WGPR-TV (Where Godâ€™s Presence Radiates) was the first television station in the United States owned and operated by African Americans. The station, located in Detroit, Michigan, was founded by William Venoid Banks. WGPR-TV marketed toward the urban audience in Detroit, Michigan, which in that market meant programming for the African American community.
WGPR-TV first aired on September 29, 1975 on channel 62 in Detroit, Michigan. Station founder William Venoid Banks was a Detroit attorney, minister and prominent member of the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, an organization he founded in 1950. The Masons owned the majority of stock in WGPR-TV. The station initially broadcast religious shows, R&B music shows, off-network dramas, syndicated shows and older cartoons.Â
It was Banksâ€™ vision that WGPR-TV provide African Americans with crucial training and experience in the television industry, allowing many local blacks the opportunity to work “behind the camera” in producing, directing and other roles which placed content on air. The station aired some locally-produced programming including Big City News, The Scene, and Arab Voice of Detroit.
Big City News was a Monday through Friday newscast that aimed to focus on community activities from the African American perspective, showcasing positive â€œsuccess stories.â€� It was discontinued in 1992. The Scene, a nightly dance show that offered young Detroiters an opportunity to display their musical and dance talents, ran from 1975 to 1987. It still enjoys a cult following of viewers and former dancers. Arab Voice of Detroit was a public affairs show directed toward the significant Arab American population in Detroit and its suburbs.
Whatever its popularity among blacks in the television industry, WGPR-TV failed to attract a large audience outside the African American community. Even within that community, it competed with larger stations that after 1975 offered more programs directed toward African Americans. After 1980, the station faced its most powerful competition in the Black Entertainment Television (BET). Moreover with its 800,000 watt signal compared with 2 million watts for major Detroit TV stations, WGPR-TV never reached an audience beyond the city of Detroit. By the 1990s WGPR aired primarily reruns and infomercials.
On July 25, 1995, WGPR-TV was sold to CBS amid controversy from the black community, which felt that the station should remain under African American management. The Masons in particular were criticized for selling the station to a mainstream network. Two months later, CBS changed the television station name to WWJ-TV and targeted its programming for a general audience.
Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate says claims of electoral fraud without evidence by President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott were sowing seeds that could undermine confidence in [...]
In Maryland, a black couple is suing a Costco store after police stopped them because an employee accused them of shoplifting. Barbara and Bahri Wallace spoke to WJLA on Friday and said they were shop [...]
NEW YORK (AP) — CNN took its access battle against the Trump administration to court on Tuesday, demanding the reinstatement of correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House credentials because their revocat [...]
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — Southern California’s huge wildfire roared to life again Tuesday in a mountain wilderness area even as many neighborhoods were reopened to thousands of residents who fled its adv [...]
A South Jersey woman claims a funeral home let her brother’s body “decompose” in their facility before the service was set to take place. Ashkeya Pratt-Williams has filed a lawsuit against Carl Miller [...]
Officials with the University of Texas at San Antonio issued a statement Monday, saying they were “concerned” by a video circulating Twitter showing a student being escorted out of a lecture hall by c [...]
When the custodian at Dallas Independent School District’s Frank Guzick Elementary School had an emergency, principal Adreana Davis stepped up to handle the responsibilities. Davis told WFAA, “I just [...]
NEW YORK (AP) — The FBI says hate crimes reports were up about 17 percent in 2017, marking a rise for the third year in a row. An annual report shows there were more than 7,100 reported hate crimes la [...]
A 64-year-old woman was pushed out of a moving car and carjacked near a church in Houston, Texas. Kevin Chambers, 34, was arrested and charged in the crime. Authorities told ABC 13 ,that same night C [...]
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A California man accused of making a hoax phone call that led police to fatally shoot an unarmed man in Kansas is expected to enter new pleas. Twenty-five-year-old Tyler R. Barris [...]
NEW YORK (AP) — During the height of Mexican drug wars in 1993, an attempted hit on Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman went wrong. A team of gunmen sent to rub out the notorious drug lord instead killed a Roma [...]
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A man has been arrested after he drove his pickup truck into a courthouse in Mississippi. News outlets reported that the Gulfport Police Department said in a news release that 2 [...]
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Amazon will split its second headquarters between Long Island City in New York and Crystal City in northern Virginia, according to a person familiar with the plans. The online ret [...]
WASHINGTON (AP) — Don’t hire someone you can’t fire, like the son of a campaign donor or the child of the mayor. No matter what you may have said during the campaign about changing Congress, hire enou [...]
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — After Republicans, including President Donald Trump, made unsubstantiated accusations of illegal activity, a judge on Monday urged the warring sides in the Florida recount [...]
NEW YORK (AP) — No, it wasn’t a blue wave. But a week after the voting, Democrats are riding higher than they thought on election night. As vote counting presses on in several states, the Democrats ha [...]
When did fatigue make you shoot someone? [...]
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic book and helped make billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the F [...]
A Texas judge ousted in this year’s midterm elections spent the following morning releasing nearly all of the juvenile defendants who came before him, and he didn’t show up to court Thursday. Harris C [...]