Shelley "Black Pope" Pope


Shelley "Black Pope" Pope


Box 7 Folder 21: "Moving along to folder 21 are three pictures of Shelley Pope, two headshots, and one of him rising above the city skyline. We project both to be around 1978. Shelley Pope was known as the Black Pope and was a very colorful figure in the ‘70s. Ron January and I attended his funeral in the 90's and remembered how Dave Sea from the Temptations Review sang. He was great. Paul had left WATV for WJLD in 1977 and then Pope, who had been at WBUL, came along. Johnston had the idea to build a power house station that could take on WENN AM/FM. Ron reports the line-up was Paul, Ron, Pope, Paul, Pope and finally McKinstry at 8 P and then automation. Pope was a screamer and January remembers Pope breaking VU meters on the board. Competition between Pope and Paul was such that Pope had a studio built in his home so he did not have to be in the station with Paul. Paul had received a Continental and Pope received a Thunderbird as inducements to switch to WJLD. Pope had his name - "Pope" - painted on the side. Donated by McNair Studios."


b7f21a - Shelly - The Black Pope - Pope - WJLD 1978.jpg
b7f21b - The Black Pope rising over Birmingham - 1978.jpg



“Shelley "Black Pope" Pope,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 15, 2024,

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Leonard Smith

Wow, just thinking about it makes me laugh. I remember my mom, she loved Shelley Pope. She almost screamed the word Shelly out of her mouth, I do remember that he lived in the lower 9th ward in Orleans off of a street called Galvis Street and Saint Maurice ,right near the corner. I think it was off of Galvis upstairs White House and I remember walking over there one day in the neighborhood and someone said ,you know Shelly Pope lives right there upstairs . He had this charisma on the radio and he had these phrases I can't remember, but he was he was somebody to remember;Shelly Pope,yeah. 

Super User

I am a writer/Researcher born and raised in New Orleans and listened to Pope's show regularly. I loved music but unfortunately did not have the presence of mind to record any of the broadcasts. Attempting to write a book on Pope,and trying to interview anyoe who knew him,interacted with him,etc. Also seeking anyone who may indeed have recorded any of his programs on cassette/reel to reel,etc. I would like to interview the person who attended Pope's funeral along with anothr gentleman named Ron January. Hoping to hear from someone soon. Thank You.

-republished with identifying information removed

Super User

OMG! Shelley Pope was our very favorite Radio DJ....on WBOK, 1230 am, New Orleans! I was in high school, in 1968-1969 and we were all totally taken by Shelley Pope! I can remember rushing home to listen to him....he was so dynamic! My sister and I would spend the evening dialing the number to the radio station trying to reach him!

Here it is 2023.....and I still remember how excited we were to listen to Shelley Pope!

-republished with identifying information removed

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