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WTUL New Orleans

DJ Lank is the host of Love, WTUL on Sundays from 12-2 am. A WTUL DJ since 2019, he currently serves as calendar coordinator for the station.

Like many African-American kids in the 1990's, I grew up listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show on the way to school.

The show, which ran for 25 years, was my mom's go-to show whenever she drove me to the friendly confines of Fairview Junior High School. While a third of the music was boring for a 12-year old, it sparked an interest in radio for me.

That same spark also came from Memphis radio legends like Jaye Michael & James Davis on WDIA, which was the first station in the United States to have programing geared towards African-Americans as well Bobby O'Jay and Bev Johnson.

Those were radio legends who laid a path for me to be in the position I'm currently in here at WTUL.

When I became calendar coordinator in the spring last year, and correct me if I am wrong if I am, I became the first African-American to hold an executive position at the station, something that was akin to what happened in 1968 when Don Whitehead became the first African-American news director at a white-owned radio station in the South at WLAC in Nashville.

Meaning that due to the work that he did 50-plus years ago, I was able to do what I am doing today as part of the WTUL executive board.

Like Joyner and the Davis Brothers, I've used my platform to better others due in part to my annual toy drive for the New Orleans Women's and Children's Shelter, an event that has gone on for the last six years and provided kids with the Christmas joy I had growing up.

The chair I sit in at WTUL was made possible because of those radio legends I just mentioned. But also the chair and position I have at the station was made possible due to radio legends like Joan Golden, known to many in Memphis as the "Golden Girl," Donnie Simpson, the legendary Washington D.C. DJ that had a long-running show on BET called "Video Soul", and Malvin Massey at WUMR, the Memphis station that introduced me to the world of jazz as a seven-year old.

As we close the book on another Black History Month, I wanted to write this to thank the pioneers and elders that came before me. Because without them I wouldn't have the privilege to spin tunes on 91.5 FM.

Each time I'm behind the mic I know that I am sitting on the shoulders of the work that they did.

And I am forever grateful.

 

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