Former WDIA manager recalls hiring B.B. King

Former WDIA manager recalls hiring B.B. King
Published: May. 16, 2015 at 12:40 AM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2015 at 2:54 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - WMC Action News 5 talked with the woman who helped make B. B. King a star. She actually hired him at legendary radio station WDIA in 1949.

"I said 'let's put him on the air' and we did," said Christine Spindel.

B. B. King worked under Spindel when she was program director at WDIA long before he gained legendary status. She was just 23 when she helped hire King after hearing his music.

"B. B. sauntered in on a rainy day with his guitar under an umbrella, himself all wet," recalled Spindel.  "And my boss called me downstairs and said 'come listen to him.'"

The nation's first radio station with an all-black format soon became even more special.

"He was just simply too hot for us," said Spindel.

King's true passion was always crystal clear.  His radio career eventually took a back seat.

"He was so popular from the beginning," said Spindel.

Of course, everyone knows where King's musical talent took him. As for Ms. Spindel, she left radio long ago to, among other things, raise a family. But the pair would meet again during a ceremony in which King got a key to the city.

"I saw him and went toward him," recalled Spindel.  "And he kissed me, and I was delighted."

She said King was the most courteous, gentle, and thoughtful entertainer she's ever encountered.

"He'll be missed by me," said Spindel. "I think of BB all the time."

Spindel said she last heard from King a few months ago through a mutual friend.

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