Andrew Dawkins, 2012 Oral History


Andrew Dawkins, 2012 Oral History


Rev. Andrew Dawkins (b. Feb 24, 1930, d. Dec 9, 2014), RnB announcer beginning his career early in 1950 at WBCO 1450 AM in Bessemer. BCO stood for Bessemer Cut-off. The station went all black staff in late 1951 and it was remarked locally that BCO actually meant “became colored overnight.” Andrew speaks about his early history, including moving to Huntsville in 1958 to help Leroy Garrett start WEUP AM. Leroy Garrett was the first African American to own a radio station in Alabama. Andrew left radio in 1970 and started a newspaper, “The Huntsvillian,” and later became a minister in Montgomery.


Andrew Dawkins
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


October 10, 2012


Joe Wright
Emily Bibb






Bob Friedman


Andrew "Sugar Daddy" Dawkins


Transcript of audio snippet:

How long did it take him to actually go on the air?

AD: He had everything set up in a trailer before we went to Huntsville and we worked maybe six weeks in Huntsville putting that trailer up, digging it in and putting up net wiring and all that, one of Mr. Ben’s nephews or somebody, Cyril Brenner, was good in engineering. Cyril came down and helped Leroy do the final work on the transmitter…most of it Leroy did himself.

BF: Wow. And that engineer’s name was Cyril Brenner?

AD: Brennen, Brennen, Cyril Brennen.

BF: Cyril Brennen, and he was related to the owner of VOK or what was his connection?

AD: He was related to the owner of VOK, WV…WVOK and also the guy who owned a country and western (could be Country Wrestling also) in Montgomery, Alabama.

BF: Ok.

AD: Very good engineer.

BF: Yeah.

AD: And Cyril got word that he was supposed to go on the air… and they had to do a test run so one night in the early… in late February we got the order we could run test run until 12 midnight. And we did that and we heard as far as Chicago, Illinois. Shelley and I were the only two on the air. That’s where we got our, people first started listening to us.

BF: What were you playing?

AD: Playing rhythm blues playing gospel just whatever we wanted to play at the time and… no commercials at all.

BF: Wow.

AD: Test just a test running.

BF: What frequency was it?

AD: 1600


Full interview: 54 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


WEUP - Dawkins and Garrett, 1967.jpg
Andrew Dawkins 2012 2 min snippet.mp3


Andrew Dawkins and Bob Friedman, “Andrew Dawkins, 2012 Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 24, 2024,

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Item Relations

This Item dcterms:relation Item: Andrew Dawkins, 1994 Oral History
This Item dcterms:relation Item: Don Solomon, Oral History