Monday, July 07, 2014

Black Radio Timeline

There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 168 hours in a week. For a local radio station that's a lot of programming. (It's no wonder they turned early on to syndication.) For a 24 hours station to dedicate even half their programming to a single demographic group was 84 hours of programming. If you want to quibble about daytimers, in the winter they need 9 hours of programming per day, that's 63 hours of programing.  [source] In the year 1943 only four stations in the whole of the United States were marketing any of their programming specifically for black listeners. Ten years later that total had jumped to 260.

For clarity I will be omitting single performance apperances as these are difficult to corroborate and don't connote a commitment to programming. Omitted would be any one-off appearances like Ruth Dennis's famous lecture on WGBS, Marion Anderson's national broadcast from the Washington monument in 1939, Bessie Smith's live broadcasts in 1924...etc. I also exclude white DJs broadcasting R&B.  I would maintain that is a whole different list.  Some events have uncertain dates. These are marked with an asterisk. These were pivotal years culturally: the end of WWI, the civil rights movement, the baby boom. Change was afoot. Let us review only the highlights.

*1924 - Isaac "Satchel" McVea begins hosting Optimistic Do-Nut Hour on KNX (San Francisco)
*1925 - Jack Cooper write and stars on his vaudeville program on WCAP
*1926 - Henry Starr debuts on Edna Fischer Show KFRC (San Francisco)
*1927 - The Pittsburgh Courier sponsors a string of Black oriented programs on WGBS (Pittsburgh)
*1928 - The Pittsburgh Courier moves their program to WGCU (Pittsburgh)
*1929 - The Harlem Broadcasting Company begins leasing time from WRNY (NewYork)
           - Jack Cooper's "All Negro Hour " debuts on WSBC (Chicago)
1930 - Sherman "Jocko" Maxwell debuts on WRNV (New York)
         - Lightfoot Solomon Michaux debuts on WJSV (Washington D.C.)
1931 - The Jackson Southernaires start a weekly syndicated NBC program
1932 - N/A
1933 - Bass Harris debuts on KRSC (Seattle)
         - CBS airs "John Henry Black River Boat Giant"
1934 - Benny Goodman's interracial band on "The Camel Hour"
1935 - First all-black radio show cast "A Harlem Family" WMCA-AM
         - Howard D. Morison debuts on WJLB (Detroit)
         - WJTL (Atlanta) debuts a 15-minute black community newscast
1936 - WMCA (New York) begins broadcasting "Amateur Night in Harlem"
         - Duke Ellington's debut series on WMCA (New York)
1937 - Joe Bostic Sr. begins hosting "Tales From Harlem" on WMCA-AM
          - WNEW (New York) begins broadcasting the program "Harlem Amateur Night"
          - Nat D. Williams debuts on WHBQ (Memphis)
1939 - Hal Jackson debuts on WINX (Washington D.C.)
1940 - American Negro Theatre debuts on WNEW (New York)
         - Richard Huey's "Sheep & Goats Club" debuts on WOL (Washington D.C.)
         - The Golden Gate Quartet starts a sustaining on CBS
1941 - Cab Calloway's "Quizzicale" debuts on NBC Blue
         - The National Urban League and CBS debut "the Negro and National Defense"
1942 - Dixiana a "Negro Variety show" debuts on WCAU (Philadelphia)
         - Billboard Magazine launches "Harlem Hit Parade" chart
1943 - "Heroines in Bronze" a program on black women airs on CBS
         - CBS airs a NAACP connected radio documentary "The Negro In The War"
         - CBS airs the commentary "An Open Statement on Race Hatred" 
1944 - Roi Ottley developed the WMCA (New York) radio series "New World a Comin"
         - AFRS debuts all-black variety program "Jubilee" 
         - "The Interracial Goodwill Hour" debuts on WJLB (Detroit)
1945 - Al Benson debuts on WGES (Chicago)
         - Ramon Bruce debuts on WHAT (Philadelphia)
         - Thelma Carpenter becomes a regular on Eddie Cantor's variety program.
1946 - Early Wright debuts on WROX (Clarksdale)
         - Willie Bryant hosts WCBS (New York) network radio program, "Night Life"
         - "National Negro Newspaper Week" airs on CBS
         - Joe Adams and "Golden Grooves" debuts on KMPC (Los Angeles)
1947 - Actress Hattie McDaniel took over the lead role on "Beulah" on NBC
         - Bill Cook starts spinning jazz on WAAT (Newark)
         - Jessie "Spider" Burks debuts on KXLW (St. Louis)
         - Jack Gibson debuts on WCFL (Chicago)
         - Eddie Honesty debuts on WJOB (Hammond)
         - Emerson Parker debuts on WQQW (Washington D.C.)
         - Norfley Whitted WDNC (Durham)
         - Dan Burley debuts the Skiffle Club on WWRL (New York)
         - Woody Woodard debuts on WLIB (New York)
         - Lavada Durst debuts on KVET (Austin)
1948 - "Destination Freedom" debuts on WMAQ (Chicago)
         -WDIA becomes the first radio station programmed entirely for African Americans
         - Ebony magazine lists the only 16 black DJs in America
         - First female black DJ, Mary Dee Dudley debuts on WHOD (Pittsburgh) 
         - WOOK (Washington D.C.)  programs R&B music full-time
         - Bill Hawkins debuts on WHK (Cleveland)
         - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie debuts on WMAQ (Chicago)
1949 - First black radio station owner Jesse B. Blayton Sr. at WERD (Atlanta)
         - Second black radio station owner Andrew "Skip" Carter buys KPRS (Kansas City)
         - Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert debuts on WDIA (Memphis)
         - Albert "Acey Boy" Wilson debuts on WKGN (Knoxville)
1950 - WMRY (New Orleans) has all-black radio staff
         - Vernon Winslow early Black Announcer on WMJR (New Orleans)
1951 - WANT (Richmond) has all-black radio staff
1952 - WEFC (Miami) Primarily black programming
1953 - WCIN (Cincinnati) Primarily black programming
1954 - WNJR (Newark) and WLIB (New York City) primarily black programming
         - National Negro Network launched by Leonard Evans