Joe Gorham
Joe Gorham (Courtesy photo)

Tributes continue to pour in following the recent death of Joseph “Joe” Gorham – the legendary radio broadcaster and longtime member of the WHUR, 96.3 staff.  

He died Sunday, Jan. 23, reportedly while enjoying one of his greatest pastimes, traveling. 

In a statement posted on the WHUR website, the follow words expressed the feelings of his friends and colleagues who remain. 

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the passing of one of our esteemed and beloved forever WHUR family members, ‘Joe’ Gorham. Joe retired from WHUR in 2018 but was still a regular in the building and at events and was always proud to be a WHUR family member,” said WHUR General Manager Sean Plater.

“You could always count on Joe to be present and to give it his all. His decades of service to this station is something that we honor today and we know that he touched the lives of many throughout his hometown of Washington, D.C,” Plater said.

In a career of over 40 years which reached listeners throughout the East Coast, Gorham’s contributions to WHUR began in 1979 as a freelance technical producer for the Jerry Phillips Morning Show. He would go on to become a freelance announcer, eventually being promoted to the position of full-time staff performer. 

In 1991, he left WHUR for new opportunities including a stint at WALR 104.7 in Atlanta. Three years later, Gorham, returned to WHUR to host the weekend edition of the Original Quiet Storm. His next assignment would be as the producer for the D.C. edition of the #1 nationally-syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. Other opportunities would come and with each position, he continued to excel. 

Many remember his creative side and his love of poetry which he illustrated by hosting a WHUR radio program, “Spoken Word at Joe’s Place.” The platform provided both fledgling and seasoned poets, including Nikki Giovanni, the chance to share their gifts and talents. 

A first generation Washingtonian, Gorham graduated from Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School and went on to the University of the District of Columbia where he earned a B.S Degree in Library Instructional Systems Technology. He also served honorably in the United States Army. 

He’s survived by his devoted daughter Michelle and a host of other family members and friends.

He would be described in a WHUR posting as “a self-described foodie” who loved to travel and try out the various cuisines around the world. 

“One of his last postings was a picture of a bowl of gumbo where he said, ‘Hell Naw, I didn’t make it, but I’m gonna make it disappear,’” the post revealed 

Darryll Brooks, a well-known and highly-respected concert promoter from the DMV, shared his thoughts about his friend. 

“Joe was the epitome of a radio guy,” Brooks said. “He was innovative and did things that were new and creative like developing and hosting a spoken word program. He was committed to helping local artists gain greater notoriety in pursuit of their dreams and provided them with a platform on his shows.”

“He was a gentleman who was always concerned about the community and forever committed to promoting quality music. He was part of an elite group of people from within the industry who spent time together, regularly and often. Joe was an essential part of the fabric of both the D.C. radio community and the local community of residents. He left a big footprint in the radio communications community and always shared his knowledge as a mentor with anyone willing to learn – students and professionals alike.” Brooks said.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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8 Comments

  1. Joe was a different kind of fellow, flawed like most of us. But he was always there if u needed him. U didn’t have to be a part of the WHUR family for him to reach out to u. Thank u little bro RIP

  2. I loved Joe. My family loved Joe. Joe was my cousin. My husband Roach & I were just with Joe at Ben’s Chili Bowl Tribute to WHUR. Joe – a winner and leaving a lasting impression on all he touched! Mertine Moore Brown

  3. Joe, you were a dear classmate and close friend. I will never forget our class reunions and picnics. You were always
    such a great sport about everything! You always took teasing from Cassandra, Sheila and me in such a jovial way. I know Rob will miss you greatly; as will I. Joe, thank you for always being a “gentleman,” in spirit and in deed. I will never forget you walking me down the aisle at my Mom’s wake. You were my unexpected rock at that moment. Rest my dear friend. You will be missed, but never forgotten. My prayers will continue for Michelle and the rest of your family.

  4. RIP Joe, Patrick, Askia……too many to soon. Thank you for adding substance to the community and the world global.

  5. Went to Theodore Roosevelt High School with Joseph Gorham. Some of us called him Mac. He was a very nice and personable human being. I knew him through his Uncle Tommy Thompson, who played Bass Guitar for the Mastertones Band. The band played behind a singing group called the C-Quents (a local group who recorded songs the 1960s). He knew about the group. I’m just learning of his passing and it makes me so sad!! Rest In Peace Joe.

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