Rick Upshaw, Oral History


Rick Upshaw, Oral History


Rick Upshaw was born and raised in Chattanooga and is a graduate of Howard School. Rick Upshaw was also a talented singer and was quite an expert at piano and organ. He began his musical studies at the Ken Keese Studios in Chattanooga and studied as well in Chicago and New York, and made several recordings for Gospel and Jet Stream Records. After initial radio experience at WNOO in Chattanooga, Rick traveled to Birmingham and WJLD. While at WJLD, he and Lewis White interviewed Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth on the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. That recording is also in the Oral History collection. While only at WJLD for the period 1966-1967, in the 1990's Rick supplied us with several 7 inch tape reels from his WJLD days, which included shows from Lewis White and Ed McClure as well as his own. That kind of donation is rare and we are thankful for his contribution.


Bob Friedman
Rick Upshaw


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


Jeff Hirschy
Emily Bibb






Oral History




Bob Friedman


Rick Upshaw


Transcript of audio snippet:

Bob Friedman: but it never dawned on us because I mean Lewis was doing the Mayor’s Report every week….

Rick Upshaw: uh huh

Bob: I mean Lewis White’s voice is very well known in Birmingham….

Rick: Oh yeah, yeah

Bob: And so umm, every little inflection every little bit of it uh was like Lewis so that’s why.

Rick: Yeah, because see, I was there when Lew..see we used to simulcast….

Bob: Right…

Rick: With W-E-N-N, with WENN in Birmingham.

Bob: How did he simulcast with WENN?

Rick: Oh very simple. You had a furniture store there that was, ah, I’m trying to think of the name of that thing. They had, we had the same…..

Bob: Mr King?

Rick: Huh?

Bob: King Credit

Rick: No, it wasn’t King Credit, wasn’t Easy Credit, I remember that one but no, this was a furniture store. Ummm…..over there…..(Inaudible)


Rick: There was this furniture store. And what it was..they..there was a religious, it was on every Sunday morning. If you go back, if you can find those logs. It was this same program, every Sunday morning. I think it came on at 8 o’clock. What we would do is the program would run and then at the same preset time we would cut the program, I would read there commercial, at the same time over at WENN the exact same commercial was being read by another announcer.

Bob: uh huh

Rick: And I could hear him on my headset and he could hear me on his and we always finished up at the same time if not one would slow down and wait for the other then we would go back to the broadcast.

Bob: So, you both, you both stations…..

Rick: Sokol…something like that

Bob: Both stations had eh people at the store?

Rick: No, no

Bob: No….

Rick: We were in the studio.

Bob: Ok

Rick: And the program came live from somewhere….

Bob: Eh hmmm

Rick: I think it was remote but at 10 after the hour we would both stop. The program would stop. We had the cues there….

Bob: Right

Rick: And I would read the commercial and he would read the same commercial.

Original Format



Full interview: 22 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes




Bob Friedman and Rick Upshaw, “Rick Upshaw, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed February 24, 2024, https://thebbrm.org/item/7.

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>