KTSU, Texas Radio Hall of Fame salute pioneers of Texas Black radio
KTSU General Manager Ernest Walker (seated) is pictured here with KTSU leaders Rev. Charles Hudson and Donna Franklin at KTSu in 2017. Photo by Aswad Walker.

In celebration of Black History Month and in continuing tribute to KTSU’s ‘Journey to 50’ celebration, 90.9 The Choice will air a series of audio vignettes spotlighting the people who first brought music, news, and commentary to Black audiences in Texas. These episodes, researched by and co-branded with the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, will be produced under the supervision of KTSU program director Donna Franklin. The 60-second features will air on KTSU-FM beginning February 6, 2022, and will be voiced by The VIBE Houston content director The Madd Hatta, a 2013 Texas Radio Hall of Fame inductee.

Donna Franklin

“Each year, Black History Month gives us the opportunity to remember significant contributors to the growth of our community and the strength of Black culture, “said KTSU general manager Ernest Walker. “With the advent of Black-owned and operated radio stations in the mid-20th century, the voices and music that inspired and entertained Black citizens were woven into the fabric of everyday life. That’s the role that KTSU-FM continues to play to this day.”

KTSU’s Donna Franklin shares Walker’s enthusiasm for the project and looks forward to personally overseeing the creation of this on-air salute.

“These broadcast pioneers, whose vision, resources, and talent made radio tailored to Black audiences and Black businesses a reality, are most deserving of this recognition. The people ‘behind the mic’ as well as those who ‘wrote the checks’ were both brave and resolute. These are the stories we’re going to share.”

The series also helps to lay the foundation of KTSU’s upcoming 50th anniversary and its ‘Journey to 50’ campaign. As Houston’s first Black public radio station, launching in 1972, KTSU has remained a staple in the community, playing a variety of music that supports local Houston artists, discussing topics dealing directly with Black Houston, and staying consistent with the traditions of one of the only options in radio for Sunday Gospel music.

Ernest Walker

“It’s been a miracle for many years, but when you really talk about a station that has been consistent in serving our community for 50 years, I think that’s amazing,” Walker said.

The station is planning fundraising events and continues to offer year-round memberships that often come with special gifts, event discounts or invites to private events for members.

The Texas Radio Hall of Fame also celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022 and enjoys a strategic alliance with the Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications in Kilgore, Texas. In addition to The Madd Hatta, KTSU sports director Ralph Cooper and Muriel Funches, executive director of advancement with the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University, are Texas Radio Hall of Fame inductees.

Support for the initiatives of KTSU and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame is provided by Amber Mostyn, co-founder of Mostyn Law.