ABOUT DR. WILLIAM “BILL” GAY
It was forty-eight years ago in 1971 when I embarked on my radio and television career; who knew that someday I would reflect on the fact that I was a trailblazer who played a major role in race relations by being the first person of color who would be hired at these major media radio and televisions stations. I consider it a blessing to be an eyewitness to the change in history and how my small contribution of positive race relations has allowed the advancement and the opportunities for some many people of color who are now employed in various positions in these organizations.
It all began for me in 1971 when I relocated from New York city to Baltimore Maryland, during a time period when race played an important role as to whether you could be hired at a white radio station. I ultimately, had to solicit the help of the Urban League which was a local civil rights organization in order to hired as a radio engineer Audio Board Operator at the number one top 40 white radio station in the market WCAO-AM-FM Plough Broadcasting Pikesville, Maryland. I was the first black hired at the station. During my tenure I worked with the late great Johnny Dark and Jack Edwards. It was after a year when the station hired the first black on-air news reporter Mr. Ernie Boston based on my job performance. I later pursued other broadcast opportunities and went to work Post-Newsweek station WTOP -TV-AM -FM 40 Brandywine, NW Washington, DC in 1973.
I was the first black hired to worked in the position’s Traffic Engineer Master Control and Radio Board Operator. I was employed with the station when our CEO Ms. Katherine Graham donated WTOP-FM 96.3 to Howard University the station later became WHUR and is still viable today. I was very fortunate to have had an opportunity to have played a role in assisting with the studio construction to bring the station on the air in order to broadcast programming. I was hired as the first black on-air DJ at the top 40 white station WHMC 1160 AM Gaithersburg Maryland which was outside of Washington DC. The program director gave me the air name “Bob Kinney”. I relocated to Atlanta in 1974 after being hired the Legendary James “Alley” Pat to work at WERD 860 AM the station was bought by Radio -AD INC, and the radio license changed call letters to WXAP 860 AM. I was, at that time, the youngest black Chief Engineer in America. I was also the Program Director and Music Director.
During my tenure, I was able implement and produced the first local radio station Jazz concert program at Chastain Park Amphitheater which was broadcast on the WTTG TV 17 Super-station in Atlanta Georgia. I also created the “Black Action News” Newscasts, and I implemented free live jazz and gospel music concerts in collaborations with the City of Atlanta Parks Department in various local community locations for the enjoyment of the general public. I was later hired by Mr. Blake Hawkins to become the first black Chief Engineer of white radio station in Atlanta Georgia the station was WIIN AM it was there that I had the great privileged of working with the late great “Skinny” Bobby Harper. I later worked at other various radio stations in and around Atlanta Georgia I was a Jazz DJ on WRFG 89.3 FM WXLL 1310 AM Gospel R&B DJ, WYZE 1480AM R&B DJ. I was grateful to worked at a country station even though I could not answer the phones while I was on the air because management feared that white women might become overly friendly. I was hired by James M. Wilder as the first black on-air DJ WCOB 1080 AM- and Country Station WBIE FM 101.5 Marietta Georgia. I was later employed as a Gospel DJ on WBUS “The Bus” 96.7 Newnan Georgia. I later worked at WCLK 91.9 FM as a “Oldies “Heart & Soul DJ for 12 years; during my tenure I was able to broadcast live from a remote location to participant with the late Hosea Williams during his feed the Hungry appeals. I am currently the DJ and owner of my own internet radio station WXAP MAGIC 100.COM.
The culmination of my radio achievements is bringing the National Radio Black Hall of Fame to be the home of WERD Museum at the location where my radio career in at Atlanta began over 40 years ago at 330 Auburn Ave in Atlanta Georgia. The museum will serve as an international showcase to the world of the historical contributions of black men and women in radio. In addition, to my radio achievements I have been privileged to be the television Producer Director/Host Nouveau 1991 – 92 A Public Affairs Television Series for WPBA Channel 30, for the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, “B.J. and Friends” a Arts and Entertainment Special for WXIA 11 Alive NBC Affiliate, and Japan Fest ’88 a Intercultural Television Special also for the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. I continue to produce educational, news, public affairs, Arts and Entertainment, Commercials, Radio and Television featured programs.
- Bachelor of Arts: Communication, Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ
- Master of Arts: Major in Organizational Leadership Shorter University Riverdale, Georgia
- Doctor of Education: Specialization in Educational Leadership and Management Capella University Minneapolis, MN
- Best Old Jazz DJ
- DJ Community Service Award
- Community Service Award from President Barack Obama
- Two Emmy Awards 1985 Videotape Editing News Program Georgia Digest, Georgia Public Television.
- Executive Producer of the National Television Sports Special “100% Wrong Club” which was a national broadcast & aired on Turner Sports South.