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WLAC NASHVILLE
(A Mini Series)
           Don Boner has written a great screen play about WLAC Nashville in the glory days when John Richbourg, Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles and Harold Grizzard were DJ's there. WLAC had 50,000 thousand watts of clear channel that boomed out across the USA. The four Kings of WLAC came on the air from 10:15pm up into the late hours of the morning.They sold hair creme records and all sorts of interesting things to customers all across the nation.
           Young and old black and white tuned in to hear their favorite artist latest recording and to buy the records and products advertised on the programs by the four Kings of the midnite air.
           This was the 50's and radio was the top dog of entertainment television was a few years away from taking the crown. WLAC 1510 on the AM dial was getting the job done after 10:15pm that's when things really got exciting because that's when Gene Nobles brought his masterful sales pitch to the airwaves with loads of goodies from Randy's Record Shop in Gallatin, Tennessee.
           What you heard was not Pat Boone's cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That A Shame" it was Fats himself singing the song. Along with Chuck Berry, Nervous Norvous doing  Ape Call and a bunch of other Rhythm & Blues recordings. Gene Nobles played them all.
           In one night you could hear Lazy Lester, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Slim Harpo, Guitar Gable, Johnny Watson, Muddy Waters, Junior Parker, Matt Lucas and Howling Wolf. What more could you ask for with the twist of your friendly radio dial to 1510 AM, six nights a week then tune in to the show at 11:pm on Sunday night. Put your small beat up tube powered radio under the covers turn the thing way down low so your mother can't hear it and listen to the "Blue Eyed White Wonder" Matt Lucas singing a real belly to the ground tail dragging foot stomping grinding it out shake your tail feathers blistering blues song. That ole white boy could and still can sing the blues with the of them. If you can't find any of Matt's blues songs in Wal-Mart just high tail it on down to McAlpin, Florida, take interstate 10 east to route 129 south stop in at the McAlpin post office and ask for directions to the Lucas Ranch. Matt will be glad to sell you a CD or two.
           John "R" was the host of Ernie's Record Mart that came on the air Monday thru Friday at 9:pm till 10:pm and was broadcast on Saturday 8pm until 9pm. Everyone thought John "R" was a black man because of his deep voice he was always messing around and talking jive John "R" was a white man but he has thousands of his listeners thinking he was black. John "R" was at WLAC from 1942 until 1973.
           Herman Grizzard was sponsored by Buckley's Record Shop and came on at midnite. Grizzard called his show "After Hours" and had been with WLAC since the 1930's. Herman had a tremendous audience and sold thousands of records by mail for Buckley's. All the while the four DJ's were playing and selling blues records by black artist by the hundreds of thousands. This is not the thing that made white mothers and fathers happy in the 40's and 50's white America did not want their sons and daughters listening to race music. And they did try to stop it, however they didn't stop it as a matter of fact WLAC brought Blues to the forefront of the American youth with four DJ's broadcasting late at night with 50,000 watts of clear channel and race was never mentioned what did it was good songs, good broadcasting,and advertising products that blacks and whites wanted.
           Bill "Hoss" Allen rounded out the foursome. Hoss filled in where he was needed for several years and when Gene Nobles retired Bill "Hoss" Allen took over Randy's Record Shop and the clock never stopped ticking and drums never missed a beat. All of the DJ's at WLAC sounded black and the strange thing about WLAC was that Don Whitehead the only black announcer at WLAC who did the news sounded white. John Richbourg, Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles, Herman Grizzard and Don Whitehead were all close friends.
            WLAC Nashville the screen play written by Don Boner is a fictitious story about WLAC and John "R" , Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles, and Herman Grizzard and the staff at the radio station and all the trouble they get into involving playing race music, drinking on the job, ticking off the station manager by taking women into the studio and fooling around while they are on the air. Betting on race horse's drinking whiskey and saying nutty things on the air while they are doing their show. The movie opens with James Brown driving to John "R's" grave site to tell a young 22 yr old college student taking a writing course what when on in the 40's and 50's at WLAC and how these four DJ's brought black blues to the American public and the trouble and hell they went through to do it. White America did not want race music played on any radio station.  WLAC Nashville is based on a true story about how black rhythm & blues and blues was played on WLAC and what went on at WLAC to try and stop the four DJ's from playing race music to America and it's youth. James Brown Tells the young reporter had it not been for John Richbourg, Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles and Herman Grizzard there would have been no blues or rhythm & blues and he would have never heard about James Brown.
(This will be a mini series about WLAC Nashville.)
-Widmarc Clark

 


For More Information Contact:

THE SOUTHERN LEGENDS ENTERTAINMENT and PERFORMING ARTS HALL of FAME
P.O. Box 428 Portland, Tennessee. 37148-0428
 

Email: sjmorris850@aol.com

 

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Last modified: 11/11/06