Hal Jackson Dead At 96

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hal jackson deadRadio pioneer Hal Jackson (pictured right) has died, WBLS reports.

He was 96.

Jackson’s exact cause of death is not known. WBLS’s website reports that he died from “illness”

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The radio and television legend achieved many “firsts” during his 70-year career. He was the first to host a jazz show on ABC network. And he was also the first Black announcer in network radio. In the arena of sports, Jackson was the first play-by-play radio announcer, according to WBLS.

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Here are a list of other “firsts” Jackson achieved during his long career:

the first Black to host an interracial network television show on NBC-TV; the first person to broadcast from a theater live; organized and owned the first Black team to win the World’s Basketball championship; the first Black host of an international network television presentation; was instrumental in acquiring the first radio station owned and operated by Blacks in New York City; the first to broadcast live from New York into Japan; the first New York City radio personality to broadcast three daily shows on three different stations in the same day; the first to broadcast live via satellite from Jamaica into New York and currently hosts a radio program which has been rated #1 by Arbitron continuously in its time slot for over 11 years on 107.5 WBLS in New York.

One of Jackson’s most notable professional achievements was his production of “Talented Teens International” that highlights the talents of young, black women between the ages of 13-17. The competition, which has lasted for more than 40 years, gives young women the opportunity to compete for college scholarships, trips abroad and the chance to network with other young women from around the world. Past winners and participants are Tammi Townsend, Vanessa Williams and Jada Pinkett Smith, according to WBLS. Watch Jackson discuss the competition with Don Cornelius below.

Don Cornelius Interviews Hal Jackson On “Soul Train”


In October of 1995, Jackson was the first Black to be inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame. WBLS says his career can, perhaps, be summarized by the theme he choose for his radio programs: “It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.”

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