Skip to main content

Posted 06/29/2009

In a 2005 series, the Kitchen Sisters spoke to SOHP Director Jacquelyn Hall about Memphis radio station WHER, an all-female enterprise that debuted in Memphis, TN, in 1955. WHER’s female deejays and staff were pioneers, siezing an opportunity (proferred by legendary producer Sam Phillips) that few women had at the time. But their programming also revealed old stereotypes about women–they spun easy-listening records rather than the edgier rhythm and blues that was rapidly gaining popularity, and used their cuteness to attract listeners. WHER was, in Halls’s words, a “double-edged sword,” but also a marker of a remarkable moment in the history of the South, a sign of the possibility of a future that did not include the rigid segregation and cruel racism of the 1960s. As Hall said, “there were forces at work in the culture that meant that things could have unfolded in a different direction.”

Listen to excerpts from her interview with the Kitchen Sisters here. And the whole piece is here.