The WGPR-TV Studio, also known as the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum and Media Center, is a pair of commercial buildings located at 3146 East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. It is the former home of WGPR-TV (now WWJ-TV), and is significant as the home of the first Black-owned television station in the United States. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2021

   

 
 

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The founder of WGPR-TV was William V. Banks an attorney, businessman, FM Radio owner and founder of a fraternal order: The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons Inc., and Order of Eastern Stars. Dr. Banks started the first black owned FM station in Michigan, WGPR FM 107.5.

  From Broadcast Pioneer to Historic Landmark: WGPR-TV 62 makes National Register

DETROIT, MI - The WGPR-TV Historical Society is proud to announce that WGPR-TV, located at 3146 East Jefferson in Detroit, has been approved by the National Park Service for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance.

WGPR-TV earned this honor for being the first television station in the United States to be independently owned and operated by African Americans. The station went on the air on September 29, 1975 and for the next twenty years was a career springboard for young people looking for that first job in television, in front of or behind the camera.

The original programming produced by WGPR was exceptional in the market. Without a network affiliation the station had to create its own line-up of shows. There was “The Scene” the popular dance show that drew recording artists from Stevie Wonder to the Four Tops to appear with host Nat Morris on the show. There were a variety of ethnic programs including a Polish dance show and Greek Talk show. There are videos clips of these and other original programs are on display at the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum. WGPR was also the first station in the market to remain on the air twenty-four hours a day thanks to “All Night Movies”.

The founder of WGPR-TV was William V. Banks an attorney, businessman, FM Radio owner and founder of a fraternal order: The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons Inc., and Order of Eastern Stars. Dr. Banks started the first black owned FM station in Michigan, WGPR FM 107.5. Visit the museum and see an exhibit panel about Dr. Banks and the video of his interview about being invited to the White House and the promise made by then President Richard Nixon.




 

 

 

   
 
 

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