The nationally-syndicated “In Black America” is the longest-running space for Black voices on public radio. The show is based at KUT 90.5 in Austin. John L. Hanson, Jr. is the longtime host.
“’In Black America’ wouldn’t necessarily be necessary, to coin a phrase, if major media addressed the African American experience in a positive and consistent way – which it doesn’t. So that’s why the program is necessary, because people get a skewed understanding of what life is like for African Americans in this country.”
Hanson says one of the changes he made as host was to try to make the program more reflective of its name.
“In the beginning, the program was basically UT-based,” Hanson said. “Most of the guests were either lecturers on campus or they came to campus to give lectures. So was really ‘In Black Austin’ instead of ‘In Black America.’”
He remembers his very first interview for the program was with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eldest daughter, Yolanda King. Other memorable interviews include Charley Pride, Tony Brown, Barbara Jordan, The Commodores, Julius Erving, Jessie Hill, and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“And I could just go on and on and on and on,” Hanson said.
He also said the program served as an outlet for many lesser-known voices who didn’t otherwise find much space in media.