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 Tuesdays at 9:30 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 the Dr.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Alexander Murray Palmer Haley. Haley’s quest to learn more about his family history resulted in his writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Roots: The Sage of an American Family."

The book has been published in 37 languages, and was made into the first week-long television miniseries, viewed by an estimated 130 million people. "Roots" also generated widespread interest in genealogy.

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.

Born on June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, Lena Horne became one of the most popular African American performers of the 1940's and 1950's. At the age of sixteen she was hired as a dancer in the chorus of Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. There she was introduced to the growing community of jazz performers, including Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington. She also met Harold Arlen, who would write her biggest hit, “Stormy Weather.” For the next five years she performed in New York nightclubs, on Broadway, and touring with the Charlie Barnet Orchestra. 

Cocoa Media Group

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Angela Burt-Murray editorial director of Cocoa Media Group, a new digital media company that launched CocoaFab.com and CocoaFab.TV to feature entertainment, style and original web series for young women of color. 

Prior to launching CMG, she was the editor-in-chief of ESSENCE magazine, where she oversaw the editorial direction for ESSENCE magazine—the premier lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty magazine for African-American women—as well as Essence.com—the leading daily online destination to serve that audience.

The University of Texas at Austin

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late John Saunders Chase, the first African American graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and the first African American President of The Texas Exes.

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