John L. Hanson Jr.

Host, Producer, In Black America

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT Monday nights at 10:30 p.m., as well as weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.

Hanson’s love of radio started in his hometown, Detroit, as a teenager. He began as a music programmer and youth reporter for the student station in his school. Upon his high school graduation, he traveled to Austin, Texas, to attend Huston-Tillotson College, and landed a DJ slot at a small, low wattage station in nearby Lockhart where he offered a popular nightly program of jazz and soul music. Eventually he was hired by KUT radio in 1974 where his first assignment was to produce a nightly program called “Soul on FM” which became an immediate success and ultimately earned him recognition as “Best DJ in Texas” by Texas Monthly magazine in 1976.

In 1977, Hanson received a Minority Training Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which he used to learn the ropes for setting up a public affairs program for KUT. Upon his return from the CPB workshops, Hanson turned his attention to improving and increasing information about the black community, which was not effectively reaching the local media outlets. He soon created Access, a weekly, live, phone-in program on KUT, which allowed experts in various fields and endeavors to address the public about their intended impact on the Austin community. From there, Hanson was promoted to the producer of In Black America after its previous host left the city in 1980.

Since that time, Hanson has served many roles at KUT, including being the station’s interim GM on two occasions. He retired from KUT in 2011 but has continued to work on IBA and host the Old School Dance Party on sister station KUTX 98.9 Friday afternoons from 4-7 p.m. Hanson is married to the former Latischa M. Merritt; he has two children, Kacey and Michael.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Ann M. Williams, the founder and artistic adviser of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Zenetta S. Drew, its executive director.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. remembers the late Dr. William Charles Akins, retired educator, high school principal and district administer with the Austin Independent School District. Akins died on March 29, 2017. He was 84.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., former CEO at the King Center, grandson of Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and nephew of Dr. King Jr.

In this new foreword to the book, King, Sr.’s grandson Isaac Newton Farris, Jr. shares what "Daddy King" meant to him as a family member, and discusses the far-reaching legacy of King, Sr.’s activism for civil rights and racial justice. 

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Isaac Newton Farris Jr., former CEO at the King Center, grandson of the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and nephew of Dr. King Jr.

In this new foreword to the book, Farris shares what Daddy King meant to him as a family member and discusses the far-reaching legacy of King Sr.’s activism for civil rights and racial justice. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 12th annual Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Salute to Excellence Awards held during Super Bowl XL week.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 12th annual Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Salute to Excellence Awards held during Super Bowl XL week.

Courtesy of Austin Peay State University

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Harold Young, assistant professor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn.

Multi-directional pressures and demands from administrations, departments, students, and parents are universal in academic life. What is different for faculty of color is the racist micro-aggressions encountered while going about the tasks of engaging a diverse student body and fulfilling other responsibilities in a challenging social and political environment. They are charged with supporting their students who also share these experiences.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award at Super Bowl LI.

The award was created to honor the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. The Award is named after Bart Starr who, in addition to being in the NFL Hall of Fame, was selected as MVP in Super Bowls I and II. Starr is an individual of impeccable character who has served his family and community faithfully through the years and is a role model for athletes and business people alike.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Jeff Ballou, Al Jazeera Media Network News editor, and the 110th president of the National Press Club.

Ballou is the first African American man to hold the position, and will mark the first time someone from a non-U.S. and non-Western-based television network has been elected president of the National Press Club.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Meaghan “Meag” Taylor, on-air radio personality and assistant program director with WTUG and founder of ‘Women In Radio.'

‘Women In Radio’, is a community for women in radio who are shaping the culture. Taylor hopes the organization can shed light on all the amazing things women around the world are doing in radio.

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, of counsel with law firm Blank/Rome, LLP, retired judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and author of Answering the Call: An Autobiography of the Modern Struggle to End Racial Discrimination in America.

Since 1926, Americans have recognized black history annually – first as Negro History Week and later as Black History Month. What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied – or even documented – when the tradition began. Although African-Americans have been in this country since colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a somewhat respectable presence in history books.

On This week’s program, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr speaks with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of ‘Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Help Win the Space Race.’

On this edition of In Black America, we listen back to a 1988 conversation with Pulitzer-prize winning author Alex Haley.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with J. Paul Montgomery.

From the orange groves in Florida in the 1940's to the U.S. Army in the 1950's through the 1980's, Montgomery fought prejudice for being a dark-complexioned African American man, even within his own family.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, and author of ‘Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100 Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture.’

U.S. NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the less than 13 years of King’s leadership of the civil rights movement, from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, African-Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced. King is widely regarded as America’s preeminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ruth Brown, the original queen of rhythm and blues.

Brown’s career took her from the Apollo theatre to Broadway. She was the most prolific African American female R&B vocalist of the '50's, surpassing Dinah Washington for a time.

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with late Dr. John Hope Franklin, Ph.D.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Gospel recording artist Bishop Rance Allen.

Bishop Allen and his brothers Tom and Steve formed The Rance Allen Group in 1969 and introduced a new contemporary and innovative sound to the gospel music audience, incorporating rock, jazz and soul into the music.

One of 12 children, Allen preached his first sermon and started performing as a gospel singer at age 5. He began playing piano by age 7 and the guitar a few years later.

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