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Remembering Radio Host Patrick Ellis, Who Brought The 'Gospel Spirit' To D.C.

Patrick Ellis worked at Howard University radio station for over 40 years. "He would play music that touched him," says one colleague. "He would play music that he knew touched his audience."
WHUR
Patrick Ellis worked at Howard University radio station for over 40 years. "He would play music that touched him," says one colleague. "He would play music that he knew touched his audience."

For more than 40 years, 96.3 WHUR-FM broadcast Patrick Ellis's beloved and popular radio show Gospel Spirit Sunday mornings, filling the homes and cars of Washington, D.C., with the sound of church.

Each Sunday, Ellis chose music that would inspire, uplift and speak to his devoted listeners. And he filled the airwaves with their lives, too, sharing community and church announcements and marking birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions.

Patrick Ellis passed away July 16 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 77 years old.

Jacquie Gales Webb was a longtime colleague of Patrick Ellis at WHUR. She says Gospel Spirit was "everything that the faith community needed to hear as they prepared to go to their services."

"Over the 40 years, so many generations of not only African Americans, but all cultures within the Washington metropolitan area listened to Patrick Ellis and made listening to him their Sunday morning ritual," she says.

Listen to her remembrance in the audio player above, and we should note that Jacquie Gales Webb is the vice president of radio for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides some of NPR's funding.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
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