Selma residents remember ‘Mother of the Airwaves’

Published 4:49 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

Jannie Venter was known for her numerous charitable acts in Selma and Dallas County over the last 50 years.

Venter, best-known in Selma and Dallas County as “Mother of the Airwaves,” passed away on Jan. 4. Funeral services will be held Saturday at noon at Second Baptist Church,

by Randall Miller Funeral Service and Crematory.

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Selma residents shared their memories of Venter, who spent 50 years in radio broadcasting and a former Selma City Councilwoman.

“Jannie Venter has been a friend of this city for a long time,” said Selma Council President Billy Young. “The mother of the airwaves has served the city in so many capacities.”

Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn said Venter will be remembered forever through her good deeds throughout the Queen City.

“” What a great person who has touched so many people,” Nunn said. “Mrs. Venter was a friend to my family. As a musician, God allowed me to accompany her as she sang at different churches. I also had the opportunity to work beside her when she was a Ward 8 councilwoman. She will truly be missed. There will never be another mother of the airwaves. My condolences go out to Venter’s daughter and her family.”

Former Selma Council President Corey Bowie called Venter an inspiration to many.

“Councilwoman Venter was a staple of the community,” Bowie said. “Sje instilled inspiration and hope to everyone encountered. Venter will truly be missed throughout the Black Belt Region. My prayers are with her family during this time. Heaven has received an angel who will be conducting the Gospel Train from above.”

Venter was honored by the White House last year, receiving the President’s Lifetime Achievement award for her 4,215 hours of volunteer service.

“By sharing your time and passion, you are helping discover and deliver solutions to the challenges we face- solutions that we need now more than ever,” President Joe Biden wrote in a letter to Venter. “We are living in a moment that calls for hope and love.”

Venter said the certificate she received from President Biden was an honor, but it ismore about Selma and Dallas County than herself.  

“Getting the award is a pleasure and a surprise,” Venter said. “The award is not about me, it’s about the people who live in Selma and Dallas County.”

Former Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said Venter always carried a humble attitude, 

“Jannie Venter was a great public servant when she was a city councilwoman to East Selma many years ago,” Jackson said. “As a radio personality, she was second to none. She had very entertaining sayings and I loved the songs on her show.. Selma has lost another giant.”