Radio pioneer Harold Jackson dies

Broadcaster was first African-American voice on network radio

New York radio pioneer Harold Jackson, the first African-American voice on network radio, died May 23 of an undisclosed illness in Manhattan. He was 96.

Jackson began his career in Washington, D.C., as the first African-American play-by-play sports announcer. In the 1950s he moved to New York, where he hosted three different radio shows on three different stations, broadcasting a mix of music and conversation with jazz and celebrities.

Jackson later co-founded the Inner City Broadcasting Corp., one of the first broadcasting companies wholly owned by African-Americans. The company acquired New York’s WBLS, which pioneered the urban contemporary format. Jackson continued to host a program each week on WBLS and had been on the air as recently as a couple of weeks before his death.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg described Jackson as a “legend.” “Hal was not only the first African-American voice on network radio or the first African-American play-by-play sports announcer, but an iconic legend who — during the Civil Rights movement — gave voice to the many who simply did not have one,” he said.

In 1995, Jackson became the first African-American to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading