'Down South' will rise again

TUPELO – The term “retirement” doesn’t apply to everyone.
“You’re supposed to go fishing and try to golf,” said Ollie Collins Jr., a 69-year-old Tupelo resident. “I couldn’t be satisfied.”
In 2005, he started “Down South with Ollie Collins,” a weekly gospel and variety show that aired for an hour and a half each Saturday on My Mississippi, Tupelo cable channel 3.
He shut the show down in August, but Collins decided he had more stories to tell – plenty more. At 12:30 p.m. June 1, a one-hour version of “Down South” will debut on My Mississippi. It’ll run Monday to Friday.
“My program is going to be local-minded,” Collins said. “I’ll be in town, out in the country, at medical clinics, in barns, anywhere I can find a story.”
He’s already been conducting interviews for the show, which will focus on telling positive stories and sharing gospel music.
“I don’t want it to be a show for black people. I don’t want it to be for white people,” he said. “It’s for all people.”
Born to perform
A Tupelo native, Collins’ earliest memories involve standing in front of a church and singing with his family.
“I must have been 2 or 3,” he said.
After graduation from Carver High School, he decided to go to Los Angeles, where he became a radio and TV host, as well as a concert promoter.
When he moved back to Mississippi, he bought WSEL radio, 96.7 FM. He does a regular gospel show on the radio, but felt the call to get back in front of the camera for another run of “Down South.”
“My ultimate goal is to leave something people can hold onto, to have an impact in their lives,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about God.”
For that, retirement will have to wait.
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal