WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced Donnie Simpson as the 2024 NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee for radio. Simpson, a legendary media trailblazer and award-winning program director, will be inducted at the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame event at NAB Show, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Simpson began his distinguished career at age 15 when he was discovered by WJLB, a popular Detroit radio station while they were broadcasting from his mother’s record shop. Soon after, he became a teen reporter for WJLB and was then given his own radio show.
Simpson later moved to Washington, D.C., to work for WKYS-FM as the morning show host and program director. Under his leadership, the station achieved unprecedented ratings success, and Simpson was selected as the country's number-one Program Director of the Year as well as Air Personality of the Year in 1983 by Billboard Magazine. In 1993, Simpson went to work at WPGC-FM.
“Donnie Simpson’s life-long love of radio and music, incredible talent and commitment to his audience make him well-deserving of this honor,” said NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. “We are excited to welcome Donnie into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame for radio during NAB Show in April and look forward to celebrating all that he has accomplished over his distinguished 55-year career.”
In 2010, Simpson took a hiatus from radio after 30 years as a D.C. morning host. He returned in 2015 to host the afternoon drive at Majic 102.3, a Radio One station in Washington, D.C., that went to number one after he joined.
In addition to his many accomplishments in the radio industry, Simpson worked in television and movies. He served as the backup sports anchor to George Michael on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., before joining America’s first Black television network, BET where he hosted their flagship show “Video Soul” for 14 years. Simpson appeared on the popular sitcoms, “Martin” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” He was also in classic films such as “Krush Groove” and “The Five Heartbeats.”
His illustrious career has earned him many accolades, including being inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2020.
In addition to Simpson’s notable on-air work, he is dedicated to supporting several charities and nonprofit organizations. In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, Simpson stayed on the air for 16 hours, raising over $220,000 for those impacted. He also has served as honorary chairman of the National Black Family Reunion and has assisted in fundraising efforts for AIDS research and the United Negro College Fund. Donnie and his wife have established The Donnie & Pam Simpson Scholarship Fund to help minority college hopefuls in need of assistance.
The NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame recognizes radio and television personalities or programs that have earned a place in broadcasting history. Past inductees include Jim Bohannon, “All Things Considered,” John Records Landecker, Cathy Hughes, Elvis Duran and Delilah. Explore the complete list of past inductees here.