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'The man for all seasons' | Bobby O'Jay street dedication unveiled

Former host of WDIA Bobby O'Jay left an "impact" that was officially honored on Union Avenue and November 6th Street on Saturday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Saturday, radio DJ Bobby O'Jay was officially honored on Union Avenue and November 6th Street. Council members voted unanimously in May to dedicate Union Avenue, from Riverside Drive to South Main Street, to the former host of WDIA .

Chairwoman Jamita Swearengen spoke at the unveiling.

Credit: Janice Bridges

"If Bobby were here, he would be proud," she said. "He would love this day. He would love you all for honoring him. He was the man for all seasons." 

Just last year, O'Jay was inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. The WDIA DJ and program director worked in radio for more than 40 years, 38 of them in Memphis.

WDIA was the first radio station in the United States programmed entirely for African Americans. The station itself was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.


Credit: Janice Bridges

At the time of his induction into the Hall of Fame, iHeartMedia Memphis and Tupelo Market President Kevin Klein said, "Bobby O'Jay is so deserving of this honor. It makes me so proud that his 38 years of talking to the Memphis community on WDIA are finally recognized. WDIA is a station rich in history and a staple to the Black community. Congrats Bobby for all you have done for Memphis."

"Bobby O'Jay's impact on our industry is undeniable," said iHeartMedia Memphis Senior Vice President of Programming Sue Purnell at the time. "He's an absolute champion when it comes to our community, and we're overjoyed to see Bobby join The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame."

Credit: Janice Bridges
Crowds gather on Union Avenue and November 6th Street to pay homage to radio host Bobby O'Jay.

Chuck O'Bannon, Kudzukian Radio and On Air Personality, told ABC 24, "Bobby cared about people. He cared about the artist's records he played. He broke a lot of records. He was highly respected by all of in the industry whether you were radio, television or whatever. He's going to be missed and I know a lot of us in the industry looked up to him. It's a tremendous loss because we're just going to miss hearing about Bobby OJ."

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