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The house that Jack built : my life story as a trailblazer in broadcasting and entertainment
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The story of one of the most important figures in American radio and television from his start in Washington, D.C., as the first African American announcer on network radio to many other "firsts," and the people he met along the way. - (Baker & Taylor)

One of the most successful voices in broadcasting chronicles his more than five decades in the business of African-American radio. 35,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

The House That Jack Built is the life story of Hal Jackson, one of the most important figures in American radio and television. When starting out as a young professional, during the Jim Crow era in Washington, D.C., Jackson was told by the management of WINX that no Black man would ever broadcast at their station. He ultimately proved them wrong and was given a time slot of the station -- thus beginning a long and illustrious career, filled with an extraordinary series of firsts:

  • The first Black radio announcer on network radio.
  • The first Black inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame.
  • The first Black host of a jazz show on the ABC network.
  • The first Black to do play-by-play sports announcing on radio.
  • The first Black to host an interracial network show on NBC-TV.
  • The first person to broadcast from a theater live.
  • He organized and was one of the owners of the first Black team to win the World's Basketball Championship.
  • The first Black host of an international network television presentation.
  • He was instrumental in acquiring the first radio station owned and operated by Blacks in New York City.
  • At a time when Block women were prohibited from entering beauty pageants, he founded Hal Jackson's Talented Teen International contest.

Here is a remarkable story about a remarkable person. The House That Jack Built is an important addition to the history of media in the United States.


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Booklist Reviews

Jackson's autobiography covers more than half a century of the career of a true pioneer in American radio and television. What makes Jackson's experience exceptional is that, as an African American, he refused to take no for an answer when seeking radio time in Washington, D.C., during the thoroughly segregated 1930s. Early in his career, as a sports broadcaster of Howard University football games and sponsor and participant in the World Basketball Championship, Jackson pursued excellence that brought him into contact with other pioneers of professional sports, such as Red Auerbach. When his achievements led him into the world of music as a disk jockey, Jackson faced conflict with programmers when he insisted on playing good music that went beyond the expected limitations of "race" music. He was successful on national network radio before much of the network brass knew he was black. Jackson is best known for developing youth talent via his teenage talent programs and for his early involvement with Percy Sutton's Inner City Broadcasting, the first major black-owned telecommunications conglomerate. An inspirational read. ((Reviewed March 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
Ahmet Ertegun
Charleston to Washington
Marriage, Sportswriting, and Broadcasting
Sports Promotion and the Basketball World Championship
The House That Jack Built
New Worlds to Conquer
Back to the Big Apple
WLIB and the Payola Scandal
Starting Over
With Kings and Queens
Radio Station Owner
Rebuilding Jack's House

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