Hal Jackson: Still On The Air After 69 Years

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/96748421/96778314" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Hal Jackson (300)

Hal Jackson (pictured here in 1970) recently celebrated 69 years on the radio as well as his 93rd birthday. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hal Jackson celebrated his 93rd birthday and his 69th year on the radio at a tribute in his honor this week at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. A pioneer for African-Americans in the radio business, Jackson has broken numerous color barriers over the years: He was the first African-American on network radio and the first to be inducted to the Radio Hall of Fame.

"The things I have been a part of or the first is just for love of what I have been doing," he says.

To get on the air for the first time, he had to get a friend who worked at a white advertising agency to buy the time. When he got the proper signal, he recalls, "We walked right in and went right on the air. There was no stopping. They hit a panic button, but it was too late."

Jackson still hosts a show every Sunday afternoon on WBLS in New York.

Related NPR Stories

Web Resources



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from