About Bro. Esmond Patterson
Bro. Esmond Patterson was a legendary Gospel music radio host and concert promoter in Atlanta, Georgia, who had literally been in the homes of African-Americans in Atlanta for over 50 years. He had earlier jobs as a paperboy, mail carrier, insurance and furniture salesman before he began his radio career in 1955 at radio station W.E.R.D. (the first African-American owned radio station in the country.) In 1963, he moved to radio station W.A.O.K. and remained there for 38 years where his 4 a.m. daily "Break-a-Day" radio show created the standard for today’s morning gospel radio shows. He also hosted a highly-rated weekly Sunday morning radio show from 6 a.m. until noon.
Known for his signature attire, the tuxedo, Bro. Patterson was a charismatic and beloved institution in the City of Atlanta. He gave many local and national gospel artists an opportunity to sing and minister on his monthly concert series, The Gospel Caravan. The Caravan would be held in various churches on the first Monday of each month for some 40 plus years.
His long-standing radio anniversary celebration began at the 81 Theater in Atlanta (Atlanta’s equivalent to the Apollo Theater), moved to Atlanta’s Municipal City Auditorium and, in 1980, remained a longstanding event at the Atlanta Civic Center until 2002. “The Anniversary” attracted over 4,500 fans annually to hear the likes of Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews, James Cleveland, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Dottie Peoples, The Williams Brothers, Rev. Leo Daniels, Rev. C. L. Franklin, Rev. Maceo Woods, The Pilgrim Jubilees, The Gospel Keynotes, Lee Williams and The Spiritual Q.C.s, just to name a few. To date, no other gospel radio personality has had the longevity of Bro. Esmond Patterson’s career and probably never will.
Over the years, the popular radio host was known for giving names to many of the local and national ministers. Bro. Patterson dubbed Reverend Jasper Williams, Jr. "Son of Thunder", Dr. Johnny L. Jones "The Mighty Hurricane" and Reverend Timothy Flemming "The Little Man with the Big Voice." He also gave names to Gospel superstars Dorothy Norwood "The World's Greatest Storyteller" and Dottie Peoples "The Songbird of the South."
Bro. Patterson’s honors include:
- 1973 - Gospel Parade that attracted over 50,000 fans in downtown Atlanta
- 1990 - Inducted into Emerson Radio Hall of Fame
- 1992 - Videotaped interview of his life story placed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
- 1996 - Stellar Award for Radio Personality of the Year, Gospel's equivalent of a Grammy
However, his proudest accomplishment was his philanthropic efforts with the Butler Street Y.M.C.A. Bro. Patterson used his popularity to raise awareness and thousands of dollars for the Southside Branch of the Butler Street Y.M.C.A.
© Edna R. Patterson 2016.. All rights reserved