"Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was" 25th Anniversary Edition (Six-Hour Series)

Series produced by PRX

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Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was is the story of radio’s role in the 20th century transformation of the African American community. First aired in 1996, the specials have been reformatted into six hours for 2021. Original host Lou Rawls guides us, with new narration from original producer Jacquie Gales Webb.

Through interviews, historical airchecks, comedy, drama, and music, the series reveals the remarkable correlation between milestones of Black radio programming and African American culture. Among other topics the series explores the role of radio during the great migration of Blacks from the South, trail-blazing Black DJs and stations, and Black radio during the Civil Rights movement.

The six newshole compatible specials are available free to all public radio stations starting Feb. 1, 2021. Generic promo available in January 2021. Episode-specific promos in Feb.

Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was, was hosted by Lou Rawls and produced for Radio Smithsonian in 1996, by Jacquie Gales Webb, with associate producers Sonja Williams and Lex Gillespie.


8 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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These are three shorter segments of different lengths that focus on early innovation in Black public media. These segments can be aired separately;...

Bought by KGUA, Lower Cape Communications, KZMU Moab Community Radio, KETR-FM, KWMR and more


  • Added: Feb 02, 2021
  • Length: 15:37
  • Purchases: 13
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In the first half of the hour, we hear how African American musicians found more acceptance as major record companies recognized the crossover appe...

Bought by KALW, WRGY, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KZMU Moab Community Radio, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Jan 25, 2021
  • Length: 51:56
  • Purchases: 37
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In the fifties and sixties, Black DJs did more than play music -- they were among the first messengers of the civil rights movement. In the second ...

Bought by KALW, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KUPR low power FM, WRGY, KJZZ and more


  • Added: Jan 25, 2021
  • Length: 51:59
  • Purchases: 40
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Women -- both on and off the air -- have had substantial roles in the development and power of Black radio, including African American station owne...

Bought by KALW, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KLCC, KRSC, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jan 19, 2021
  • Length: 52:01
  • Purchases: 42

  • Added: Jan 19, 2021
  • Length: 51:58
  • Purchases: 41
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Jack Cooper's popular program in Chicago debuted in 1929; he helped pioneer the DJ format and was the first to air news and sports coverage for Bla...

Bought by KALW, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., WJAB, KPTZ, Port Townsend, WA, KGUA and more


  • Added: Jan 19, 2021
  • Length: 52:00
  • Purchases: 43
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The series opens by traveling to the 1920s to hear how Black Americans fought for space on radio airwaves. Then, we hear about programs in the 1940...

Bought by KALW, KZMU Moab Community Radio, WJAB, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KPTZ, Port Townsend, WA and more


  • Added: Jan 19, 2021
  • Length: 51:59
  • Purchases: 47
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Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was is the story of radio’s role in the 20th century transformation of the African American community. First aired ...

Bought by KPTZ, Port Townsend, WA, WITF, KETR-FM, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KCNP and more


  • Added: Jan 08, 2021
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 28