May 22, 2022

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Saginaw gospel radio pioneer ‘Dr. Chris Banks’ dies at 75

4 min read

SAGINAW, MI – Andrew Parker, a Black radio pioneer regarded to listeners for decades as “Dr. Chris Financial institutions,” has died.

Parker, formerly of Saginaw, was a noteworthy gospel radio announcer and a co-founder, along with Don Wiggins, of WWWS 107.1 FM, known then as W3 Soul. His voice and radio persona ended up effectively known among gospel audio fans throughout Saginaw, Flint and outside of.

“(He was) the voice of gospel songs in the Tri-Cities,” reported his son Samuel Parker.

Andrew Parker died on Saturday, June 19, at the Nashville VA Health care Center situated at Vanderbilt College Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 75.

His loved ones, buddies and colleagues don’t forget his love of gospel music and devotion to his craft. Samuel Parker, who remembers traveling to the radio station with his father as a kid, reported he “had a voice like no other.”

“He was the voice of gospel songs. He was on air from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. each and every Sunday early morning,” he explained. “My dad was the male that you listened to ahead of you acquired to church.”

Sometimes on Sunday mornings, a youthful Samuel Parker would phone his dad to request a particular track.

“I was just fascinated that I could make a phone to him and that track would come on like 10 minutes later on,” he mentioned. “That was one particular of the highlights.”

Andrew Parker, a Marion, Alabama, indigenous, relocated to Saginaw immediately after serving in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967. He was honorably discharged and acquired the National Protection Provider Medal, according to his obituary. After transferring to Saginaw, he began a far more than 30-year-very long vocation with Eaton Corp. He and his spouse, Audrey Parker, had three little ones: Eugenia Johnson, Christopher Parker and Samuel Parker, who survive him. He also had 7 grandchildren and just one excellent-grandchild.

About a calendar year immediately after starting up his occupation at Eaton Corp., W3 Soul went on the air. Samuel Parker stated Eaton Corp. was his dad’s working day job. The rest of the time, he was “Dr. Chris Banking companies.”

“He was like a Saginaw celebrity,” he said.

Joyce Harvin worked at the radio station with Andrew Parker for a couple of many years in the late 1970s. She said all people of a certain age knew “Dr. Banking institutions.”

“Because gospel music is a most loved in the hearts and minds of African Us citizens,” she said. “That station, getting a Black station or a heritage station, we definitely liked Dr. Banks and the songs that he performed since it was gospel new music.”

Kermit Crockett, who was system director/tunes director and later on operations director at the station, worked with Andrew Parker for additional than 20 many years. He stated Andrew Parker was devoted to his vocation and “wanted the station to be its best.”

“He was just one of the pioneers of this station. He was on the air when the station to start with went on the air (in 1969),” Crockett reported. “He liked his occupation, he liked his viewers, experienced a pretty superior ear for gospel music. Make a difference of simple fact, he was the gospel tunes director. I was the new music director, but, you know, I did the general music and remaining the gospel tunes up to him. A extremely superior ear. He was in contact with his audience and what they wanted to listen to.”

Vicki Hill said her close friend and colleague was “an icon, a legend in the Saginaw region.”

“Chris was the gospel announcer that I listened to as a teen,” Hill claimed, noting that they later grew to become close friends and traveled to the yearly Gospel New music Workshop of America conference. “Chris was a mentor of mine.”

She, Andrew Parker and Jerome Brummell started a company termed Glorify Leisure to help propel the occupations of up-and-coming gospel artists.

“Chris Banks was this sort of an inspiration to all whose lives he touched,” she claimed.

Andrew Parker worked at the station right until the late 1990s.

Samuel Parker described his dad as a gifted and gifted broadcaster, a “true pioneer,” and “a true male of God.”

“He was a male of excellence. He did not do anything midway,” he claimed. “If my dad was a element of it, it was heading to be wonderful.”

Andrew Parker’s relatives will also remember him as “a devoted and loving father and grandfather.”

“He’s somebody that we’re heading to pass up,” Samuel Parker said. “The city will skip Dr. Chris Banking institutions, the gospel audio community will skip Dr. Chris Banks … but I will just pass up my father.”

A funeral services is scheduled to choose put at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 26, at Evans & Browne’s Funeral House, 441 N. Jefferson Ave. in Saginaw. Visitation will take location from 9 a.m. until time of assistance. Family hour will consider location at 10 a.m. Interment will acquire spot in Wonderful Lakes National Cemetery, G-4200 Belford Highway in Holly.

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