Floyd Calvin: Hosted First Black Radio Show During Harlem Renaissance

1 Posted by - July 12, 2022 - Black First, BLACK MEN, HARLEM RENAISSANCE, LATEST POSTS

Floyd Calvin was a journalist who also launched a news wire service and hosted the first black radio show during the Harlem Renaissance.


Calvin was born in 1902 to a school teacher and a farmer in Washington, Arkansas. He graduated from Shover State Teacher Training College in Hope, Arkansas, in 1920, and attended the City College of New York for another year after moving to Harlem.

In 1922, Calvin worked briefly as an associate editor of The Messenger, the political and literary magazine that many historians claim was at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. He worked with A. Phillip Randolph and Chandler Owen, the founders of the magazine.

In 1924, Calvin began contributing to the Pittsburgh Courier, which at the time was one of the two most widely circulated black newspapers in the country. He worked as a writer and special features editor in the New York office of the Courier.

By the late 1920s, Calvin was hosting a periodic radio talk show sponsored by the Courier, The Courier Hour. The show, which was broadcast on the WGBS radio station, covered topics that catered to an African-American audience. The Courier Hour was the first radio program ever sponsored by a black newspaper, and the first radio talk program targeting an African American audience.

However, the first black effort at an on-going radio show was short lived.  Within months, WGBS dropped the program. Fortunately, Calvin was picked up by WCGU in New York City, and the new program became the Floyd J. Calvin Program.  Although that program only lasted for about a year, other African-American-focused programs managed to enter the air waves in the New York City market.

Floyd Calvin died in 1939. He was 37.





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