New book chronicles history of blacks on Detroit radio


  • Cover image for "Soul on Air"

Our readers may remember a guy named Ken Coleman. We interviewed him in April about his book, Million Dollars Worth of Nerve, which chronicled the golden age of Black Bottom, Detroit’s historical African-American neighborhood. Even then, Coleman already had one book under his belt, On This Day: African-American Life in Detroit. But little did we know he’d have another book out this month: Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit.

The 200-page volume covers 80 years of history, telling the stories of the pioneers, the trailblazers, and the stars of the 1970s through the 1990s. Readers can expect to find the story of Dr. Haley Bell and Dr. Wendell Cox launching WCHB-AM 1440 in 1956, creating the country’s first black-owned radio station built from the ground up. Coleman profiles such household names as Mildred Gaddis, Jay Butler, Ed Love, and the Electrifying Mojo.

The book is available for $25 at

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