So, Jesse, yourself, Alma, Willy, Truman, and Truman Puckett.

L: Uh huh. And a host of Sunday morning who were kind of regulars in a sense.

B: Uh huh, like...was there a guy named, um, Wills?

L: Mickey Wills. Mickey Wills was a regular announcer, I never met Mick. When I got there in 58', Mickey had left. The only thing I remember about him was he had a reputation among the management of being a thorough going kind of fellow. And there were people out in the community who liked him. He did do a Madame Lamar commercial, that's the reason I remember him so vividly.

B: What's a Madame Lamar commercial?

L: Madame Lamar was one of the psychics on the Bessemer super highway. You mean, we don't have those people anymore? Well, he had a commercial, Madame Lamar, so long after he left that place, see, they'd play it once or twice a day, and then she bought two spots a day. So for years, until at least the 60s, we would play Mickey Wills' Madame Lamar. That's how I knew him.

B: Right.

L: But he was considered an up and comer. Uh, not with as much potential as Roy Wood, but, when I got there, you know, he's gospel. At least the management thought he was something special.

B: Actually, in one of Rick's tapes, there's a show of his - yeah - and he's got this kid on the phone who's going, "Hello, Radio?", "Hello, Radio?" and people, and you don't hear the person talking on the radio, you don't hear the person. But, uh, it was striking, apparently he had some high school kids in.

L: He was an immensely popular man, .it might have been good for JLD radio in the long run, I don't know how long he stayed there. ..Jim Connely would tell me.what a marvelous man Mickey Wills was.


1962 Lewis White 001.jpg
Lewis White 2 min.mp3
Lewis White-Transcript.pdf


Lewis White and Bob Friedman, “Lewis White, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed March 22, 2018, http://thebbrm.org/document/76.

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