Willa Lee "Honey" Brown, Oral History


Willa Lee "Honey" Brown, Oral History


Honey Brown (Willa Lee Davis) (b. approx 1930) a broadcaster with early WBCO (1951-1952), and Birmingham native sharing her memories of being on the air and working at the station and meeting others in other local stations, including Bob Umbach. She’s accompanied by a friend, Thomas (perhaps her husband). – interviewed early in the BBRM process, so we’re looking at pictures together to get reactions from Honey.


Honey Brown (Willa Lee Davis)
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


March 08, 1994


Thomas Kulovitz
Emily Bibb








Bob Friedman


Honey Brown (Willa Lee Davis)


Transcription from audio snippet:

Honey Brown: Bruce and them would always say it. “Honey Brown. The sweetest gal in town.”
Bob Friedman: Now when was your air shift at WBCO?
H: You mean the time?
B: Yeah, when did you go on the air?
H: Ok. I went on the air, I think, about 11. Right after Erskine’s religious program so I think it was 11. It’s been a long time. I think it was about 11 because I had a program from 11 to 11:15 giving out recipes.
B: Uh huh.
H: 11:15 until about 12 or 12:30, you know, it was just sounds…music.
B: What kind of music did you play?
H: Oh, beautiful music, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Eckstine, all the old beautiful songs.
B: Uh huh. Mostly jazz artists?
H: Sometimes on Sunday, ‘cause I had a long program on Sunday, and I would play-just mix it, you know, but during the weekday, because they would get enough blues after I would get off the air, so I played, you know, sentimental music.
B: Mmhmm. Mmhmm. And how did you come to be at BCO? When did you start? Do you remember?
H: I can’t remember really. I really can’t. I can’t give you a date, a year. We looking at this paper. 1952. So I had been there a year or maybe longer before that paper came out.
B: Mmhmm.
H: Mmhmm.
B: And you remember William Faush?
H: Yes. I started working with William before Erskine came in.
B: And you remember other people? Who else was there at the time?
H: I can’t remember. I really can’t. I can’t remember anyone but William, and I don’t know.
B: Now this paper mentions…How did you get started at BCO?
H: William Faush called one night. Made a mistake. Dialed the wrong number, and I answered the phone. And he said “what’s your name” and I told him my name was Willa Lee Davis then. No…yeah, Davis, and he said “ooh, your voice is so pretty. How would you like to work in a radio station?” And I thought he was kidding, because I really had never heard that radio station.
B: Uh huh.
H: And I said “where are you?” and he said “In Bessemer.” And he asked me could I come down there, would my uncle carry me down there the following day,


Full interview: 28 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Honey Brown WBCO 1952-cropped.jpg
Honey Brown 2 min.mp3


Honey Brown (Willa Lee Davis) and Bob Friedman, “Willa Lee "Honey" Brown, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 13, 2024, https://thebbrm.org/item/93.

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