Join the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection and the Office of Community Affairs and Engagement for a day of celebration and remembrance. Festivities include a conversation with Bob Perkins and WRTI music host and producer J. Michael Harrison, live entertainment featuring the Renaissance Messengers, reflections by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, and a special tribute by Robert Kenyatta to the legendary William “Cody” Anderson, pioneer and iconic leader in Black radio in Philadelphia for decades.
Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of enslaved African Americans in the United States at the end of the Civil War and emphasizes education and achievement. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of Juneteenth as the African American Emancipation Day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joseph Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.
About the honorees
William “Cody” Anderson, who was a local broadcast legend and trailblazer, died Saturday, February 20, 2021.
Anderson came to Philadelphia from Chicago in 1965. After his arrival, he began a broadcasting career that would span 50 years. He started in the sales department of WDAS Radio and quickly rose up through the ranks of management to assistant general manager, general manager, and eventually, president.
Anderson’s love of music and his unwavering commitment to providing a voice for the voiceless made for an amazing combination. At a time of civil unrest and strife in Philadelphia, Anderson helped create an outlet for communities across the city. He was the originator of WDAS’ Unity Day which, at its height, brought together hundreds and thousands of people to celebrate.
In 1989, Anderson realized his dream of radio station ownership when he purchased the iconic WHAT radio. He established an African-American talk radio format that elevated the voices of Philadelphia legends Mary Mason and Georgie Woods, and helped launch the career of Iyanla Vanzant. He is credited with raising the voices of individuals and communities across the city because he believed that no voice is special until it has been heard.
His last foray into broadcasting was general manager of WURD 900 AM/96.1 FM, a station owned by the late Dr. Walter Lomax. Anderson helped to establish the station’s Black talk format, which continues to be the driving force of the station.
Anderson was the co-host of “The Electric Magazine” with Vikki Leach on Saturday mornings. He was the co-host of bi-weekly Saturday morning shows with City Council President Darrell Clarke and Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William Hite. He also hosted the weekly Laborers Live show every Friday.
(from The Philadelphia Tribune, written by Donald Hunt)
Bob Perkins, also known as "BP with the GM," (translation: "Bob Perkins with the Good Music"), has been in the broadcasting industry for more than five decades as an on-air host, and is now commonly referred to as a Philadelphia jazz radio legend.
BP broke into the radio business in 1964 when he landed an on-air job in Detroit. In 1969, his hometown of Philadelphia beckoned him back with a gig at rhythm-and-blues station WDAS, where he worked for the next 19 years. After a longtime gig at WHYY, he joined WRTI in 1997.
In addition to his job as jazz host, BP writes numerous columns and commentaries on jazz for local publications in Philadelphia. He also hosts concerts at jazz clubs and at regional festivals.
BP was awarded the 2002 Mellon Jazz Community Award. And in 2007, he was honored with a proclamation for his outstanding contributions to Philadelphia's jazz community by Mayor John Street, Philadelphia City Council, and the House of Representatives in Harrisburg. In 2016, he was awarded a bronze plaque on Philadelphia Music Alliance's Walk of Fame on the Avenue of the Arts.