The late Frankie Green, a radio personality who has been entertaining Lowcountry residents with his "Devastating Juke and Jam Show" and other music broadcasts for more than 40 years, was remembered last week by civic leaders and others who knew the DJ to be an integral part of the community. Green died on Wednesday at age 66.
Since 2000, he hosted a show aired on Saturdays on Cumulus Media’s WMGL-FM, Magic 107.3. He played R&B and blues, shared anecdotes and conveyed information he deemed important to listeners.
Green, known as Frankie the Big Bopper, was “homegrown” and devoted to his community, according to state Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston.
“The Bopper was truly old-school and entertained his devoted listeners with stories from days gone by that brought back memories to those from that era and introduced a younger generation to this format,” Gilliard said in a statement. “In my eyes, Frankie was an educator, communicator, motivator and political, not only while on-air but in his daily life while interacting with others.”
Green grew up in public housing on Charleston’s East Side at a time when radio provided critical entertainment and information to the black community, and this helped shape his interests. When he first started out, hired to play music at parties, the DJ called himself Frankie the Little Bopper, but as he matured and gained a few pounds, he modified his moniker. He favored R&B, blues, funk and gospel, leaving newer styles such as hip-hop to others.
The music he emphasizes might have fostered nostalgia among his listeners, but Green also was determined to keep them apprised of critical issues, often inviting guests on the air to make announcements or discuss their community work.
The city of Charleston proclaimed April 25, 2006, “Frankie the Big Bopper Day,” and in January 2015, Green received the Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama.
“We mourn the passing of (a) radio legend, community activist & mixologist that made people dance, smile & enjoy life,” wrote Sen. Marlon Kimpson on Twitter. “I appreciated him inviting me on his show to inform citizens about their government. This iconic giant will be dearly missed.”
Cumulus Media announced it would name its Magic studio “Frankie the Big Bopper Studio” in tribute to the late DJ.
“I will miss ‘The Bopper’ and hope that whoever takes his place on air will honor his memory by doing their very best to entertain and thoughtfully inform,” Gilliard said. “That would be the greatest way to remember my friend.”
Funeral services are 11 a.m. Monday, April 23, at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, and open to family and friends. Internment services are private.