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Black Radio Icon Donnie Simpson Receives Honor in Las Vegas

Written by on April 15, 2024

Donnie Simpson, legendary American radio DJ, television host, and voice of the culture, has been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasting’s Hall of fame for his contributions to radio broadcasting. Donnie tearfully accepted this award at the 2024 NAB convention earlier today in Las Vegas.

Donnie Simpson’s journey from a Detroit record shop to the global airwaves, television and movie screen exemplifies resilience, passion, and the magic of discovery. At the early age of 12, Donnie was able to create magic from his mother’s record store. Simpson spoke of her today in his acceptance remarks, noting this is the first award he was not able to share and send to her as she passed in 2023.

At the young age of 15, WJLB in Detroit saw the immense potential in Donnie Simpson after being a teen reporter for the station, and later bestowed to him a life-changing opportunity – his very own radio show. Donnie was gifted the platform to share his passion for music, connect with listeners, and shape the airwaves. In 1977, Donnie moved to Washington, D.C., and joined WRC-FM (now WKYS) as a DJ and program director. He remained with WKYS for 15 years.

Donnie’s 55-year legacy in Black radio remains unparalleled. In a groundbreaking move, Donnie launched the Donnie Simpson Podcast Network (DSPN). The inaugural season of The Donnie Simpson Show Podcast, released in December 2021, continues to captivate audiences with its engaging content, insightful interviews, and the signature warmth that defines Donnie’s style.

Donnie’s was able to branch beyond the airwaves and into television. Although his television career took off in 1981 but made an indelible impact when he became host of Video Soul on BET, a primetime music video show, from 1983 until its cancellation in 1997.

After initially retiring in 2010, Donnie Simpson made a triumphant comeback in 2015, gracing both the airwaves and television screens as afternoon drive host on WMMJ, Majic 102.3 in Washington D.C., and the face of TV-One’s “Donnie After Dark,”.

Over the years, Donnie has interviewed iconic stars like Stevie Wonder, Prince, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Usher, Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, Whitney Houston, Tupac, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Smokey Robinson.

Donnie Simpson signed off, for the last time, on Friday, January 12, 2024, making his iconic legacy and this NAB Hall of Fame induction today truly inspiring for us all to reach for greatness through our gifts, talents, and passions. His impact on the airwaves, his role as a cultural influencer, and his ability to create timeless moments in the world of entertainment will remain legendary.


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