Paul "Tall Paul" White and Shelley "The Playboy" Stewart, Oral History


1979 - Paul in White Suit - head shot.jpg
1960 - Shelley Stewart WENN HEAD SHOT.jpg
Shelley - Paul 2 min.mp3
Shelley and Paul.pdf


Paul "Tall Paul" White and Shelley "The Playboy" Stewart, Oral History


Paul White (b. Aug. 16, 1936; d. Aug. 19, 2001) a classic discussion on WATV 900 AM Radio Birmingham, between two iconic Birmingham radio announcers. Paul White, commonly known as Tall Paul, and Shelly Stewart, known as Shelley the Playboy. Paul began his radio career in Huntsville with WEUP broadcasting Alabama A&M games, and was recruited in 1961 to be a sports and news broadcaster on WENN Birmingham, broadcasting Miles College games. He provided news and sports on Shelley Stewart’s morning show and later took over that slot as a morning man when Stewart left WENN for WJLD in 1962. White went on to become the community’s major civil rights focal point on radio during the 1963 children’s movement. In the 1970’s, he moved to WATV briefly and then WJLD until he retired in 1992. Under doctor’s care at the VA, Paul was invited by Stewart to be on the air as part of Stewart’s efforts to give past radio personalities opportunities to speak again with the community. The love and respect shown to Paul from community callers can readily be discerned in their voices.


Shelley Stewart
Paul White


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


March 16, 1999


Bob Friedman
Anna Wallace
Emily Bibb






Shelley Stewart


Paul White


Transcript from audio snippet:

Shelley Stewart: ow did it feel now, you’ve not been on the air how many years now?
Paul White: I was on the air- Last time I was on the a- on the air was, uh, uh, in 1992.
SS: Yes, sir.
PW: Was my last year.
SS: And Paul, what was your beginning year in radio?
PW: My beginning year, Shelley, was, uh, I wanna make this brief here because I could tell you, it’s a long story, but th-the late Virgil L. Harris was, uh, sponsoring, uh, uh, advertising, as he still is now on WATV, and at that time I was, uh- you were down at WENN, and uh, what happened, W, uh, E-N-N wanted to carry the Miles game, I was broadcasting Alabama A&M University football games, and, to shorten the story, what happened, uh, Mr.- late- Mr. Virgil Harris of Protective Industrial Insurance Company wanted to- this Miles College game picked up by y’all. Y’all picked it up, and, uh, I did the play-by-play, and so, uh, Joe Lackey and all the other powers that be down there, uh, had me to come down for a job, and I did my first broadcast on your show as- do- as news- as a newscaster, which, that was my forte then, as a newscaster, and I would do sports in your program. And that’s how I got my start. Now-
SS: And what year was that, Paul?
PW: It was, uh, back in the 60’s, I can’t tell you-
SS: Well if I tell you, if I tell you the year, Paul, uh, would you remember?
PW: Yes!
SS: If I told you that it was Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-One?
PW: You’re absolutely correct.
SS: That was your first year here in Birmingham broadcasting with me.
PW: You’re absolutely correct, I was- I was- uh, definitely, uh, uh, that was ’61, that is absolut- you’ve got a good memory! And, uh, uh, what happened, Shelley? I will tell you what happened: ah, as I understand it, you was offered a job a-at K-A-T-Z, St. Louis. Is that right or wrong?
SS: Uh, I think I was offered a job an-and then I- what happened, Paul? You know, this is history.
PW: What happened was, uh, uh, they didn’t have anybody i-in that uh, uh, morning drive and evening program, which you’re doing now. So they threw me, Reverend Faush and Joe Lackey..
SS: And changed your name.
PW: and changed my name.
SS: To Tall Paul.
PW: Tall Paul, y’all. And the rest, of course, is history, but I was scared to death.


Full interview: 51 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Shelley Stewart and Paul White, “Paul "Tall Paul" White and Shelley "The Playboy" Stewart, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 5, 2022,

Output Formats

We welcome your comments! Please do not include private or sensitive information as your comment will be made public. BBRM will keep your email on hand so that we can stay in touch with future plans and programs of the BBRM.

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

Social Bookmarking