Pervis Spann (Finding Aid)

Pervis Spann

1932 -

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)