This Day in Black History: Sept. 29, 1975

This Day in Black History: Sept. 29, 1975

WGPR, the nation's first Black-operated television station, went on air on Sept. 29, 1975.

Published September 29, 2014

Before there was a BET or a TV One, there was WGPR-TV in Detroit, Michigan, the nation's first Black owned and operated television station. Founded by attorney and minister William V. Banks and George White, the station targeted Detroit's urban audience. The call letters stand for "Where God's Presence Radiates."

"It was the first place where African-Americans had the opportunity to influence every aspect of television programming, from marketing to behind the scenes work to on-air talent," according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. "As a result, it helped launch the careers of many professionals who went on to work for major broadcast networks."

WGPR's initial programming included religious shows, R&B music shows, off-network dramas, syndicated shows and older cartoons. It also created a dance show called The Scene. In 1995, CBS bought the station, now WWWJ-TV, and changed its focus from an African-American audience to general.

BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.  

(Photo: Courtesy of Wikicommons)

Written by Joyce Jones


Latest in news