Host of Columbia radio show remembered for his love of the blues

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 | 4:38 p.m. CDT; updated 2:37 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 2, 2012

COLUMBIA — Local radio show host William Thomas "B" Griffin Jr. will be remembered for his love of the blues and his show on BXR 102.3.

“There was no bigger advocate for the blues in Columbia,” said Spencer Kane, radio host at BXR. 

William Thomas “B” Griffin Jr. died at his home in Huntsville on Monday, July 30, 2012. He was 50.

Mr. Griffin was born Dec. 6, 1961, in Moberly to Evelyn and William Griffin, Sr.

He graduated from Westran High Schoolin 1980. He then went to college in Kansas City. 

Mr. Griffin was a member of the Timmons Temple Church in Huntsville.

He worked as a cook for Long John Silver’s in Moberly. Most recently, he was a disc jockey for BXR radio in Columbia.

Simon Rose, weekly morning show host at BXR, said Mr. Griffin began working for the station when it was created in October of 1993. He hosted a show titled “No Name Blues Show” every Sunday from 10 p.m. to midnight. The last show he aired was this past Sunday, Rose said.

Rose said Mr. Griffin lived in Columbia for a while but moved to Huntsville to take care of his parents. He commuted every Sunday to the BXR radio station for his show. 

Mr. Griffin also worked with local concert venues to promote shows and foster relationships with artists, said Richard King, owner of The Blue Note. He really caught King's eye when he started working for BXR. King and Mr. Griffin shared a common interest: They both wanted the shows at The Blue Note to be successful. King said Mr. Griffin would promote shows by bringing artists on air and interviewing them. 

"One of the great things about 'B' was that he wasn’t looking for compensation. He was there to make these things work," King said. 

Not only did Mr. Griffin promote the shows, but he also built relationships with the artists, King said. After shows, he would sit back on the stage and have a casual conversation with them. 

"'B' had a very unique way in reaching out to artists and making them feel comfortable," King said. 

Rose said Mr. Griffin loved blues music, especially the old-fashioned style of Lightnin’ Hopkins, but also enjoyed a wide range of music within the realm of the blues, Rose said.

As a tribute, BXR radio is having a show in his honor, Rose said. Although the whole show isn't planned yet, Rose is shooting to air it this Sunday during Mr. Griffin’s usual time slot. Rose said two on-air personalities from the radio, Mo Louis and Tony Barbis, will be hosting it.

The plan is to invite local musicians from the blues community to play some of his favorite songs and also have people share some of their memories with him. The guys might take some call-ins as well, Rose said. Anyone interested can check on the BXR Facebook page for more details.

Rose said the radio station is still coping with Mr. Griffin's death because it was a shock to them.

“He had a very dry, funny sense of humor and was fun to be around. (He was) a larger than life kind of person.”

Mr. Griffin is survived by his mother, Evelyn Griffin of Huntsville; a brother, Eric Griffin and his wife, Julia, of Moberly; a nephew, Erick Griffin, and a niece, Josie Griffin, both of Moberly; and several aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

His father, William Griffin Sr. died earlier.

Visitation will be 9 a.m. Saturday at Patton Funeral Home, 121 N. Main in Huntsville. Services will follow at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, with burial in the Huntsville City Cemetery. 

Supervising editor is Ann Elise Taylor.

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