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African American Radio Programming

African Americans were stereotypically depicted in radio broadcasts long before they held any positions of ownership or management, and radio was the most popular form of mass communication for African Americans, especially during the first half of the 20th century. This entry reviews the early history of African Americans in radio and then discusses African American ownership and programming aimed at African American audiences.

Early History

Minstrel shows and White actors performing in blackface were popular forms of entertainment since the early 19th century. These shows included musical performances, comedy sketches, and variety acts that ridiculed and mocked African Americans. While the majority of these acts were performed by Whites, there were a few all-Black minstrel groups under the direction of White managers.

With the invention of radio, ...

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