Gospel broadcasting pioneer Rev. Dr. Ollie Collins, Jr., known throughout the industry as “the man with the golden voice” died November 12 at his home in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was 81.
Taking a stance for Christ at an early age, Ollie, Jr. remembered singing outside a church when he was 2 or 3 years old. As 1 of 5 members of The Golden Echoes Gospel Singers from 1958 to 1963, he launched his solo career in 1967 and recorded four gospel albums, “This Is My Prayer”/“I’m Going Home” and “No Need To Cry”/ “Without the Lord” (1967); “The Man I Serve”/“Hold On To His Hands” (1972); “What Prayer Can Do” and “Sound of Music”/ “He’ll Never Turn Me Away” (1974) “Too Close” / “I’ve Come a Long Way.”
In the early 60s, he disc jockeyed his first radio program in a 15-minute slot at WNAU in New Albany, MS. In Los Angeles, CA, he continued his path in the spiritual field, reaching millions of people daily with what he called “God’s Good Gospel Music” via radio and television, becoming known as “The Man with the Golden Voice.”
An invitation by “Wolfman Jack to deejay at radio station XERB in Baja, California, which covered all 50 states in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico at a 150,000-megawatt frequency, went from a 30-minute to a three-hour early morning segment. His first radio program on the West Coast on XPRS led to his being a disc jockey for other gospel-centered radio broadcasts at other radio stations, including KFOX, KBCA (KKGO), KMAX, KNAC, KGER, KORG and KTYM, sometimes during the same time slot but on different days.
Prior to social media and big marketing budgets from record labels, his radio station and appearances on KCOP-TV and Continental Cablevision in Southern California would give voice to gospel artists, spreading the gospel message while advancing their careers and talent. He also hosted a live weekly television show in Mississippi where he invited pastors, ministers, recording artists, executives and more to be his guests.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Irma, and they had four children, Ollie III, Wade, Gromyko, and Nakita Monique. In the 70s and 80s, Ollie and his wife were the proprietors of eight Monique’s Gospel Records, the most popular being the Los Angeles store on Western and Imperial, which he advanced to host many gospel concerts throughout Southern California.
“The Man with The Golden Voice,” husband, father, grandfather, singer, songwriter, recording artist, disc jockey, cable television host, radio station and record store owner and entrepreneur, will be remembered for his soulful, loving and compassionate, calming and inspiring, prophetic voice that has transformed and given life to his listeners and devotees of his radio stations in Pontotoc, MS, including WSEL (96.7) since 1989, from which he hosted and promoted the word of God and gospel-sound recordings 7 days a week for over half a century. “I like to explain the songs as ministry,” he said during his interview with the Daily Journal published last year.
“He left us a great legacy, and a great family history that will keep us and the family inspired to do greater as we inspire others,” in the words of his son Gromyko Collins.