2013 Founders and Directors Award Recipient
James "Alley Pat" Patrick
In 1947 James "Alley Pat" Patrick began his career as one of Atlanta's first black deejays under the name "Pat Alley". Patrick was born in Montezuma, Georgia to a Baptist preacher and nurse, his family moved to Atlanta in 1931. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. During World War 2, Pat was a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen and after graduating from Morehouse College with a degree in Science and pre-med, he was set to go on to medical school. Medicine's loss was radio's gain, as Pat was "discovered" by WERD Programming Director Ken Knight while calling a bingo game and "jiving" over the loudspeakers. Knight invited him to submit a demo tape and soon he was on the air.
WERD was the first black-owned radio station in America. In 1954, he joined the staff of WAOK, the country's first 24-hour African-American radio station, co-hosting a show with Zenas Sears (a white dj). In the sixties, Pat left radio to become Atlanta's first black bail bondsman, coming to the aid of southern Civil Rights activists. He also owned several businesses, and worked briefly as a sales rep for a major record company.
By the mid seventies, Alley Pat was doing a morning drive slot at WXAP-AM, later moving to afternoons on WYZE-AM. By the early nineties he could still be heard on WQXI-AM. Since then, it appears that Pat could not be heard on a regular basis. Pat expanded to television in the early 1980's with WVEU Channel 69's "Alley Pat's Place", where the same local movers and shakers who were repeatedly made fun of on his radio show were grilled by a now (relatively) genial host. In the 1990's Pat's TV show moved to Atlanta's Public Access channel where it was seen until he retired.
James "Alley Pat" Patrick passed away on June 25, 2015.
(click poster to hear edited audio from the film)
Independent filmmaker Tom Roche released a film about Patrick entitled "Alley Pat: The Music is Recorded" which won first place in the 2010 Atlanta Film Fest. Portions may be seen on the Alley Pat channel on You Tube.
Thanks to Darryl Vance for bio information and to Tom Roche for use of audio.
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