“You’re listening to WERD Radio – 860 AM.” It was 60 years ago when those words (or something close to them) were first spoken over the airwaves. In early October 1949, WERD in Atlanta, Georgia became the first radio station owned and operated by an African-American – Jesse Blayton, Sr. Blayton, an accountant and professor, had no radio background, but even in a segregated society he managed to build a successful media business.
“Today, there are 240 Black-owned radio stations,” notes James Winston Executive Director NABOB – National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters. Regardless the numbers, according to FCC reports, Black-owned radio stations continue to struggle for their fair share of advertising dollars.
But today, as part of Black History Month, and as a member of the media myself, I want to celebrate and salute 60 years of success.