Radio has been my thing for a long time now, so I took some time out to find out about a black man who stood out in the radio industry in the Capital Region.

Union.edu

As we look at some of the major accomplishments of African-Americans in American history, radio personality Wendell King is a standout.

According to Union.edu Wendell King was born in Troy, New York, and began his radio career when he was only 12 years old. Remarkably, at such an early age, King established a radio station in his home. He has also been given credit for engineering the first-ever student-run radio station in the United States as a student at Union College in Schenectady.

His first broadcast used 150-watt transmitters from a shed behind the electrical engineering building at the school. His first broadcast occurred on October 14, 1920, and the broadcast was for thirty minutes. He opened his show with a song by John Steel called “Tell Me Little Gypsy”.

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To appreciate the significance of King’s radio show, we would have to think back to life in the 1920s in this country. African-Americans, or Negroes as they were called, were considered second-class citizens. King didn't achieve all of his accomplishments without a struggle.

When he entered Union College, he was the “first black student to attend the school for a significant time”. His whole existence in the school was a phenomenon. He was a black man who studied electrical engineering and joined the Union College Radio Club.

It was because of pioneers like Wendell King who paved the way for radio personalities like me. During Black History Month I take this time out to salute Wendell King for all of his blazing contributions to the radio industry.

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