Television Station for Negro Audience Planned

June 8, 1962 - Lionel Hampton (pictured left with Cassius Clay), the jazz musician, today signed a contract to become musical director of the first television station planned for a Negro audience. John Panagos, executive vice president of the United Broadcasting Company, said the station, WOOK-TV, would be in operation by next September and would build its programming around a musical theme (“jazz, rhythm and blues, and spirituals”) with a heavy emphasis on news. He said the station would operate on an ultra-high frequency channel instead of the very-high-frequency range. Mr. Panagos said the station would be on the air for five hours nightly. He said the station hoped to enlarge the field of Negro opportunities available in the entertainment and TV industry. He said UBC would cooperate with 35 Negro universities in securing Negro talent in the cultural field. The staff at the station will utilize white personnel also. “We certainly won’t have any integration controversy,” he said.

#civilrights #OTD #1960s #MLK #classictv