Twenty-Three Years of “In Black America” Will be Restored, Digitized and Archived for Research and Future Generations

John L. Hanson Jr., In Black America producer/host, in a control room in the new KUT studios in the Belo Building (Photo by Marsha Miller)

KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR Station, at The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, has received a generous grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Recordings at Risk grant program to digitize the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America, a topical weekly program hosted by John L. Hanson and produced at KUT Radio. The program hosts prominent guests from the black community and explores all facets of the African American experience.

The collection is currently stored on 710 quarter-inch audio reels, which are deteriorating and obsolete. Through this project, KUT will digitize the collection and add to its searchable archival repository, and also gift copies to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Further, digitized assets will be available for research at the Briscoe Center for American History in Austin.

In 1970, to address the lack of diversity in the media, KUT Radio began producing the radio series In Black America. The program profiles a diverse selection of current and historically significant figures whose stories help illuminate life in Black America. Guests include well-known and lesser-known civil rights leaders, educators, artists, athletes and writers describing their experiences, achievements and work in chronicling and advancing the quality of African-American life. Guests have included Stokely Carmichael, Yolanda King, Wilhelmina Delco, Maya Angelou, Dick Gregory and Barbara Jordan.

John, who took over hosting and producing duties for the show in 1980, says that a good number of interviews feature everyday people doing significant things to provide a snapshot of what African Americans have achieved and gone through in last four or five decades.

John L. Hanson Jr., In Black America producer/host, interviewing a guest.

“For far too long we’ve had other people tell our stories,” John continued. “So when you have an opportunity to preserve a program produced for and by African Americans, I think that’s significant in and of itself, continued John.

“In Black America” airs at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays on home station KUT 90.5.


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