Ted Williams, the former homeless man with the golden voice whose story captivated thousands, has returned to radio.
The Columbus Dispatch reports the 58-year-old made his return to WVKO-AM (1580), the radio station where the Ohio native began his career in the 1980s before drug and addiction woes took over. While Williams is an avid fan of R&B, his show “The Golden Voice” focuses on gospel music and faith.
Williams’ full circle journey began five years ago when YouTube and viral videos were just taking over the Internet. Homeless but determined, Williams captivated pedestrians on the streets of Columbus with his “golden voice” in exchange for cash and food. The video was seen on The Columbus Dispatch and quickly went viral. Williams became a household name, but at the time, he didn’t see it that way.
He was placed on nearly every morning show and faced scrutiny over his 30 years of homelessness and addiction. Williams also had to deal with a very public reunion with his long-estranged mother on television. The instant overhaul of fame caused him to lose a $395,000 advance for his 2012 memoir, A Golden Voice: How Faith, Hard Work and Humility Brought Me from the Streets to Salvation.
In October 2014, the last time Williams spoke with The Dispatch, he said he was living in a Near East Side apartment with no furniture. Williams said he lost out on millions because of inexperience and dishonest managers who didn’t have his best interests at heart as opportunities to use his honeyed baritone arose. He declined to elaborate.
“See how God works?” a sober Williams said on Thursday morning, speaking into a microphone as calls and Facebook messages trickled in from folks as far away as Australia and England. “It’s come full-circle. Thank you, Jesus.”
He’s now living on the West Side with his daughter, Tangela Pullien, and his longtime girlfriend, Kathleen Chambers — who, like Williams, has battled drug addiction and also attended a rehab program paid for by Dr. Phil McGraw.
Williams is more low-key about his finances and has kept a constant flow of voice-over work since returning to radio. He has a business relationship with Kraft Foods and recently partnered with Pepsi for voice-overs that aired during Fox’s hit show, Empire.
The radio host hopes he can give listeners the same love and energy he’s received from around the world during his battle with addiction. Williams has been sober since Aug. 6, 2011, and is prepared more than ever to move forward.
“I want them to know that I’ve been through struggles — and they have, too,” he said. “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
“That ‘one day at a time’ really means one second at a time. “God knows I’m not here to focus on everybody’s approval of me as a person right now,” Williams said. “I’m focusing on the imperishable part of me. I want to be right with God when I leave here.”
WVKO general manager Mel Griffin, who didn’t hesitate to offer Williams his old job back, said the company is working to seek syndication for their show. You can listen at the station’s site, here.