Over 40 years ago, little R&B station WAPX made national headlines when a group of Muslim terrorists took over the station, tried to incite a Muslim uprising and then had a shootout with police. October 12, 1974, to be precise. You can read all about that right here.
One of the men who was taken hostage in that uprising so long ago, was Al Dixon. “Ugly Al” as he called himself on the air, had a very entertaining show! From several months after that incident, here’s Mr. Dixon himself on the morning show! I think you’ll find yourself laughing at Dixon’s one liners as I did while editing this for presentation. Notice the very liberal use of echo on many of the commercials and promos on WAPX. It seems more than a bit excessive, however, many smaller AM stations around the country during the 60s and 70s often used that technique, thinking that more effects was going to translate into more listeners. Or, there was no consultant around to tell the station otherwise. Somebody knows why, and we leave it, as always, to our site visitors to explain the tiny nuances of this aircheck for history’s sake.
According to the Get On Down blog, the author says that Ugly Al became a minister in the 1980s. He also founded the Montgomery-Tuskeegee Times Newspaper.
Aside from the news item mentioned at the top of this page, very little is known about this radio station, and rather than make any assumptions which I might be wrong about, I leave this slice of R&B Radio History to our listeners to enjoy and comment upon.
8 thoughts on “Al Dixon, 1600 WAPX Montgomery | February 24, 1975”
Very neat aircheck! Thanks for posting. 1600 AM in Montgomery has been gospel WXVI for many years.
I never knew that that incident happened, but being only 11 at the time, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the news, but I was pretty knowledgeable for someone my age, if I do say so myself. I really like old-school soul along with classic country. Interesting combination, wouldn’t you say?
This was my first job in radio! I got there in 1978 the station call letters had changed to WXVI. Al Dixon Jr. a.k.a. “The Soul Leader” was my best friend there. When I arrived there every jock packed heat because of the 1974 shootout. Every announcer except for me (I was from Dayton, Ohio and had no knowledge of the hostage situation and shooting) had either a pistol sitting on the control board counter or a rifle propped up in a corner. What I haven’t seen reported was the fact that one of the ladies who worked with us had been hit in the head by a bullet that had ricocheted off of a piece of equipment. The late great Billy Black out of Cleveland, Ohio was the program director by the time I got there.
WAPX was basically a Top 40 station when I lived in Montgomery in the early 60s. I had “played” DJ on a tape when I was 12 years old, and the folks in the foster home I was living in managed to invite one of the WAPX Djs to our house. That guy listened to my “aircheck” and of course gave me rave revues. I knew from that moment on I wanted to get into broadcasting. Oddly during those days, WAPX’s biggest competitor was the daytimer WBAM…”The Big Bam in Montgomery”.
Great times back then.
Rachel from HL Greens
I live in Montgomery, Alabama, and I remember the thug takeover that Saturday. Al Dixon Jr. was on the air, and the thugs held him and a secretary hostage for a while. Al Junior. made a break out the front door, and was in danger of being shot himself, but he wasn’t.
Here’s the thing: There were at least TWO Al Dixons in Montgomery in 1975.
I believe the “Ugly Al” that we hear here was the father. I listened to him in the 1960’s when I was in high school.
Al Junior worked at WAPX, and lived through the thug takeover.
Al Senior went on to own the newspaper and he became the minister. I do not know about Al Junior.
It wasn’t AL Dixon Jr, it was Alphonso Dixon aka “The Wonder Boy” and it also was Gloria Gilmer who was the secretary. These people have completely SCREWED THESE FACTS UP!!! How do I know? Well because I’m Algenae Dixon, so this is my family & I KNOW the FACTS!!!
I don’t know any more than what is/was available for information regarding this story. So, when you say ‘they’, try to explain who it is you think distorted the facts. Often times I only write about what I’ve investigated for facts. I do not post knowingly false information. Perhaps you could provide us with more accurate details?