Bob Carl Bailey

Bob Carl Bailey, founder of WZZA Radio, did much for his community. Not only did he provide a voice for all people in the Shoals, he helped many individuals, churches, and small businesses. He paid church mortgages, utility bills, car notes, school tuition; spoke with employers, judges and lawyers on behalf of those who needed an advocate, provided jobs, financial assistance, and information, and advice to countless others, and broke ground by becoming the first black radio station licensee in the Shoals, a successful black businessman with several companies, the first black policeman hired in Huntsville, Alabama, founder of economic development organizations, business spokesman to the Alabama state governor and much more.

The Shoals area, and around the world, lost Bob Carl Bailey ten years ago on April 16th, 2001. And now, WZZA invited everyone who has been touched in some way, to join us to help honor the legacy of Bob Carl Bailey by helping to raise the funds to place a plaque in his memory on the Tuscumbia Singing River Sculpture. Our goal is two thousand dollars, and we need everyone’s help to reach that goal…send your contributions to WZZA Radio, 1570 Woodmont Drive, Tuscumbia, Alabama 35674. Thank you very much for your gift and for your help in honoring the memory and the legacy of Bob Carl Bailey.

Robert Carl Bailey, was born in Leighton, Alabama, on October 13, 1935, graduated from Leighton Training School, attended Alabama A & M University, and enlisted twice in the U.S. Army, where he served for four years attaining the rank of Sergeant. He was an independent thinker who joined Hopewell Cumberland Presbyterian Church at an early age, resigned his membership in 1978, and rejoined in 1998.

Bob Carl achieved several “firsts.” He served as one of the first three African-American policeman in Huntsville, Alabama, and later as the first African-American Chief of Police for the City of Triana, Alabama; the first African-American to have a television talk show in the Shoals, the first radio announcer in Muscle Shoals area, one of the first African-American music retailers, one of the first African Americans to have an automobile dealer’s license, and the first President of the Shoals Areas Business Association. He helped to prompt the creation of Black music in the Shoals by introducing Jimmy Hughes (“Steal Away”) to producer Rick Hall of FAME Recording studios, and later produced and promoted local R&B and Gospel groups.

Throughout the years Bob Carl served as a social and community leader by organizing and sponsoring countless benefits and tributes to various community leaders and worthwhile organizations. He paid mortgages, car notes, college expenses, utility bills, hospital bills, and was there for many in time of need. While Bob Carl never ran for office, he often took an active role in local and state politics, and was twice invited to visit the White House in Washington, D.C. He was appointed by Governor Fob James to serve on the Alabama Small Business Advisory Committee.

In 1972, Bob Carl and Odessa purchased WZZA-AM Radio Station. Then began three decades of providing a voice to the Black Community. Later Bob Carl purchased and operated a second radio station, WTQX-AM in Selma, Alabama.

He assisted and advised other radio broadcast owners, and supported business professionals throughout Alabama. Over the years he won numerous awards, served on many boards, and left an incomparable mark on the Shoals area. He was politically active, a community advocate, and a compassionate philanthropist. At the time of death on April 16, 2001, Bob Carl was the owner and operator of WZZA Radio Station in Tuscumbia, Alabama.