KJLH-FM and the Los Angeles Riots of 1992

Compton’s Neighborhood Station in the Aftermath of the Rodney King Verdict


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About the Book

As the only independently Black-owned radio station in South Central Los Angeles, KJLH-FM was thrust into the media spotlight in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial. During the ensuing riots, KJLH introduced the world to South Central Los Angeles as only those who lived and worked there could. Owned by musician Stevie Wonder since 1979, the station upheld his legacy of community commitment, earning a Peabody Award along the way. This book explores the social, political, and economic impact of KJLH, drawing heavily upon more than 200 pages of interviews and program transcripts from the 1992 radio coverage.

About the Author(s)

Phylis Johnson is a professor and former chairperson of the Radio-Television Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Bibliographic Details

Phylis Johnson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4386-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5466-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Introduction      1

1: KJLH on Location
Soundscapes from South Crenshaw      17

2: KJLH’s Sphere of Influence
Assessing Black Radio’s Role in the Community      34

3: Lighting the Torch
KJLH and Its Black Radio Roots      48

4: Fueling the Passion
The Wonderful Black Community Mission      72

5: False Prophets of Corporate Radio
The Business of Black Radio      90

6: On-Air Vigil
KJLH’s Transformation to Talk      106

7: Tuned In and Out Front
Communicating Social Responsibility on Black Radio      119

8: Change the System
Politics of Empowerment      139

9: Owning a Legacy—And Hanging Onto It      164

10: Keeping the Peace

Concluding Remarks      182

E. Steven Collins on the Soul of Black Radio      187

Bibliography      191

Index      211