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Cooper Article in Southern Culture Encyclopedia


An article by Dr. Brett Cooper of Williams Baptist College has been included in the latest volume of "The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture." The book was released in September by the University of North Carolina Press.

The volume examines how mass media have shaped popular perceptions of the South, and how the South has shaped the history of mass media. It includes essays and articles that examine major trends and seminal moments in film, television, radio, press, and Internet history.

Cooper’s article deals with the history and influence of WDIA radio in Memphis, which was the first radio station in the US to be programmed exclusively for African Americans. WDIA was also the subject of Cooper’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Memphis.

WDIA crossed the Memphis color barrier in 1948 when it began programming for black listeners, and it soon became the number one radio station in the city, a ranking it held for many years. Cooper explored the impact WDIA had on its early listeners, both black and white.

Cooper is vice president for college relations at WBC.

"The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture" is a joint effort of the University of North Carolina Press and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. The encyclopedia is an ongoing series of volumes that deal with such topics as Southern literature, education, politics, sports, religion and other topics. The latest volume is the 18th in the series.

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