News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, May 11, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Godfather of Soul himself made an appearance on News 12 Friday night. Local radio host Minnesota Fattz is celebrating 30 years on the air. We aired a special message from James Brown for his protege.
Outasight Tony Wright and the Godfather of Soul James Brown gave then-Mistro Fattz his start and the name that persists today.
"He said, 'Mistro .. that ain't you son,'" remembers Fattz of James Brown. "'You look like a Minnesota. I used to shoot pool, and the original Minnesota Fats shot pool.' Mr. Brown said, 'I like Minnesota Fats, but how we are going to spell your name so you won't get a lawsuit is Fattz.'"
"Hello Minnesota!" exclaimed Brown in a taped message News 12 obtained. "I want to say to you, Minnesota, you have been an inspiration to me and many people. I watched you grow and grow. We need you. America needs you. The world needs you. We need you to continue doing the things you are doing. Continue thinking about people ... the little kids. Thinking about don't be a dropout. Thinking about stay off drugs, thinking about stop the violence."
Fattz knew he hit his stride when he got his own jingle.
"Everybody was singing Minnesota Fattz in the morning," Fattz said. "Minnesota Fattz in the morning!"
"I remember listening to him many years ago, and I would be singing the Minnesota Fattz song," said Cher Best, who has been his co-host for the last 16 years. "I never thought I would have a chance to work with him. He is an amazing talent. I can't say it has been a complete joy 100 percent of the time, because we are a bit like a married couple."
And no family is complete without Auntie Mable.
"I love you guy, and I'm his aunt," said Dana Wideman, who plays his aunt on the morning show. "I would say, 'Fattz, don't you start no mess boy. You continue to try to give them 30 more years!'"
Wideman says Fattz took a chance on her, despite her past.
"Prison, drugs, the streets, violence," Wideman said. "He said my story was compelling. I never dreamed I would be at a radio station. I can say to people who have had a negative past and who might feel like I felt that no one would ever give you a chance ... go ahead and cancel that thought."
Fattz is hosting a big anniversary celebration at the James Brown Arena this Sunday. Anthony Hamilton and Frankie Beverly and Maze will be performing. Tickets range from $37 to $57.