The Man Who Discovered Oprah:
Broadcasting entrepreneur, John H. Heidelberg was born in Shubuta, Mississippi. He attended his family's Spring Hill Church School, Shubuta School, McGill Junior High School and Riverview High School in Waynesboro, Mississippi. He joined the United States Air Force in 1962, he also served a tour in Vietnam.
Returning home in 1965, he enrolled in Jackson County Junior College while working at Engel's Shipyard. Heidelberg attended the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters on the G.I. Bill and later he entered Tennessee State University. He was hired by Nashville's WVOL-AM as a part-time disc jockey in 1969. Six months later, Heidelberg earned a full-time job. Working daily, he played the urban music. In 1970, as acting program director, he gave some air time to East High School student, Oprah Winfrey, who he eventually hired to read news broadcasts for the station.
In 1976, Heidelberg joined Nashville's 50,000 watt WSM-AM, a station famous as the voice of country music. There, he was one of the first African American country disc jockeys. In April of 2000, Heidelberg purchased WVOL-AM stereo from Dickie Brothers Broadcasting. Under Heidelberg Broadcasting, the format of "The Mighty 147" has been urban contemporary gospel and talk shows during the day and jazz at night.
In 2002, Heidelberg opened John Henry's Restaurant and Showcase on historic Jefferson Street in North Nashville. The restaurant, no longer in business, featured fine dining with a taste of soul and southern jazz with a full size bar and a dance floor.
Heidelberg was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 15, 2007