The 2023 induction program took place at the Embassy Suites on October 7. The National Black Radio Hall of Fame consists of 16 categories, and it received over 100 nomination submissions. The names of the inductees will be placed in Harris-Stowe State University’s museum, located in St. Louis, Missouri, along with former industry inductees.
At the induction ceremony, B.J. Murphy received “The Original 13 Pioneer” Award. The award was presented by Jill Gibson Bell, daughter of Joseph Deighton Gibson Jr., also known as “Jack The Rapper,” a disc jockey and radio legend who, early on, established annual Black radio conventions.
In 1955, Mr. Gibson founded the National Association of Radio Announcers for Black DJ’s. The association gave a voice to the original 13 Black DJs in the industry. The award is in honor of those 13, including Mr. Gibson.
B.J. Murphy has been in the radio industry for 40 years. He started in the 1980s when he attended Shaw University, a historically Black university in Raleigh, N.C. In his early days, there were three other men at the radio station with similar names to “Daniel,” which prompted him to go by “B.J. Murphy.”
His name is a combination of the name of one of his favorite disc jockeys in Philadelphia, Beemon James Johnson III, who had a popular show, “Beej in the Morning,” and a radio personality based in Chicago.
B.J. Murphy had already been in the radio industry for over a decade when he became a registered member of the Nation of Islam in 1997. He registered at Muhammad Mosque No. 36 in Charlotte. “From that time on, I’ve been involved in the Nation and in mainstream radio,” he said to The Final Call.
In the past, he worked at CBS Radio and at iHeartRadio in Chicago and Dallas. He diverged to doing independent radio and has been working with Black radio station owners since around 2010. Today, he works with a Black owner in the Augusta, Georgia, market who bought his own radio station, WAAW 94.7, and he serves as general manager for the Fox Sports Augusta Radio Network. He also has his own self-syndication, the BJ Murphy Show, where he has 78 streaming affiliates comprised of streaming and radio stations.
“I do a daily show every day. I have like 1.1 million listeners that I talk to and I say what I want to say, how I want to say it, and we talk about everything,” the radio veteran said.
In addition, he co-hosts “Straight Words” with Naba’a Richard Muhammad, editor-in-chief of The Final Call. The show airs on Chicago’s WVON 1690AM on Tuesday nights.
“What’s most important to me, especially since I came into the Teachings, is to be able to translate the message to our people of the Teachings. And listening to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, of course, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and being on mainstream radio, I’ve always desired to be able to translate the messages into the conversation of mainstream media,” he said.
B.J. Murphy’s platform is “to tell the truth regardless of the circumstances, even if it’s against your own self.”
“I work on the platform of the Minister when he told us to be bold in Master Fard Muhammad. And so, taking into consideration, when I’m on the air, of the mindset of the “Time and What Must be Done,” I’ve always made sure that I maximize the opportunity to throw out nuggets that people can catch on to,” he said, referencing the 2013 58-week online lecture series by Minister Farrakhan.
He has paid a price for representing the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in mainstream Black radio. Before signing the deal at a radio station in Dallas, he asked, “I’m in the Nation of Islam; is that going to be a problem?”
“And they said, ‘No, we just want you to come here and get numbers for us.’ And we did that,” he recounted. “But later, they had a problem with me because of some of the content.”
In 2005, knowing Minister Farrakhan would be delivering the keynote address for the Millions More Movement, the 10th anniversary of the historic 1995 Million Man March, B.J. Murphy went on the air to tell the people.
Shortly after, “the anniversary of my two years being at the radio station, they brought me in the office. I was syndicated at about five cities, and they told me it was all over,” B.J. Murphy said. “I did pay a price for the sake of truth, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because one thing about it, I didn’t leave that radio station with my tail between my legs.”
When he was let go, he lost everything. Afterward, he worked at a station in Chicago for about a year before moving back to his hometown of Goldsboro, N.C., to stay with his mother as she battled ovarian cancer.
“I stayed with her until her passing, and then I was out of radio. So, I went from a very high height to going back to Goldsboro, North Carolina, and sleeping in the bed that I grew up in, with my son and my wife. I went from up here to ground zero for the sake of truth,” B.J. Murphy said.
“Then I became a captain in the F.O.I. (Fruit of Islam) in Greenville, North Carolina. And so, I didn’t care whether I got back on the radio or not; I just wanted to do God’s will. And I said if Allah (God) wants me to be back on the radio, then He’ll have to do it, but I’m going out here and soldiering. He put me back on the radio.”
B.J. Murphy has continued to be an instrumental figure in both the Nation of Islam and in Black radio. In 2022, he won fisherman of the year for the Nation of Islam’s Mid-Atlantic Region, meaning he was one of the brothers who invited the most people out to the mosque. He doesn’t know who nominated him to be inducted into the National Black Radio Hall of Fame, but he gave all the credit to Allah (God).
“All praise and all honor goes to God, who came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad,” he said. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan get full credit for the man that I am, the way I express myself on the radio as a free Black man, tell the truth in the face of anybody.”
A partial list of 2023 inductees of the National Black Radio Hall of Fame is below:
- Talented Sisters of Radio – Terri Avery, Monica May, Denise Williams
- Talented Brothers of Radio – Ray Boyd, Marvin Ross, Frank Ski
- Gospel Radio Personality – Erica Campbell, Reggie Gay, Melvin Jones
- African American Station Owner – Sheila Brown, Mike Carter
- Talk Radio Personality – Jeff Foxx, Juandolyn Stokes
- Community Service Industry Award – Chris “Ludacris” Bridges
- Hip Hop Radio Personality Award – Big Tigger
- Lifetime Media Achievement Award – Tom Joyner
- The Broadcasters Chairman’s Leadership Award – David Linton
- The Original 13 Pioneer Award Inductees – Terry Bello, Earl Boston, Marcus “Doc Feelgood” Boyd, Steve Crumbley, Bruce Demps, Kevin Koolin Fox, John H. “Little Daddy” Hill, III, Patty Jackson, Charles Mitchell, B.J. Murphy, Sharon Seay, Reec Swiney, Art Terrell
—Anisah Muhammad, Contributing Writer