Monday, July 16, 2007

AIRCHECK WEEK: The Black Pope

What is there to say about the Legendary Black pope. He was an obscure but amazing radioman, a DJ of indescribable temperament and ego. I first heard a clip of him on WPRB courtesy of Mr. Jon Solomon. But his audio originates on the infamous WFMU Radio Archival Oddities Vol. 2 Click here.


Online references are many, but information is thin. He was a cult-ish popular DJ in Beaumont, TX and New Orleans, LA during the 1970s. I wish I knew more but truly his is a mystery. Moistworks name checked him last year.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Black Pope is/was Shelley Pope, an incredibly energetic and inventive southern black radio disc jockey who became established at WENN and WJLD in Birnimgham before moving to New Orleans. Just before leaving Birmingham, WJLD had him working split shifts and he was glad to get out of there.

In New Orleans, he became much more stable and better established with outside interests running clubs, managing artists, etc., while continuing on the air with a more sedate version of his earlier shows.

Pope's "I'm a Human Radio Station" clip which circulates around the internet is not very representative of his shows. It is pretty much what he'd do for a very attention-getting breakdown every now and then with no music or effects after winding up more and more with his layers (on top of a current record playing) of playing humorous excerpts from phone calls that were coming in, screaming "WEAR IT OUT!" and issuing other instructions, while at the same time running a cart with no stop tone that continuously yelled "POPE POPE POPE POPE POPE POPE POPE POPE POPE..." It was a dizzying, exciting show with invention that seemed to have no end. Then when it all seemed impossible to assimilate any more, he'd shut it all down for a monologue like "I'm A Human Radio Station".

Part of Shelley Pope's later New Orleans radio show was included in the 1980s movie "Cat People" as being heard during a taxicab ride. The sequence is missing from many video releases of the movie, but the end credits still credit "and THE BLACK POPE".

Jose Fritz said...

best comment ever.

clifford yawn said...

The black pope was really cool. I use to listen to him every morning on my way to work when he was avdjnin Beaumont, Texas.