1949 – WERD, the first black owned radio station in the United States
WERD was the first radio station owned and programmed by African Americans. The station was established in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 1949, broadcasting on 860 AM (now used by WAEC).
Jesse B. Blayton, an accountant, bank president, and Atlanta University professor, purchased WERD in 1949 for $50,000.
He changed the station format to “black appeal” and hired his son Jesse Jr. as station manager. “Jockey” Jack Gibson was hired and by 1951 he was the most popular DJ in Atlanta.
The station was housed in the Prince Hall Masonic Temple building on Auburn Avenue, then one of the wealthiest black neighbourhoods in the United States.
Extra Note: According to Gibson, Martin Luther King would tap the ceiling of SCLC office (just below WERD) with a broomstick to signal he had an announcement to make. Gibson would then lower a microphone from the studio window to King at the window below.
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