Sunday, May 10, 2009

Joe Bagby (1938-2009), Gospel Radio Icon Passes

Long before gospel music had broad, even secular popular appeal; before there were gospel music T.V. channels and when the best gospel talent still reached their audiences through record albums, convention halls and comparatively small church sanctuaries; back before satellite radio, there was the gospel AM radio station - and Joe Bagby.

Many a church member's household (ours included), began their Sunday morning ritual by listening to Bro. Joe on the radio while 'getting ready' for church and on the drive to church.

Later, when Joe was on daily, he was still a staple for most African-American Christian listeners. But no more. Joe Bagby died this past Friday morning at the age of 70.

"It was a day of mourning at KHVN-AM (970), where news director Robert Ashley hit the airwaves to pay tribute to his friend and colleague who had been on Dallas radio for more than 50 years.

"Brother Joe was considered to be the godfather of gospel music," Ashley said."

"Bagby died at a hospital after a long fight with pulmonary disease, an illness that hadn't stopped him from reaching his listeners. His last broadcast was less than 24 hours before he died."

"He had a commitment and a love for God that was just beyond reproach," Ashley said."

"Many listeners called in Friday to pay their respects to Bagby, 70, who had remarked that age wouldn't keep him away from the microphone."

""I know that I am going to die sooner or later, so I am going to be faithful until death," he said in 2006."

There was probably a Joe Bagby in every major city. A gospel DJ whose infectious love of God and the music that extolled His praises, before any gospel song could be termed a "hit" or any gospel artist be referred to as a 'star'. You grow up with such people. They become kind of the 'wallpaper' of your life and when they're gone there's a different kind of mourning that you experience. A mourning that denotes the passage of time. Or as the gospel song says, 'Time is Windin' Up'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, to hear of your passing. I was just listening to you the morning before. And as always you brighten up my day. So,Bro. Joe rest from your long and weary days. Thank you for your encouraging words, your thoughtfullness.You will always be remember,. Mrs Bagby God will see you through this. Keep trusting in him.
The Brown & Pinkard Family