Donnie Simpson is more than just a pretty face. The legendary broadcaster is an award-winning radio pioneer who has had a 50 year career in radio. He celebrates his 67th birthday today.
Born in Detroit Michigan on January 30th, 1954, Simpson is the son of a record store owner so he developed his love for music and radio early. By age 15, he was on Detroit’s WJLB, staying there for the next eight years. In 1977, he moved to Washington, D.C. to host the morning show at WKYS which he did for the next 15 years. In 1993, he moved to Washington’s D.C’s WPGC radio, staying there for 17 years.
In 2003, Simpson signed an eight-figure, six-year deal with WPGC Radio making him the highest paid and first millionaire radio broadcaster without a nationally syndicated show.
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But what put Simpson on the national map was not his career as a radio broadcaster. He had already done some TV as a backup sports anchor for the “George Michael Sports Machine” which he started in 1981. But in 1983, BET owner Bob Johnson recruited Donnie to join his fledging video network as the host of the music show “Video Soul.”
Simpson, whose mellifluous radio voice was matched by his handsome face and luminous green eyes, was an instant hit for the network ultimately hosting “Video Soul” for 14 years. Just about every hit maker of the era came through to talk to Simpson, one of the pioneers of the now ubiquitous music interview show.
in 2004, Simpson was inducted into the BET Hall of Fame and in 2015, he was inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame, the only non-musicians to be so honored. Simpson has also won Billboard awards for both Program Director of the Year and Radio Personality of the Year.
In 2017, Simpson celebrated 40 years on D.C. radio with a gala at Washington, D.C’s Warner Theater. Although he “retired” in 2010, Simpson returned to radio and TV in 2017. He is currently the host of “The Donnie Simpson Show” on Washington’s WMMJ-FM.
Simpson and his wife, Pamela, have been married since 1973. They have two children, Donnie, Jr. and Dawn and multiple grandkids.
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