Monday, July 15, 2013

KOKA Music 1550: my first job in radio

In the summer of 1978, I got my first job in radio.

I was the nighttime and weekend DJ at KOKA AM 1550 in Shreveport, LA.

Here is the building that housed the station.

I also read a little more history of the buidling.

"The 1959 dedication of the KOKA Radio Station building on Milam Street drew a crowd of 10,000 locals, as well as appearances by national celebrities. Beloved KOKA personalities such as Sunrose 'Gay Poppa' Rutledge, Jr., Willie 'Uncle Bill' Caston, and B.B. 'Bird Brain' Davis provided entertainment and information in a format that included gospel and rhythm and blues."

source: Louisiana Regional Folklife Programs

KOKA was Shreveport's first black owned and operated radio station and where many locals got their first exposure to Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Gospel, Soul and Funk.

And I still appreciate Gay Poppa for giving me my first shot in the business.

Soul Brother #1, James Brown drops by KOKA in 1967 to chat with 'Uncle Bill' (left) and 'Gay Poppa' (center).


SWalthall said...

Hi Mark. My name is Shan Walthall, Sonrose Rutledge's (aka-Gay Poppa) daughter. I like your post and appreciate your nice comments about my dad.

SWalthall said...

Hi Mark. My name is Shan, Sonrose Rutledge's (Gay Poppa) daughter. Thanks for your post and nice comments about my dad. I remember getting up early in the morning going to the station and falling asleep while my dad did his show. Good times!

SWalthall said...

Nice posting of my dad, Sonrose Rutledge (Gay Poppa),and James Brown. Thanks for posting. I haven't seen that radio station in years. I remember waking up early and going to the station with my dad...of course falling asleep and never hearing a live show. Thanks for the nice comments.

Jake said...

Hello folks. I grew up in Dolomite, Alabama and attended school with Sunrose Rutledge and his beautiful sisters. If I'm correct, he started out as a DJ in Birmingham, AL. During our last annual Westfield High School reunion in Atlanta last year, several of the alumni mentioned his name, and spoke about the old Dolomite and Westfield days with Sunrose.. Shan, if see this message, please contact me at , or on Facebook at Isaac Hunter.....Thank you.