WHUR Radio Pioneer Joe Gorham Dies at 69



UpdateThe Celebration of Life Services for Joe Gorham will be held Friday, March 4th @ 10am at First Baptist Church of Glenarden Ministry Center @ 3600 Brightseat Road in Landover, MD 20785

Washington, D.C. (Monday, January 24, 2022) – It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the passing of one of our esteemed and beloved forever WHUR family members Joseph “Joe” Gorham.  Joe died Sunday, January 23, 2022 while doing one of his greatest loves, traveling.

There are some key people who come to mind when you think of DMV radio legends. Joe Gorham is certainly among that distinguished list. Joe was a veteran broadcaster with a career spanning more than four decades stretching up and down the East Coast.

“Joe retired from WHUR in 2018, but he was still a regular in the building and at events, as he was always proud to be a WHUR family member. You could always count on Joe to be present and to give it his all. His decades of service to this station is something that we honor today and we know that he touched the lives of many throughout his hometown of Washington, DC,” said WHUR General Manager Sean Plater.

Joe spent much of his career as a dedicated member of the WHUR Family holding down numerous positions. Joe started as a freelance technical producer for the Jerry Phillips Morning Show in 1979. From there, he went on to become a freelance announcer and moved on to a full-time staff performer.

In 1991, Joe left WHUR to go up the radio dial to WDJY-100 FM and then to Atlanta’s WALR 104.7. He returned to his beloved WHUR three years later where he hosted the weekend edition of the Original Quiet Storm followed by producing the Washington, DC edition of the #1 nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Joe was a creative soul who made his footprint not only in radio. He touched many parts of the Arts genre. He loved poetry, hosting a WHUR radio program called “Spoken Word at Joe’s Place,” giving up and coming and legendary poets like Nikki Giovanni a platform to share their gifts and talents.

One of Joe’s proudest moments in his broadcasting career came in January 2004 when he was given the task to help WHUR to make history by becoming the first broadcast facility in the DMV to launch an HD radio station (96.3HD2 WHUR-World). Joe’s keen sense of music, organization, and attention to detail made him the perfect candidate to rebuild WHUR’s music library to its former greatness and become WHUR-World’s Music Director. He was also appointed the Music Director of the newly acquired HUR-Voices Sirius-XM Channel 141. Always making sure his voice could be heard, Joe developed a new radio program on WHUR-World called “Legato Lycx.” He held all those aforementioned positions until he retired in 2018.

A first generation Washingtonian, Joe graduated from Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School and went on to the University of the District of Columbia where he earned a B.S Degree in Library Instructional Systems Technology. Joe also served honorably in the United States Army. He his survived by his devoted daughter Michelle and a host of other family members and friends.

Joe was well known and loved in the radio, music, and arts industry. From local and national entertainers, his vast friendships read like a “Who’s Who List.” Just check out his Facebook page on any given day. He had pictures posing with legends who knew him by name. But Joe was at his best with family, friends, and his listeners. He loved to be at events chatting it up with any and everybody. A self-described foodie, Joe loved to travel and try out the various cuisines around the world. One of his last postings was a picture of a bowl of gumbo where he said “Hell Naw, I didn’t make it, but I’m gonna make it disappear.” Whether online, on stage, or in the audience, Joe was Joe.   He was our radio brother and he will be missed.

Joseph “Joe” Gorham” dead at the age of 69. Rest well Joe. Job well done!!!

Prefer to leave a loving message for Joe Gorham to be played on the air? Open the WHUR mobile app, select Open Mic at the bottom and record your message.

*Message should not exceed 60 seconds.

Share your condolences, fondest memories and prayers on the Joe Gorham tribute wall below.

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Sandra LynnI am 30+ years removed from DC, but ohhhhh how I remember Joe Gorham on WHUR as a college student and fellow UDC alum! My heart is heavy, but somewhere I have cassette tapes with Joe on-air (because that's how we did it back then) playing the best music and giving the best voice! I will find them and play them in his honor. Rest well, Joe...
David DanielsThank You Joe for many years of the late night "In Flight" series and all the wonderful spoken word sessions. You will be missed man. REST IN PARADISE JOE!!
Jimi LeeThe voice.... that’s what I’ll miss about Joe Gotham ... hearing that beautiful sounding voice on the radio ... is no more... that kind of voice only comes around once in a while ... being a local theatre actor here in the DMV ... we train our voices to try to come close to that kind of sound... that kind of sound only comes around only once in a while.... Never met him .... but that voice... I’ll never for get the sound... Rest my brother... rest..
Rosalind RobertsonRIP Mac. My condolences to the family. I still talk about the parties in the backyard on Chillum Rd. And to the family, as you grieve, I pray you receive the comfort that only God can give.
Robbin RoweJoe Gorham blessed me and the airways with the craft of his talent & professionalism. I came to know & enjoy him through his overnight show on WHUR. As a student at Howard, I would set my alarm, so that I could catch the gospel music segment, that he played during the last hour of his show. I really enjoyed it when he played his show's signature song, 'Jesus is Love' (by the Commodores). I have missed Joe ever since that show ended. To his family, as you grieve, I pray that you all will receive the comfort that only God can give.
Cortrelius DanielsMy heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the family of my dear brother. We shared over 40 years of laughter and great times. Joe was one if he believed in you he would, give you the world. Joe was always 💯, there was nothing I couldn’t reach out to him about. When I was at my lowest he had a way with words that I knew I was safe. Thanks for over 40 years of true brotherhood. The three amigos, Zeke, Winger, and Joe! Love 4 life! Our talks are safe my brother, I’ve been around when these brothers pranked one another, 😱 they protected me as the little sister, sometimes over protective…Derek McCray was also the little brother, they checked him when needed to be checked…. A lifetime of great memories and the music Industry was an extra!
Chrishelle StrudwickI listened to him on the radio for years may he rest in peace. Praying for the family and radio station. God bless.
Deanean BullockMy friend....With a voice...with open arms...with compassion...with a kind heart....our friendship is ever lasting. You will be missed. My deepest condolences to the Gorham and Whur family.
Ayira LovechildGiving thanks for Mr.Gorham's life, spirit and legacy. I listened to him for years! My condolences and prayers to his family and friends.
Janet SnyderRIP, A Wonderful DJ. & Native Washington, Icon..gone to soon, but never ever forgotten...Deepest Condolences& Prayers to Family/ Friends🤲🙏❤
Sheila GilstrapMy condolences to Joe Gorhman’s family & his WHUR friends. Rest in Paradise 🌹
Lisa PittmanThank you for your voice...it sounded so genuine and soothing to my soul...and talent.... shown thru.... Condolences to the Mr. Gorham's family and the WHUR family. Rest in Paradise...
Yvette JohnsonMy sincere condolences to the family & friends. He will be missed. Thank you Joe Gorham for the decades of service with WHUR. Rest in Paradise! 🙏🏾💐
Regina HillIt is with great sympathy and sorrow to hear of my friend Joe's passing. A great inspiration and friend during my years coming through Howard University. An icon and pioneer gone too soon and one that will be sorely missed by many. My condolences to the family. Prayers going up and tears coming down.
Wayne St.HillCondolences
David MeltonI was a financial aid counselor at WTI that later merged with FCC and DC Teachers College to become UDC. I met Joe and became his counselor and assigned him to a work study job at WUDC campus radio station. He graduated and went on to become a great DJ at WHUR. He will truly be missed. Much love ❤️ my brother
Jacqueline W. GrahamRIP my friend. very good man. Love you to the Moon!!
Michael CrawleyMy brother! Mad love to ya. Rest in Heaven. Respect!
Michael CrawleyMy brother! Mad love to ya. Rest in Heaven. Respect!
Valda Wisdom BrownJoe and I met in 1969 and we danced to Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda da Vida” almost 20 minutes which was crazy when we could laugh about that later in life. Although we might have ran into each other every 10 or more years friendship was consistent. Rest in Peace, Mac. You played a mean bass guitar back in the day. Say “hello” to your Mom and to my parents. 🙏🏾💜
Clifton Young, UDC PhotograherI taught Joe how to Snow Ski in the late 1976-1987. I nick named him (Mac Face) because of his jaws. The Last time I show him was at his retirement party. He was a long term member of UDC Ski Club. He loved going to ski at Seven Springs, PA. every year, also Liberty, Round Top, Elk Mountain, Play Boy Resort and Mount Tre-Blount, Canada. I will miss you so very much!
Yvonne WilliamsI was HEART struck when I heard this news. He was so focused, @ work & friendship. Will miss your voice & smile
Edwana PriceI first met Mr Gorham at the tender age of nine. I had lost my beloved grandmother just a year before and would later loose some very dear friends to the gun violence in DC on the 90s. Mr. Gorham was always open and candid with the wisdom he would share with me whenever he was purchasing one my sweet potato pies. One of things I have always remembered and taken with all these years was Mr Gorham's take on death and cemeteries. We were talking one day during a visit. My mother had shared with him that I was grieving the recent passing of friend and always going to the cemetery. Mr Gorham talked to me about the lose of his mother and how he would often go to the cemetery as well. He then explained to me that one day it hit him that his mother wasn't in the cemetery; he said he realized that his mother was alive in and through him. He said that was the last time went to the cemetery. I share this because in our grief I know that Mr. Gorham would want us all to focus on the fond memories we have of him and the brightness of his smile. I Love You Mr Gorham. Travel light. Love Donie😘💕💜
Cynthia HarrisJoe and I go back to our neighborhood days in Petworth as teenagers. We saw each other on a daily basis, visited each other’s homes and just sat around and talked. As adults we continued our bond of friendship. Boy will I miss him. A good friend through and through. Your work here is done. I know you are in heaven making “good fun”. Rest In Peace my friend. 💜
Denise SalviJoe and I have been friends for almost 40 yrs & regardless of wherever life's challenges took us, we always remained connected! I'm beyond sad, more like shocked. But I must not dwell on his passing, but be thankful & blessed for his friendship & the wonderful memories too numerous to list. I send my heartfelt condolences & prayers to his daughter & family. Rest in Paradise! My dear friend, Joe Gorham. Thanks for the memories! Denise Salvi via West Palm Beach, Florida Formerly DMV
Candice TateMuch respect and love to you Joe. You are the missed by all that know and love you
Cynthia HarrisJoe and I go back to our neighborhood days in Petworth as teenagers. We saw each other on a daily basis, visited each other’s homes and just sat around and talked. As adults we continued our bond of friendship. Boy will I miss him. A good friend through and through. Your work here is done. I know you are in heaven making “good fun”. Rest In Peace my friend. 💜
Tom HodgesNo no this is sad but glad my stranger/friend I've known for years as a on air friend but we became closer during this crappy 2+ years of this lock down fb brought ppl back together ❤️ you brother hold me a place for me I will hopefully see you soon 😭🙏😍
Rohn DickersonI feel like knew Joe personally because when he was on the air at night on Joe's place I listened every night he help me an so many ways too keep myself together as a young black man an when I heard of his passing i said too myself God dont make no mistakes I know he is in haven helping out with everything I been listening to 96.3 WHUR since 1985 I was a young boy my parents always had WHUR on the radio in the house and the car Mr joe Garham rest in power KiNG and God will keep watching over your family and father God keep watching over the WHUR family in Jesus name Amen Amen and Amen 🙏
Gary ReeceJoe was a upbeat and pleasant guy . Loved music and and our community. Joe may be gone but he’ll never leave the hearts of anyone who came in contact with him . We lost another good man . Heaven got another great DC D J . Condolences to his family.

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