Steven Parker: the new voice of Richmond
on December 20, 2014
The energy crackles in The Steven Parker Show’s Oakland studio.
“We need two cords!” Parker booms, “we’re on in five.”
Parker is making calls, trying to get his two guests on the phone.
“My co-host is pulling up, you need to buzz her in, she’s in the driveway,” he tells assistant producer Kim Roberts.
Parker looks up, eyes bright, “I used to be worst when I was new, this is calmed.”
The studio is snared in technical difficulties. The engineers are trying to figure out why the guest on the line is cutting off. They wrap electrical tape around a cord.
“Jay you there?” Parker asks.
“I haven’t left,” says Jay King.
“Jay you hear me bro? Parker asks.
“All day,” King says.
“Alright we’re ready to get started,” Parker says.
With only one guest on the line Parker starts the show.
And with a loud, assertive and enthusiastic voice, Parker says, “Welcome to The Steven Parker Show. Thank God for his grace and mercy, you are listening to KGM1 and today we have a great show for you.”
Parker, a spry 46, is a new radio voice in Richmond. He’s overcome struggles with crime and drug addiction to remake himself into a local leader who discusses political issues and interviews musical guests on his show. Parker says his newfound vocation helps him fulfill his civic duty and provides residents with news about important issues.
But in the studio this day, Parker is excited about having his guests, Grammy Award winning R&B group Club Nouveau, founder Jay King and lead singer Samuelle Prater on the line. The group won a Grammy in 1987 for best R&B song for their version of Bill Withers’ song “Lean on Me.” The group is working on a new album, set to release in spring of 2015.
At this point the engineers are still working on getting Prater on the line. But the show must go on, and it does.
Parker handled the technical crisis with relative ease. One would think he has been in the radio biz for many years, but he’s only been on air about nine months.
Having a radio show was something Parker never expected. Parker’s career for about 20 years now has been as a longshoreman at the Oakland Port, a day job he intends to keep despite his radio show.
Parker was discovered by Gabriel Solomon, CEO of KGM1 and a co-worker at the port.
“I’ve been knowing Steven Parker for 20 years,” Solomon said. “He discovered himself, we only gave him the opportunity to do what he do best.”
One particular time Parker and Solomon were in a bus shuttle and Parker made everybody laugh with rapid fire jokes. That’s when Solomon told him he needed to come to the studio and try it out.
Solomon took Parker to his station and he pointed to the mic and told Parker “your on.” The station is live on the web, and Parker started doing his thing.
“You’re a natural,” Solomon told Parker.
Since the recent Richmond elections Parker focused his show on discussing politics and issues in the Bay Area and specifically in the city of Richmond.
Raised in Richmond on Cutting Blvd and 27th Street, Parker believes he is the ideal voice for this city. Parker has lived in Richmond since he was three years old.
But Parker fell on hard times when he became addicted to drugs. He was 16 years old when his favorite uncle introduced him to drugs.
“I trusted him,” Parker said. “And when he told me it wouldn’t hurt me I believed him. I now realized he lied to me because I struggled for years with the disease of addiction.”
Parker was shot when he was 26 years old.
At that point his mother Texanita Bluitt, who is highly involved in local politics, was fed up with her son’s behavior.
“He was very close to being dead when he got shot. I brought him home to rehabilitate him but as soon as he was strong enough he had to go. That was the beginning of the breaking point for me and it reassured him how serious I was,” Bluitt said.
“I had to surrender him to god. It was not the easiest thing to do, but it was what I had to do. A lot of times I went in my room and cried about it,” Bluitt said.
But now, after many years of struggling with his addiction, Parker is excited about life and the future. His struggles are a thing of the past, and he hopes to let people who are on drugs know they too can turn their lives around.
Now that the elections are over Parker is focused on Gospel music on his show. As “The Steven Parker” show wound up that recent Saturday, Parker thanked his guest on the line, his co-host Ms. V. J. Valarie Rideaux.
And as the closing song to the show Parker played Club Nouveau’s, “Lean on Me,” Parker rocked back and forth, “What you know about that moon walk?”
Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.
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