Whether you’re a soul enthusiast, funk aficionado or R&B devotee, Darryl Williams is the man for you. As host of WDKK Radio, he regularly sits down with legends in each genre for in-depth discussions that cover everything from their creative inspiration to career peaks (and valleys). Darryl’s guests in the past year alone have included Billy Paul, Jeffrey Osborne, The Ohio Players, The Brothers Johnson, Otis Williams of The Temptations, Gil Saunders of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge. And if it seems that Darryl, who makes his home in Dayton, Ohio—and serves as chief visionary officer for radio-station management company Full Cirkle Media Group there—has an inside track on the music biz, that’s because he does. His dad, Kae Williams Sr., was a broadcasting pioneer who not only worked the Philly radio circuit, but also managed The Silhouettes—and wrote the doo-wop group’s No. 1 hit, Get a Job. And on that note (Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip), we give you this week’s SoundBits subject, Darryl “The Soul Man” Williams…
Give us a 15-second pitch for your show—why should listeners tune in?
WDKK features the absolute finest in legacy artists. Not only do you hear the stories behind these great performers, but you get up close and personal with them, while getting their advice for aspiring talent. Scattered in between are history lessons in music and broadcasting that you just won’t find anywhere else in radio.
Tell us two things listeners would be surprised to learn about you?
(1) I am a second-generation broadcaster. I grew up in and around the music industry, which has given me a unique perspective on the radio and recording industries.
(2) The late Solomon Burke was my godfather. He acknowledged during one my shows that I was the first Internet radio interview he had done—just as my father was the first traditional radio personality to play his records on the air. What an incredible honor.
Who’s your broadcasting hero?
My father, Kae. He began broadcasting in 1946 and was in the first generation of urban broadcasters who put black radio and music on the map. I often say, if I could accomplish half of what he did in his career, all my efforts with Internet radio would be worth it.
If you could book any person on earth as a guest on your show, who would it be and why?
Jack L. Cooper. Jack is considered the first African American disc-jockey and radio announcer. His show, The All Negro, debuted Nov. 3, 1929 on WSBC in Chicago. It was a weekly show at first but eventually was expanded to 10 hours a week. I would be so interested in conversing with him about the similarities between pioneering Internet radio and his days of pioneering AM radio. What a show that would be! Having read and spoken with other pioneer broadcasters, I am awestruck at the innovation that they exemplify.
As we speak, what are you wearing?
Blue jeans, a T-shirt, headphones (for monitoring one of my shows) and sneakers.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done while in the middle of hosting your show?
Forgetting to mute my mic and holding a conversation with my wife about, ah, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination. Anyway, I soon realized that I was talking over a song. Live radio. What can I say?
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