Bernie Hayes’ name was closely associated with the development of ethnic radio in St. Louis, but he had a highly successful career even before coming to this market.
He arrived in St. Louis from KSOL in San Francisco, becoming a disc jockey at KATZ, playing soul in the afternoons and jazz at night. Hayes also worked at KWK, KKSS, KIRL, WESL, KXLW and KADI in various capacities, including air shifts.
He was the host of the first radio talk show for black audiences here and later parlayed his knowledge of the community into a prestigious job as the first African-American to be appointed news director at KWMU, the market’s major NPR affiliate.
He also shared his knowledge of the business by teaching media courses at Webster University. In addition to over 45 years working in various media, Hayes labored tirelessly to preserve the history of Black radio and its personalities, especially those in the St. Louis area.