Throwback Thursdays

The First Black-Owned TV Station Hits Airwaves On This Day In 1975

September 29

wgpr-tv-first-black-owned-television-station

Founded by William Venoid Banks, the first black-owned TV station went live for the first time on this day in 1975. WGPR-TV (Where God’s Presence Radiates) was located in Detroit, Michigan and aired shows that focused on religion, R&B, dramas, and dated cartoons. William Banks thought it was important for blacks to get experience in the television industry; he granted many of them an opportunity to work behind the camera, producing and directing the content that hit the air. As a result of local production, three programs were born: The Scene, Arab Voice of Detroit, and Big City News. Big City News focused on the community and shared success stories. The Scene was a dance shows that showcased the talents of the people in the community while Arab Voice of Detroit was directed toward the significant Arab population in Detroit. With only an 800,000 watt signal and Black Entertainment Television as its competition after 1980, WGPR-TV was never able to reach an audience outside of Detroit. In July of 1995, it was sold to CBS and its name became WWJ-TV.

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