Bobby Hayden, Oral History


Bobby Hayden, Oral History


Bobby Hayden (b.May 28, 1937) Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Bobby was very active with the sports program at Alabama A&M and worked closely with Paul White (who would become "Tall Paul" in Birmingham at WENN 1320 AM) who would broadcast A&M games on WEUP 1600 AM. Bobby also gave tours later on in life at the Underground Railroad safe house in Huntsville. In 1963, Hayden was one of the first African-American presidential honor guards. He served for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, along with six other African-Americans who referred to themselves as "The Magnificent Seven.'' In this interview, Bobby talks about his relationship with Paul White and the overcoming of obstacles and racism while pioneering Black radio sports broadcasting. He also speaks of Paul White's relationship with Leroy Garrett, founder and owner of WEUP.

Also present: Dr. Roy McRay

Second sound file describes the first radio broadcast between Alabama A&M and Lane College (Jackson, TN). Bobby Hayden claims this to be the first radio broadcast of two contending HBCUs. This was the first A&M Homecoming game (1959) to be broadcasted over WEUP Huntsville. Broadcasting initially began with "away" games.

This recording was first played at the Alabama Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame induction ceremony for broadcaster Paul "Tall Paul" White on August 13, 2022.
In black and white image, the woman to Paul's far right was Willie Mae Butler, an Administrative Assistant in the Alabama A&M Athletic Department. She represented the A&M Administration on the broadcasting team but did no broadcasting. The young man in the picture to Paul's immediate right was a spotter for the opposition, the South Carolina State (Orangeburg, SC HBCU) football team.


Bobby Hayden
Roy McRay
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


Oral history recorded November 12, 2016
Alabama A&M story recorded August 7, 2022


Margo Monks
Emily L. Reynolds
Emily Bibb






Bob Friedman


Bobby Hayden


Transcript of Audio Snippet:

Bob Friedman: And where, and so the picture that people can see is a picture of Paul broadcasting at A&M, right?
Bobby Hayden: He was the man who developed, founded the program at Alabama A&M, which is the first of all historical Black colleges in the United States. In two years, Paul White had the largest broadcast hookup – other than Notre Dame – in the United States.
BF: Now that’s quite a mouthful. So…
BH: He had eleven stations playing in two years.
BF: He had… You’re saying that –
BH: The first year of broadcasting he broadcasted eight games, home and road. A&M was the first Black college to broadcast a football game – home, road, day, or night in 1959. It was Paul White who led the way, who gathered all the sponsors and all the production. The most unique thing about Paul was at that time he didn’t drive.
BF: He didn’t drive.
BH: He didn’t own a car, nor could he drive. He’s broadcasting the football at Alabama A&M over two-years span of time – cost him his job at WEUP. He and Garrett fell out over the broadcast about the second year. It was so successful the first year, Woody Anderson was one of his sponsors. Woody Anderson bought in with the idea of giving him an automobile to pay for his time on the air and that created a problem ‘cause Garrett wanted Paul White to sell the car to give him the money. That was his pay for being one of the sponsors of A&M football. He gave Paul a car, then Paul had to learn how to drive.
BF: Now Bob, back in the day because I see that it’s obvious that you’re close to Paul from the picture – are you hearing all of these stories from Paul?
BH: No. I was part of all the show!
Transcript of Video:

Bobby Hayden: And one day's time I met the man who wrote the order. I met the man who refused to pass on the order. I met the man who passed the order on. I met the man who carried it out. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnston. All in one lifetime, all in one day.


Full Interview: 27:40 minutes
Audio Snippet: 2 minutes
Video: 22 seconds


Snapshot 2 (7-15-2020 9-14 PM).png
Bobby Hayden 2 min.mp3
Hayden blurb.mp4
Bob Hayden.pdf
Bobby Hayden on the first AL A&M v. Lane broadcast
A&M Football Broadcast


Bobby Hayden, Roy McRay, and Bob Friedman, “Bobby Hayden, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 24, 2024,

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Item Relations

This Item dcterms:relation Item: WEUP Broadcast Team, 1959 A & M Homecoming Game