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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Renee

Floyd Joseph Calvin | Host of First Black Radio Show



At the height of radio broadcasting, Floyd Joseph Calvin (1902-1939) became the host of the first radio show that targeted an African American audience, The Courier Hour. But Calvin’s journalistic impact extended far beyond radio, as he also worked in print journalism and ran a news service.


In 1920, at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, Calvin moved from his home state of Arkansas to New York, establishing a home in Harlem and attending City College of New York.


Following his higher education pursuits, Calvin found work in the journalism field, acting as associate editor of Messenger, a political and literary news magazine. Calvin left his post at Messenger in 1924 and took a position at a Black-owned newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier.


While still working at the Courier, Calvin lent his talents to the radio show sponsored by the newspaper. When he led Courier Hour in 1927, Calvin created the first radio show targeting a Black audience. The program was short-lived, but not long after it was dropped from the radio schedule, Calvin was offered the opportunity to host a new, eponymous show titled the Floyd J. Calvin Program.


Further expanding his reach, Calvin launched Calvin News Service, a service offering everything from featured articles to recipes. This news service continued to thrive until Calvin’s untimely death at 37.


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