Hal Jackson, NY Radio Pioneer, Dead at 96

The longtime black disc jockey, whose career spanned 70 years, left a major mark on the airwaves.

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Hal Jackson, the iconic voice of New York radio who opened doors for generations of black broadcast talent, has died from an undisclosed illness, according to a WBLS report. He was 96 years old.

Born on Nov. 3, 1915, Jackson grew up in Washington, D.C., and studied at Howard University. His earliest broadcasting jobs were for Howard's home baseball games and local American Negro Baseball League games on WOOK in D.C., which made him the first African-American radio sports announcer.

For more than 39 years, Jackson had been the executive producer and host of his Talented Teens International competition, which showcased the creativity of young minority women ages 13-17. Tammi Townsend, Vanessa Williams and Jada Pinkett Smith are on the list of past winners and participants.

According to NY1, Jackson had a prolific career in radio:

In the 1950s, Jackson hosted three different daily radio shows in New York.

Jackson went on to co-found the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, the first African-American owned and operated radio station in New York, which acquired station WBLS.

He continued to host "Sunday Classics" on the station every Sunday.

Jackson was the first African-American inducted into the National Association of Broadcaster's Hall of fame and the National Radio Hall of fame.

He also became a broadcast owner as was one of the founding fathers of Inner City Broadcasting. Hal has been heard on Inner City’s flagship WBLS New York since it debuted in 1972.

Read more at NY1.

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