Please read the attached article that was published in the latest issue of The Week Magazine. Smokey Robinson is telling it like it is. We’re still a racist nation and the current administration hasn’t helped. Are you old enough to remember the 50’s & the 60’s? Elvis and Buddy Holly started in the 50’s. There was some Doo Wop then, too.

Smokey Robinson is 80 years old today. He and Barry Gordy teamed up in 1960 and birthed Motown. Some of the greatest pop music ever: The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5.

I came to Charlotte in 1968 as a DJ at WSOC. The number one pop music station was BIG WAYS. Management at WBT said, “We’re not a jukebox.” They said that for about 10 years. In 1971, a major format change brought in a bunch of new DJ’s to make the programming contemporary and grab the younger audience. We started playing the good Elvis hits… and all the Motown music.

Music has no color. It speaks all languages and Smokey Robinson created the songs that all of America loved and still does. This wasn’t easy to do for the station or the country. They received a lot of criticism, but it only took a couple of years for WBT to become one of the highest rated stations in the country.

You know who helped us understand the influence of Soul music? Rockin’ Ray Gooding who had a background in radio with WGIV. He was one of the best hires Cullie Tarleton ever made. Ray took me and others to the Excelsior Club on Beatties Ford Road. I went with him to a couple of Gospel services at the House of Prayer and ate at John McDonald’s Restaurant. I became a “white soul brother” and it made me a better DJ.

What Smokey Robinson has done in his career is serve up the best music and let you enjoy the feast. There is no room for racism in this country or anywhere. Let’s dance and sing to the rhythm of life and give thanks for all the great music.

Rockin’ Ray Gooding

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