Hayes Receives Award From MLK State Celebration Commission of Missouri | Webster University

Hayes Receives Award From MLK State Celebration Commission of Missouri


ST. LOUIS (January 15, 2018) – School of Communication adjunct professor Bernie Hayes received the 2018 Distinguished Drum Major Award on Saturday, January 6. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Celebration Commission of Missouri selected Hayes for the award “for keeping the legacy of Dr. Martin Lutheran King, Jr.,” and for his “tireless efforts to exemplify Dr. King’s ideals and commitments,” according to a letter signed by Dr. Dwuan J. Warmack, chairman of the commission and president of Harris-Stowe University.
Dr. Dwuan J. Warmack & Bernie Hayes
Hayes received the award at a ceremony held on the campus of Harris-Stowe University. Invited dignitaries included St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, U.S. Congressman William “Lacy” Clay, Jr., U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, and other state and local officials. Bakari Sellers, CNN analyst, attorney, and former state representative was the keynote speaker.

In a note informing Dean of the School of Communications Eric Rothenbuhler and others of the award, Hayes mentioned that he was proud of this award. When asked why he was proud of it, he said, “I’ve been trying to fulfill Dr. King’s dream of peace and happiness.” He went on to say that fulfilling Dr. King’s dream has been a cause of his since high school when a counselor stressed the importance of the school motto, “Enter to learn, and learn to serve.” The motto resonated with him.

When asked about how he believed he had made a difference and exemplified Dr. King’s ideals and commitments, Hayes was somewhat reluctant to respond. Then he gave these examples. He said, he had:

  • Changed the attitude of disparity in pay (between black and white DJs) at radio stations
  • Started a black talk radio program in Saint Louis
  • Started playing cuts of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the air
  • Started the Black Radio Hall of Fame
  • Made a difference in the lives of the students he’s taught

Hayes said “the first three sessions (in his MEDC 2800 Cultural Diversity in the Media classes) are about race and the perception of race." He emphasizes that it’s different now because “the message is getting across, injustices are being revealed, dreams are being pursued, and more opportunities exist.”

It wasn't always that way. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he began his career as a radio announcer. In 1955, he became a disc jockey. Even though he had a degree in journalism, he could not find work; few people would hire a black man as a journalist at that time.

Despite challenges, Hayes persevered and has had a career as a print and broadcast journalist, radio and television announcer, recording artist and record producer that spans more than 60 years and several major markets. He has amassed over 800 awards

He is well known in the local media community for starting the first black radio talk show in the St. Louis area. Today, he hosts “The Bernie Hayes Show,” a television program featuring interviews and current affairs, and he is a columnist for the St. Louis American. He is also the author of “The Death of Black Radio,” a history of blacks in the broadcast and music industry.

Hayes has a long history of service to the St. Louis community. He has been teaching for the School of Communications for 25 years.

(Photo of Dr. Dwuan J. Warmack, chairman of the commission and president of Harris-Stowe University, to the left, and 2018 Distinguished Drum Major Award recipient, Bernie Hayes, to the right, courtesy of Harris-Stowe University)

About the School of Communications
The School of Communications at Webster University prepares students to excel as skilled professionals in the global field of communications. We provide theory and practice in media courses framed within a liberal arts-based curriculum, augmented by personalized mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Sixteen distinct majors are available at the undergraduate level as well as six master’s degrees in diverse fields of communications. We offer BA and MA programs on the Webster campuses in Geneva, Vienna, Leiden, Thailand, and Ghana, as well as in Saint Louis and online.

About Webster University
With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University (www.webster.edu) comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with more than 17,000 students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

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