Ron January, Oral History


Ron January, Oral History


Ron January (b.March 13, 1953) As of the date of this post edit, Ron, is still on staff at (V94.9 FM-WATV 900) - where he has held almost every possible position - since 1978. Ron began broadcasting at Howard University in the early 70's and came back to Birmingham where he had his first AM broadcast at WJLD in 1976. Ron, a member of the Alabama Broadcasters Hall of Fame, has been a valuable source of radio history for the BBRM. He reflects on many of his contemporaries whom our staff did not have the opportunity to interview; hence, many more pictures.


Ron January
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


February 3, 2017


Emily L. Reynolds
Emily Bibb






Bob Friedman


Ron January


From audio snippet:

Ron January: Deacon McKinstry was the sales manager at this time, and it was football season, they had the high school playoffs – football, no it was basketball – and the high school championship was played in Tuscaloosa. This particular one was a big game that was going to be Parker versus Carver. Big rivalries in Alabama and it was going to be both of them in Tuscaloosa. Deacon Willie McKinstry went out and he sold the game. And the good thing about McKinstry – he sold the game completely out. Every sponsor was an African American-owned business. And we – before we left to go down to Tuscaloosa – we ran with Paul, the station gave Paul a car, it was a big Lincoln. So we were gonna ride with Paul and go down to Tuscaloosa. And we were all in the station, laughing, Deacon saying “Yeah! Everyone go and do a good job!” and it was – you know I think there was somebody else there. There was a preacher there that night too. I can’t think of his name. He was the preacher at First Baptist Church in Fairfield. A very powerful preacher back then – Nevins,... C. Howard Nevins was there. And we all left and went out and did the game. And this game was a very, very exciting game. And to what my knowledge was it that at the end this guy named “Too Tall” or whatever it was, he shot, had a chance for Parker to win and he missed the whole goal. And when it was over from what I heard from his wife and from some other people, Deacon said, “They sure called that game.” He went to bed and passed away. He said, “They sure did call that game.”

Bob Friedman: It was a good game?

RJ: Oh yeah. And that was it. The next morning I came to town and, I was doing Bishop Jasper Roby’s show – I don’t know if you remember him?

BF: I do.

RJ: Yeah, he had a live broadcast show and I was the guy that did the commercials.

BF: Yeah, we have the remote equipment.

RJ: Okay, so I did the show and I went in that morning and was on my way there, and that’s when I found out what they were saying over there: pray for Willie McKinstry, and found out that he had died at that time.

BF: Boy, that must have been a shock. Because he was really well-known.

RJ: Yes. Yes.


Audio snippet: 2 minutes
Full Interview: 1:47:58


30. Ron January at WJLD - 1976.jpg
January 2 min.mp3
Ron January.pdf
1985 ATV promo from 45 rpm record


Ron January and Bob Friedman, “Ron January, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed June 22, 2024,

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