Waits, Ernest J., Sr. "Ernie"(born: 1920 - died: 2004)
Ernie Waits, Sr. is often referred to as the first African American DJ [disc jockey] in both Kentucky and Ohio [source: E. S. Murrain, "Payola and the Pied Pipers," Tone, 09/01/1960, p. 11]. In Kentucky, he was a DJ at WNOP in Newport, KY [source: see "Gab Bag" in the column "Vox Jox," Billboard, 04/21/1951, pp. 28 & 33]. In Cincinnati, he was a DJ at WZIP [source: "Chicago Chatter," Billboard, 05/28/1949, p. 40].
Waits was also among the first African American broadcasters in both radio and television in Cincinnati, Ohio, his home town. He was a singer and musician, as well as a civil rights leader who helped start organized labor. He was an international representative for the United Auto Workers; integrated the Democrat Party of Hamilton County, Ohio; and was the first African American in Cincinnati to become a New York Stock Exchange registered representative. He owned a bowling alley and other businesses and helped establish the Black Expo in Cincinnati.
Ernie Waits was born in Georgia and grew up in Cincinnati. He was the son of Jesse and Mozell Harper Waits. He was a veteran of World War II. For more see Ernie Waits, Sr. in the video Road to Equality at CETConnect.org; Ernie Waits in the H. Wilkinson article, "Berry showed them the way," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/19/2000 [online at enquirer.com]; Ernie Waits in the Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, by L. F. Sies; Who's Who in Black Cincinnati 2003-2004 Edition, M. C. Sunny and R. Love; and R. Goodman, "Civil Rights fighter Ernest Waits dies," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/22/2004 [online at enquirer.com].