The High Priest of Soul…That’s a title associated with J.B. Brown. The Brooklyn, New York native moved to Baltimore at the age of 5. Brown developed an interest in radio in the late 60’s and as a teenager began hanging out at Baltimore’s heritage soul station WWIN. He lists among his influences, Paul ‘Fat Daddy’ Johnson and Sir Johnny O (Compton). The latter used to handle the all-nigh show at WWIN. JB would sit in on Johnny’s show. When O’s lady friend arrived in the wee hours, JB was asked to run the station while Johnny and his lass went out for a sandwich. However, J.B. was given strict orders not to open the mic. It was around this time J.B. attended many local concerts and cabarets. He was a captivated by on-stage performances by the likes of ‘Fat Daddy’ and ‘Hot Rod’ Hulbert. As a result, Brown saw the benefit in developing his own act, a talent that would serve him for decades to come. By 1972, then known as Johnnie B…Brown landed a position as a Gospel DJ at 1010 WSID in Baltimore. Around the same time, J.B. took on additional duties as the public address announcer for the Baltimore Cats Roller Derby squad at the Civic Center. In 1974, he moved down the street to 1360 WEBB. James Brown, and featured personalities such as Diamond Jim Sears and moon Man owned the station at the time. For the next 5 years, Brown…or Johnnie B…served at various times as Morning Man, PM Drive Host, and Music Director. J.B. says that while on the air, he would frequently receive calls from the Godfather of Soul himself, asking, ‘Johnny, are you playing my new record?’ On one other occasion, Brown signed on at 6AM (WEBB was a daytimer at the time) with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ by Elvis. Considering that WEBB was 100% solid soul, this development rocked PD Diamond Jim Sears out of the sack and on to the phone to admonish Brown that he was to never break format like that again. Ironically, that incident showed Brown’s knowledge of all genres of music and his determination to ‘play the hits’. By 1979, Brown’s tenure at WEBB came to an end. For the next few years, he found work spinning records and producing shows at Baltimore area clubs. He also worked extensively as Master of Ceremonies at concerts throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, opening for acts like the former WEBB cohort Curtis Anderson to come aboard for a shift at WWIN’s new FM station, Majic 95.9. As he recalls, ‘I wanted it to signal the resurgence of a brand new person and not be identified as only a 60’s personality.’ In 1983, Brown segued to Baltimore’s WXYV-FM (V103). He remained there for the next decade. Working the key Saturday and Sunday night shifts, Brown delivered double-digit ratings and was #1 in his time slot. His shtick consisted of three segments, ‘Countdown to Love’, ‘Time Tunnel’, and ‘Motown Monster Sweep’. ‘Countdown’ was a very popular feature, addressing relationship problems between the fellas and the ladies. J.B. stayed busy during the week with his ‘Turn On ‘Em Productions’ activities. These included full-blown productions featuring music, a group of attractive ladies called ‘J.B.’s Love Dolls’, and a beautiful baby blue Excalibur to transport them in. In 1987, J.B. received a proclamation from then Governor William Donald Schaefer officially proclaiming him ‘The High Priest of Soul’. In 1996, J.B. landed a shift at Oldies 1230 WITH in Baltimore. In 1998, he took the midday shift at Oldies 97 WAMD in Aberdeen, Maryland. In 2000, he left the business to take a job with the government. Although not in radio as of this writing, J.B. remains busy doing oldies shows and is available for bookings. One other thing…J.B. has worked with over 100 legendary recording artists of Rock and Roll and Soul.
V-103’S/WXYV Baltimore Air Personality J.B. Brown celebrated his third anniversary at V-103 Saturday, November 7th with a concert featuring the Dells, Clarence Carter, Jesse James and Marvin Sease at the Gentlemen Ten Night Club.
That evening, J.B. Brown was presented with a governor’s citation which recognizes him for “more than three years of harmonious tenure on the airwaves of WXYV Radio V-103 FM as the renowned ‘High Priest of Soul’.” J.B. Brown was also honored with a mayor’s proclamation declaring it “J.B. Brown Day” in Baltimore. The proclamation was presented by Mayor Clarence “Du” Burns, Baltimore’s first black mayor.
J.B. Brown can be heard on V-103 Sundays 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM, which includes his “time tunnel” from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM and his “countdown to love” from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM.