by Last Initial
Pervis Spann (Finding Aid)
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Time of Year: Spring
Interview Length: 97 minutes
Interview Date(s): February 8, 2002
Interview Location(s): WVON-AM, Chicago, Illinois
Famed Chicago-based radio broadcaster, Pervis Spann shares anecdotes of his family and young life in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He details his life picking cotton, often hundreds of pounds a day. Spann also recalls his job at the Dixie Theater, a segregated movie house, where he gained the white owner's trust and was rapidly promoted to the manager. Between his earnings from the theater and picking cotton, Spann was able to buy a 1937 Cadillac, a feat for a 15 year old boy.
Music promoter and broadcast entrepreneur, Pervis Spann, describes his early years in Itta Bena , Mississippi.
Broadcast radio pioneer, Pervis Spann shares anecdotes of the migration of his family from Itta Bena, Mississippi to Michigan, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. From battling his father's illiteracy and spendthrift behavior, young Spann started working in Gary's steel mills. After joining the Army, spann moved to Chicago and attended the Midwestern Boradcast Institute, run by the family of Oscar Brown Jr. Undeterred by his lack of experience, Spann delved into the business side of radio, landing his first job not long after graduation.
Well-known music promoter and Chicago radio pioneer, Pervis Spann, details his career at WVON in the 1960s and 1970s. He also discusses his music promotions career and the ups and downs with major acts like BB King, James Brown among others.
Pervis Spann is very guarded in his reponse to Julieanna Richardson's questions about a concert failure and interpersonal conflict at WVON radio.
29 Stories (See Ordered Story Set)
- Slating of Pervis Spann interview
- Pervis Spann lists his favorites
- Pervis Spann talks about his parents and siblings
- Pervis Spann talks about growing up in Itta Bena, Mississippi in the 1940s
- Pervis Spann talks about meeting entertainer Tex Ritter
- Pervis Spann recalls his personality as a child
- Pervis Spann shares a story about being a job foreman at age sixteen
- Pervis Spann recalls the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood in Itta Bena, Mississippi
- Pervis Spann details influential Southern radio programs from his youth
- Pervis Spann offers impressions of the South of his childhood
- Pervis Spann talks about his job as a youth and his move to Battle Creek, Michigan
- Pervis Spann talks about his move to Gary, Indiana and his work in the steel mills with his father
- Pervis Spann recalls his military service during the Korean War
- Pervis Spann details his education at the Midway Television Institute in Chicago
- Pervis Spann reflects on his enduring love for his mother
- Pervis Spann details his early days in radio broadcasting
- Pervis Spann talks about Al Benson and his years at WOPA radio in Chicago
- Pervis Spann discusses his arrangement broadcasting on WOPA and WVON radio simultaneously
- Pervis Spann shares anecdotes about the radio business in Chicago
- Pervis Spann recalls his start in the concert promoting business in Chicago
- Pervis Spann details his falling out with concert promoter and business partner, Big Bill Hill
- Pervis Spann talks about his relationship with WVON-AM's radio owner, Leonard Chess
- Pervis Spann talks briefly about promoting singer Sam Cooke's last concert
- Pervis Spann details his learning of the concert promoting business
- Pervis Spann shares stories about musicians he's promoted
- Pervis Spann recalls WVON-AM prmotions and events during the 1970s and 1980s
- Pervis Spann talks about WVON-AM's promotion of 'The Good Guys'
- Pervis Spann talks briefly about the risks of concert promotion
- Pervis Spann discusses briefly why he bought WVON-AM radio