WGPR-TV 40th Anniversary: Dr. Banks’ Vision to Transform Detroit’s Media, Message and Messengers


**Updated on January 18, 2016 to include video highlight of Michigan Historical Marker dedication with Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan.**

40 years ago, on September 29th, the nation’s first African American-owned television station was launched in Detroit by Dr. William V. Banks.  Host Pete Kalinski is joined in WGPR TV’s original studio by former host/producer and current executive director of the WGPR TV Historical Society, Karen Hudson Samuels, and veteran Detroit anchor Amyre Makupson as they discuss the vision of Dr. Banks to create not only a station but a training school as well–finally giving opportunity to hundreds of talented young people.

Dr. Banks on Air date with captionpptx

As the WGPR Historical Society prepares not only for the anniversary and historical plaque from the state to be installed on Jefferson Avenue, it also prepares for its special exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum in January.  We had a chance to catch up with seven other professionals who share their insights of the station’s early days as well as the incredible impact of Dr. Banks’ plan.

Morning News

Topics include:

  • The city’s first 24 hour television station
  • A telethon to save the NAACP (on six days’ notice)
  • The launchpad of successful media careers across the country
  • All night movies
  • The first news crew in town to use videotape instead of film
  • The crowd-sourcing plan to help fund the exhibit and a museum

WGPR Headline News

Related links.

January 18, 2016 Dedication of Historical Marker with Mayor Duggan.



January 18, 2016


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