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.

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of a speech given by Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party in the fall of 1996 at the 10th Annual Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights.

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 11th Annual Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Salute To Excellence Awards held during Super Bowl 50 week. Featured on today’s program are: Jim Brown, NFL Hall of Famer; Katie Blackburn, Executive Vice President with the Cincinnati Bengals; and Kevin Warren, Chief Operating Officer with the Minnesota Vikings.  


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 50.

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.


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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Kenny Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated, and author of ‘Daddy, There’s A Noise Outside.’

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Lisa Nichols, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Motivating the Masses, Inc. and author of ‘Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today.’ 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ron Banks, singer and a founding member of the Detroit vocal group.

Banks’ sweet voice and smooth choreography helped distinguish the Dramatics, particularly in Detroit’s post-Motown scene of the 1970s, when the group enjoyed crossover pop success with songs such as”Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and “In the Rain.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with retired renowned television journalist Bernard Shaw.

Shaw covered many monumental 20th century events, from the Jonestown tragedy to Tienanmen Square, and he helped launch news network CNN as its chief anchor.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Mahisha Dellinger, CEO and Founder of CURLS Inc., and author of ‘Against All Odds: From the Projects to the Penthouse.’

Dellinger, life in the rough streets of Sacramento, California was paving the way for a lifetime of poverty, despair and dysfunction. But while criminals ran rampant, gangs took over, and her own relatives chose drugs over dreams, Dellinger knew she was destined for something greater. Rewriting her story Determined to write a different ending to her story, Dellinger set out to alter her destiny, through college and hard work. But her dreams were bigger than just a 9-5 job and she worked tirelessly to pursue her passion of owning her own hair care business.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Alex Haley.

In celebration of Black History month, In Black America presents an encore presentation of "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," an extended interview with her that originally aired in March 1983.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Valerie Mitchell Johnston, Deputy General Counsel, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Johnston was previously Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for HIT Entertainment, a children's entertainment production company owned by Mattel. She comes to Lincoln Center with over 20 years of industry and law firm experience in development, production and distribution of content across various media in domestic and global markets.

In her new position, she is responsible for assisting the General Counsel in managing all legal aspects of the nonprofit organization’s programmatic, educational, fundraising and administrative activities, particularly its strategic initiatives in digital media.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Robert L. Reece, doctoral candidate at Duke University and Heather A. O’Connell, postdoctoral fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, co-authors of a Rice University study, “How the Legacy of Slavery and Racial Composition Shape Public School Enrollment in the American South.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Aldon Morris, Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, and author of ‘The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois: The Birth of Modern Sociology.’

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D., Triple- Board Certified Harvard and Emory trained physician who specializes in Adolescent, Adult and Forensic Psychiatrist.

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

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ossie Davis and Rudy Dee.

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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Peter J. Hammer, Professor of Law at Wayne State University Law School, and director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, and co-author of Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents an encore presentation of a conversation he had with the late Shirley A. Chisholm.

Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress and an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was known as a politician who refused to allow fellow politicians, including the male-dominated Congressional Black Caucus, to sway her from her goals.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Angela Meryl, former model and make-up artist, and author of ‘Stunts: The How To Handbook -The Secrets From An Award-Winning Hollywood Stunt Woman.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered.

In 2006 Martin came to NPR and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

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