Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers, Oral History

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Title

Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers, Oral History

Description

Carolyn “Michelle” Shivers (b. Sept 21, 1954). Michelle was an on air personality and, for a time, Music Director, at WJLD in the late 1970's. In this interview, she shares some of her recollections of the period that encompassed the 1976 WENN walk-out over the firing of GM Joe Lackey by owner AG Gaston, and the subsequent reconfiguration of the new WENN, organized in part by her husband Bob Shivers and Larry Hayes, whom Gaston had hired to replace Lackey.

Creator

Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers
Bob Friedman

Publisher

Birmingham Black Radio Museum

Date

June 4, 2019

Contributor

Emily L. Reynolds
Emily Bibb

Format

JPG
PDF
WAV

Language

English

Interviewer

Bob Friedman

Interviewee

Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers

Location

Southside Library, Birmingham AL

Transcription

Transcript from audio snippet:

Bob Friedman: So where are you in ’76?

Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers: I’m still in Little Rock. Still in Little Rock.

BF: So you’re hearing about it. Did Gaston come up to see you guys?

CMS: Uh-huh. Gaston and his wife, Minnie. That’s her name, Minnie.

BF: Okay. Yes. Yes.

CMS: And so, they came up and stayed with us for – actually, they stayed with Larry and his wife. Bob and I, we had an apartment. Larry and his wife had a house. And they stayed for a few days and we all just got together and everything. And that was his pitch to Larry, is “I want you to come down. Y’all come down and I want you to start this radio station up for me.” Obviously he’d heard some great things. So that’s when we packed up, moved back to Birmingham, and I was kicking and crying like a baby. I did not want to come back.

BF: Why?

CMS: I loved it there. I had carved a life there. It was just great.

BF: You mean being on the air?

CMS: No, I wasn’t on the air at that time I was just a little girl, a housewife –

BF: You were happy.

CMS: I was happy there with my friends. I met a lot of people there. ConFunkShun, I met them there. You know? I met a lot of people. But anyway, we got back here, and that’s when they came in and just – they actually brought that format.

BF: Is ConFunkShun from Little Rock? Is that why you say that?

CMS: No, they’re not from Little Rock. They were just there playing.

BF: So, you met –

CMS: I met them there, yeah. Right. Uh-huh. Very good friends with them. But when they came back, Larry and Bob – you know, of course they were inseparable, Bob was his sidekick – they brought that format back. Whatever format that was at KALO they brought it back here. KALO was a very progressive station. It wasn’t like the old-timey WENN Radio station here in the South. There it was very progressive.

BF: What does that mean to you, progressive?

CMS: Progressive? It means that, you know, they weren’t, you know, like the ringing of the cowbells or the screaming over the air. You know what I mean? It wasn’t like that. It was like straight radio. Like almost like Top-40, but in a Black market. So that was kind of new, that I had never heard before coming from Birmingham, right? Well, I mean a little bit we did 'cause I grew up in that hippie era with Father Tree and all of that and I was aware. But up there in KALO it was different. So, they brought that format back here

Duration

Full Interview: 47:37 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes

Citation

Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers and Bob Friedman, “Carolyn "Michelle" Shivers, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed September 23, 2021, https://thebbrm.org/item/542.

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