This Day in Black History: Sept. 29, 1975

The nation's first Black-owned television station, WGPR, begins broadcasting.

Posted: 09/29/2014 12:00 AM EDT
This Day in Black History: Sept. 29, 1975

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.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Wikicommons)

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