Bernie Hayes

With so much political and social stratification in a system by which people depend on resources for upward mobility and, in some instances, survival, it is alarming that St. Louis is without a daily black talk and information radio station or program.

I am proud to remind you that I started black talk radio on KATZ in late 1979. My morning show would begin with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and I would combine and play songs of hope and inspiration such as “Young, Gifted and Black,” “I Wish I Knew How it Feel to be Free,” “Open Up My Heart to the World this Morning,” “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” and James Cleveland’s “Jesus Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” among many others.

I would speak to local mayors, school superintendents, police chiefs, local, county and national elected officials, as well as clergy and religious leaders of every belief. Every weekend I would have state Representative Charles Quincy Troupe, state Senators J.B. Jet Banks and John Bass to update us on the weekly actions in Jefferson City, and have Alderwomen Sharon Tyus, Velma Jean Bailey and Irene J. Smith report on the events in the aldermanic chamber. I’d begin the week with state Representative Paula Carter, state Senator Maida Coleman and others giving us a preview of pending legislation and prepare us for us what to expect in the future.

Regular guests on the program included Wale Amusa, Onion Horton, Betty Thompson, Ida Goodwin Woolfolk, Clifford Wilson, Greg Freeman, George Curry, Wyvetter Younge, Gordon Bush, Carl Officer and others from both sides of the Mississippi River.

At night we had Bob Law with his nationally syndicated program “Night Talk” with news and information and guests from across the nation.

Later a host of black talk programs materialized, such as Richard “Onion” Horton, Liz Brown, Hank Thompson and Sharon McGee, Betty Thompson, Rev. Cleo Willis, Zaki Baruti, Ishmael Ahmed Lateef, Keith Antoine Willis, Craig Riggins, Howard “Dallas” Jamison, RaeJ Johnson, and many others.

So what happened? Why is the African-American community left in an information desert? Why are there only Freeman Bosley Jr. and Demetrius Johnson and a couple of others on weekends to make available news and material vital to half the city’s population and to the thousands of African Americans who reside in St. Louis County and the Metro East?

Who is there to debate our socio-economic class system, and the dimensions of social inequality that exists in the United States? Where are the conversations about race, gender, education, income level, and changes in the workplace? Where are the examinations of emotional pain such as eating disorders, abuse, suicide, anxiety and depression, attachment disorder and self-hatred? Who will provide the forum for discussions responding to racism, discrimination and oppression?

St. Louis radio stations have failed and neglected us. They overwhelm us with music and entertainment, but what about programs of substance? Needless to say, it is our fault and they believe that we get what we deserve – nothing other than good times and funny jokes. Right?

they believe that we get what we deserve – nothing other than good times and funny jokes. Right?

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday night at 10 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. on NLEC-TV Ch. 24.2. I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369, on e-mail at or on Twitter @berhay.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(3) comments

DuVay Knox

Mr Hayes, I recall in your book back around 2006 or so that U mentioned the death of Black Radio. You were right then, and you're still right now. Nowdays the trend is Social Media if U want your voice heard. That's where I would put my efforts if I were you. Its just inevitable. The Millennials of today simply aren't tuned into RADIO like folks used to be.


At the most critical time in America for African Americans, Native Black Americans it appears every body is fighting for the rights of others and what's owed to others, but no one is actually speaking out in our behalf or fighting for our rights or for what's owed to us. The " Juneteenth Celebration " commemorates the end of slavery every year. This year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. Although they were legally freed in 1865 from Chattel Slavery they still weren't free neither have their descendants been in all these years. Why ? Because America intentionally set-up a racist oppressive system that ensured 99% of us remain the bottom cast all while they allow the other 1% to be elevated as another slick tactic to intentionally make that 99% think they could do the same thing. It's all in their master plan and have been from the start. We are still fighting to be recognized as American citizens, and as human beings. We are still fighting for what should have been our birth right. America has allowed it's debt to us to continue plus accumulate interest since it has refused to pay what it owes. So, we, #ADOS-American Descendants of Slavery demands America pays it's debt !! I'm, as well as thousands of others are so blessed to be part of that extraordinary group established by Breakingbrown>Yvette Carnell & Tonetalks>Antonio Moore>on FB/YouTube. Thanks to both their weekly podcast we all have been enlightened in every aspect of our lives. Politically, Economically, Socially, etc. They are the " only " Black media that's doing what they're doing, and they're not a part of the conglomerate. They, along with many of us have managed to get politicians who's campaigning for president not only to talk about " Reparations" but also managed to get more co-sponsors for House Bill HR-40, and to finally get a hearing next week regarding reparations. Now, I consider that making history and a milestone. Thank you Bernie Hayes for speaking out !!!


I moved to St. Louis in the mid 1980s, and quickly fell in love with Onion Horton's no nonsense brand of talk radio. Many other black voices also found their place on WGNU. Sadly, due to the looting of the trust fund which WGNU left to operate the station ( many of those voices have fallen silent. Our community is the worse for it in many ways.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.