SGNScoops DJ Spotlight: Darrell Gibbs
By Vonda Armstrong
Recently, we shone the DJ Spotlight on Darrell Gibbs from WUAT AM in Pikeville, Tennessee. Darrell spent the week with us at the 2019 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, and it was a joy to get to know him better. Check out our conversation below.
Vonda: Tell us about the station, where it’s located and how we can listen.
Darrell: The radio station is WUAT AM 1110. It is an “old-time” radio station, and has been around since 1960. We are considered the giant of the valley, and have an antenna on the top of the mountain that reaches way out there.
The station is located on the corner of Main Street and Cumberland Avenue in Pikeville. We have around 3700 listeners. Many businesses in Pikeville and the surrounding area tune into our station in their stores, doctors’ offices, and even at the courthouse. The radio station “blasts through the streets” and side streets on speaker in town. It is really old school and really cool.
Billy Bridges is our station manager, and is a great guy. We have several TV shows filmed at the station every week. The very popular “Albert and Billy Show” is filmed here, along with my program as the only Facebook Live. We hope to become an FM station in the future, and to purchase additional equipment as well. It takes time and money though.
Vonda: How did you get your start in radio?
Darrell: The very first time I ever played gospel music as a DJ was in the 80s. I was working on Christian Night at a skating rink in west Nashville. I was the only one that knew anything about gospel music, because of my dad’s love for it. The area I grew up in used to be called “the Star Route” in Nashville. I knew a lot of those people from school or at least their kids and grandkids.
Vonda: Can you tell our readers your testimony?
Darrell: I was raised in the Methodist church. Once, I was able to take a ride to the Carolinas with Harold Lane. Some of your readers may remember him with the Speer Family. He told me about a simple gospel that started my way to salvation. I was working on pools in the summer, and in the winter I would do anything I could do to make money. I was driving my own car to school in the 9th grade. I worked hard, sometimes two or three jobs, as a teenager because I wanted to, not because I had to. I was making my own money and doing my own thing.
Soon, I found myself doing things I shouldn’t. I was about to get into some trouble and I decided to leave and move to Chattanooga with my parents. Right away I went to the skating rink and got a job. They had a “Christian Night” and I was the only one that knew about Christian music. Fast forward to three years ago, I went into a radio station in Pikeville, wanting to DJ a show for Facebook and for the local radio station.
I was called to preach many years ago. I told God he had the wrong guy. I told him that I don’t look right, I don’t talk right, and I can’t stand up straight. But opportunities kept opening for me to speak on the road in churches and even colleges. God has given me my heart’s desire. A beautiful wife, a beautiful place to live on the Cumberland plateau, and a voice on the radio station. That’s what brought to where I am today and God is still working in my life today.
Vonda: If you had to play one group all day long, who would it be and why?
Darrell: This one is easy. I would play the Primitive Quartet. I had the opportunity to interview them once.They are amazing and so friendly.
Vonda: If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
Darrell: Well I would love to interview Johnny Cash. I would also like to interview Harold Lane and let him see what God has done in my life since the last time we saw each other. And besides them, I would also love to interview the McKameys, Guy Penrod, Gold City, and Squire Parsons.
Vonda: If someone is interested in working as a DJ, what advice would you give them?
Darrell: My advice to them would be don’t give up trust in Jesus in all you do.
Thank You Darrell! Keep spinning those songs and thank you for sharing with us….
First published in SGNScoops Magazine in December 2019
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