Last updated: May 25, 2012 - 7:55am
Hal Jackson, a veteran broadcaster who broke down racial barriers, becoming one of the first black disc jockeys to reach a large white audience and an omnipresent voice on New York City radio for more than 50 years, died on May 23 in Manhattan. He was 96.
His death was announced by WBLS (107.5 FM), the New York station where he continued to host a weekly program until a few weeks before his death. Jackson, whose eclectic musical taste and laid-back manner helped define black radio, began his career in the late 1930s, when it was a challenge for a black announcer just to get a foot in the door. At a time when segregation was widespread, he was a familiar voice to black and white listeners alike. At one point in the 1950s, he was hosting three shows — one rhythm-and-blues, one jazz and one pop — on three different New York radio stations. As a radio executive, he helped found Inner City Broadcasting and establish the urban contemporary format, rooted in black music but appealing to a racially diverse audience. In the 1970s, it came to dominate the airwaves, first in New York City — where WBLS became the No. 1 station in the market — and then across the country.
- A Radio Merger in New York Reflects a Shifting Industry
- Final Farewells at a Legendary Radio Station
- Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement
- FCC Commissioners Call on Congress to Revive Minority Tax Certificate Policy
- R. Peter Straus, Radio Pioneer, Dies at 89
- Clear Channel veteran expected to play a big role at Tribune
- Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus
- FCC Commissioner: Declining Black Media Ownership is a â€˜National Disgraceâ€™
- Black, Latino, Asian and White: Diversity at NPR
- Spanish DJs take lead role in politics
- Black broadcasters call FCC media ownership proceeding "grossly deficient"
- Building a Conversation, One Radio Show at a Time
- NABJ to Hill: Reverse Crossownership Move
- FCC OKs Sale of Bankrupt Philly Station
- Chinese Dissidents Take On Beijing Via Media Empire