Legendary New York City radio personality Hal Jackson has died, he was 96. The longtime broadcaster at Manhattan’s WBLS, succumbed to an undisclosed illness, according to the radio station. “WBLS is deeply saddened to announce that Hal Jackson has passed away this afternoon due to illness,” read a statement on the company’s website. “He was 96 years old. As more information becomes available we will update you.”
As a respected member of the broadcast community, Jackson’s career spanned over seven decades. He was the first black announcer on network radio, the first black person to host a jazz show for the ABC network, and the first black play-by-play sports announcer on radio—among many other accomplishments .
In 2001 Jackson was inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame, and is credited for collecting more than 6 million signatures to turn Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday into a national holiday.
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