Yet Bailey only has to open his mouth and speak to reveal what separates him from the rest: “The Voice” – a moniker attached to him at an early age as a tribute to a attribute that remains uniquely his. “I feel like it was something I was born to do,” Bailey responds whenever asked what motivated him to get into radio. “Even as a tyke I was fascinated by the voices coming from the radio. As a teenager, I used to hang out at WZUM in Pittsburgh as a “gofer” and was encouraged by DJ Al G (Germany) to go for it.”
He officially claimed his place in broadcasting in 1970 when, six months before his discharge from the Air Force, he persuaded the management of a Sacramento radio station to let him use one of their production rooms to hone his skills. By the time he was discharged from the military, the station — KPOP, could not ignore the buzz Bailey had generated from the demos he had produced, and gave the up-and-coming DJ his own on-air slot. Bailey’s escalating success and undeniable talent not only contributed to the stations’ decision to go R&B fulltime, but offers for him started pouring in, and subsequently, he left the station and hit the airwaves in Washington, D.C. before permanently landing in Los Angeles for a career that would impact the world!
In 1979 Lee Bailey launched Bailey Broadcasting Services out of his garage. This soon led to the innovative creation of an on-air magazine called RadioScope: The Entertainment Magazine of the Air. Its twenty year stint posited Bailey as a front runner in syndicated urban programming; and set the stage for the entre of some of the most formidable names in African American broadcasting history. RadioScope became a training Mecca for students of broadcast media and a hub for countless upcoming journalists.
Driven by an insatiable interest in breaking news; a heightened sense of technical savvy, and a love of anything entertainment, Bailey immediately recognized the immense benefits of the Internet as a way to eliminate the middleman and reach the consumer directly. In 1996, the Electronic Urban Report at EURweb.com was launched. Since its inception it has become recognized as one of the premier urban entertainment and headline news sites on the web; tracking over two million visitors per week; and sparking accolades from dignitaries and entertainment moguls alike. One such person is the outspoken Reverend Al Sharpton, who claims EURweb as “The place to go for urban news.” Entertainment mogul Byron Allen, who says he reads EURweb daily affirms, “You have not fully developed your intellectual capital until you have read EURweb.”
Bailey’s office hosts an array of awards and statuettes from industry outlets and private entities in recognition of his many contributions to the urban news landscape. He has received a Billboard award for “Best Syndicated Urban Radio Program,” a “Men of Courage” award from The Carnation Company; the iconic Jack the Rapper, known as the “Father of Black Radio” awarded him the “Best Syndicated Radio” honor; and Bailey was also awarded the R&B Report’s “Best Syndicated Radio Program,” by the City of Los Angeles.
The legendary broadcaster names DJ Al Germany and radio ‘soul man’ Jeffrey Troy as his broadcasting mentors; and has his own “favorites” when it comes to industry peers. He admired the glib, relaxing interview style of the late Tom Snyder; Wendy Williams for her fearless interview style; and Ted Koppel for his ‘hold their feet to the fire’ approach.
Bailey, who chuckles with embarrassment when he is approached by celebrities offering an excited handshake or embrace, has interviewed hundreds of notables during his stellar career; but reveals his most fascinating interviews come from the late “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson: “Telling me his dream was to do a concert on the moon,” and “spending well over a minute telling me why he couldn’t make a comment about Quincy Jones (at a tribute to him) when he could’ve just said ‘he’s a great guy’ and gone on about his business.”
He also recalls an interview with R&B diva Chaka Khan, who he says “Appeared to be high [and] started off the interview by blurting out how she ‘hated her big tits’ and how ‘her son liked to look up her dress’. Needless to say when that show aired, we got a lot of response including a phone call from Chaka’s mother, who wasn’t happy.”
Bailey also mentions an interview with the late Don Cornelius, who “called and cussed me out because he read something we said about Soul Train (giving the Aretha Franklin Award to Ashanti), for which he later apologized.”
Lee Bailey’s name, his voice and his brand of “Infotainment” continues to be recognized around the globe. His fervent use of audio and video mediums such as YouTube; and social media platforms like FaceBook and Twitter is what keeps his enterprise current in the face of constant change.
His acclaimed entrepreneurial success places Bailey in heavy demand to speak (or simply appear) at numerous entertainment industry and private events; as well as keynote at universities and local colleges around the country. 883