Gene Newman, Oral History


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Gene Newman 2 min.mp3
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Gene Newman, Oral History


Gene Newman, owner of WBEZ and WSMQ, began his career in the 1950’s. Discusses the frequency swaps between WEZB and WBCO that created WENN 1320 and WYAM 1450 in 1958.


Gene Newman
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


October 28, 1997


Carlena McClain
Emily Bibb








Bob Friedman


Gene Newman


Transcript of audio snippet:

Bob Friedman: Where was the old Tutwiler located?

Gene Newman: It was on 20th street

Bob: and what avenue?

GN: I think it was 5th ave, 20th and 5th

Bob: okay so they put a bank building up there?

GN: uh huh that’s right

Bob: okay, okay so

GN: we were on the top floor WEZB and it’s now WAGG

Bob: well yeah in a round about way

GN: Yeah

Bob: so the, at that time you were the owner of EZB

GN: right

Bob: and umm

GN: then I a

Bob: Did you have a relationship to 1220, too?

GN: Yes, I operated 1220 for Mr. Vincent Sheehy who had bought it from Ed Reynolds who started WEDR .

Bob: Okay so umm

GN: Now that was WEDR

Bob: Okay so Ed Reynolds had sold that station to Vincent Sheehy , remember what year?

GN: He sold to a guy, a Ford dealer in Washington, Vincent Sheehy that was probably in ’60, ’59 or 59

Bob: Uh huh

GN:’60 yeah

Bob: and a

GN: I operated it awhile

Bob: so you operated as a GM or

GN: yes I operated it for him

Bob: for him while you were operating 1320

GN: Let me think a minute

Bob: was it simultaneous

GN: I think so. Ah I’m a little confused, I then sold or exchanged, no I sold, I exchanged WEZB 1320 I think

Bob: umm hmm

GN: for WBCO

Bob: right

GN: 1450

Bob: right

GN: and then I later sold that to Cal Young

Bob: sold 1450

GN: yeah and he made a country station out of it…


GN: that’s right


Full interview: 24 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Gene Newman and Bob Friedman, “Gene Newman, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed March 29, 2023,

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