MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WDIA, the first radio station in the country to be programmed for black listeners, is promoting 95.7 Hallelujah FM‘s Tracy Bethea to be its new program director, a role that had been held by the late Bobby O’Jay.
Many listeners tuned in Wednesday to hear that the radio veteran will become the station’s first female African-American program director.
“It’s a full circle moment for me to be able to at 19 walk into WDIA as an intern and then work for WDIA and then have now the opportunity to sit at the helm,” Bethea said.
For decades, legendary DJ Bobby O’Jay sat at the helm as the voice for WDIA and program director until he died last May. Bethea says she’s honored the torch has been passed to her.
“To be able to say that I had the privilege and the honor to stand on his (Bobby O’Jay’s) shoulder and to see him and work and to pass it on is truly an honor and I’m forever so grateful and that’s why I’m sitting here today,” Bethea said.
Bethea says the station will continue to be about goodwill.
“We will move forward with goodwill and we want to get back out in the streets and connect more with our community and definitely dust off the hits and keep the hits coming,” she said.
“She’s been entrenched in the community, people know Tracy Bethea, people trust her and I trust her to be a great leader for our radio station,” said longtime Memphis Radio personality Stan Bell.
A radio station that under Tracy Bethea’s leadership in 2023 will celebrate 75 years on the air as the heart and soul of Memphis with personalities like Stan Bell and his roll call.
Over the years, Tracy Bethea has earned the coveted Stellar Award for announcer of the year and served as the Mid-South Region Brand Coordinator of Gospel for IHeart Media, along with hosting her own afternoon radio show.