John L. Hanson Jr.

Host, Producer, In Black America

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., as well as weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.

Hanson’s love of radio started in his hometown, Detroit, as a teenager. He began as a music programmer and youth reporter for the student station in his school. Upon his high school graduation, he traveled to Austin, Texas, to attend Huston-Tillotson College, and landed a DJ slot at a small, low wattage station in nearby Lockhart where he offered a popular nightly program of jazz and soul music. Eventually he was hired by KUT radio in 1974 where his first assignment was to produce a nightly program called “Soul on FM” which became an immediate success and ultimately earned him recognition as “Best DJ in Texas” by Texas Monthly magazine in 1976.

In 1977, Hanson received a Minority Training Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which he used to learn the ropes for setting up a public affairs program for KUT. Upon his return from the CPB workshops, Hanson turned his attention to improving and increasing information about the black community, which was not effectively reaching the local media outlets. He soon created Access, a weekly, live, phone-in program on KUT, which allowed experts in various fields and endeavors to address the public about their intended impact on the Austin community. From there, Hanson was promoted to the producer of In Black America after its previous host left the city in 1980.

Since that time, Hanson has served many roles at KUT, including being the station’s interim GM on two occasions. He retired from KUT in 2011 but has continued to work on IBA and host the Old School Dance Party on sister station KUTX 98.9 Friday afternoons from 4-7 p.m. Hanson is married to the former Latischa M. Merritt; he has two children, Kacey and Michael.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents an encore discussion with Dr. Albert D. Chester, owner of New Town Pharmacy and founder and director of Capstone Institute, both located in Jacksonville, Fla.

Chester talks about training future health care workers, opening a pharmacy in the neighborhood his grandfather grew up in, and being the primary resource for all health care needs.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents an encore conversation with Selena Sage, publisher, inspirational speaker and author of Get Free: 7 Simple Steps to Free Your Mind & Live Your Dreams.

Born and raised in Austin, Sage graduated from the LBJ Science Academy (now LASA), and then went on to graduate from Northwestern University's Honors Program of Engineering and Management, with degrees in industrial engineering and business.

On this archived edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ron Banks. The singer was a founding member of the Detroit vocal group The Dramatics, which formed in the mid-1960s and continued to play for avid audiences around the country for years.

Banks talks about growing up in Detroit, not signing with Motown Records, forming the soul group and what distinguishes them from other male vocal groups, and wanting to be a professional baseball player.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents an encore conversation with Corey Minor Smith, attorney; former Canton, Ohio, City Council member; motivational speaker; and author of #Driven.

Minor Smith talks candidly about her childhood, her path to becoming an attorney and how her family's struggles with mental illness inspired her to become a motivational speaker.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a rebroadcast of a conversation with Robert Townsend, comedian, actor, film director/producer, writer and former cable network programming CEO. His projects include Hollywood Shuffle, The Meteor Man and The Five Heartbeats.

Townsend talks about growing up in Chicago, being an independent filmmaker, his first big movie break, working with Eddie Murphy and why he believes The Five Heartbeats is a classic film.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Laura W. Cheever, MD, a physician and the associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

On Feb. 7, we commemorated the annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 15th Annual Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Salute To Excellence Awards presented by the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation held during Super Bowl LIV week.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a panel discussion on the legacy and impact of historically black colleges and universities football. Featured on the program are former Miami Dolphins Larry Little and De’Lance Turner; Arthur McAfee, NFL senior vice president of player engagement; and Dr. Derrick E. White, associate professor of history and African American and Africana studies at the University of Kentucky. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Derrick E. White, associate professor of history and African American and Africana studies at the University of Kentucky and author of Blood, Sweat and Tears: Jake Gaither, Florida A&M, and the History of Black College Football

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Regina E. Mason, international speaker, executive producer and author of The Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, published by Oxford University Press, and Sean Durant, the producer/director of Gina’s Journey: The Search for William Grimes.

The Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the first fugitive slave narrative in American history. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Regina E. Mason, international speaker, executive producer and author of The Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, published by Oxford University Press, and Sean Durant, the producer and director of Gina’s Journey: The Search for William Grimes.

The Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the first fugitive slave narrative in American history. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder of Washington, D.C.,-based Babyscripts. In recent years, as high rates of maternal mortality in this country have alarmed researchers, one statistic has been especially concerning. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-American mothers in this country die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Richard Cahan, author of Revolution in Black and White: Photographs of The Civil Rights Era by Ernest C. Withers. Withers was a self-made man. He was one of the most prominent African-American photographers during the civil rights years. During the course of his career, he took thousands photographs that document the Movement. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a conversation with the late George E. Curry, formerly editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine. Curry was a staunch champion of the black press until his death on Aug. 20, 2016. He was 69.

Curry talks about growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, working for Sports Illustrated, and his commitment to the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and BET’s Lead Story.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Spencer Haywood, NBA/ABA legend and Hall-of-Famer.

Haywood will always be remembered as the person who opened the door for underclassmen college basketball players to leave college early to enter the NBA, thereby creating the "Spencer Haywood rule."

In celebration of Black History Month, In Black America presents an encore presentation of "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," an extended interview with her that originally aired in March 1983.

The legendary singer, dancer, actress and Civil Rights activist died in 2010 after a career in film, television and theater that spanned 60 years.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Timothy M. George, medical director of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Center of Central Texas at Dell Children’s Medical Center and adjunct professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. George died on November 10th, 2019. He was 59.

Dr. George talks about growing up in New York, attending medical school, his love of racecar driving, his commitment to healing children and his fascination with the human body.  

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Monique W. Morris, Ph.D., social justice scholar and author of Sing A Rhythm, Dance A Blues: Education for the Liberation of Black and Brown Girls published by The New Press. She’s also the founder and president of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the Honorable Mitch Landrieu, author, speaker, advisor and the former Mayor of New Orleans. This past fall, Mayor Landrieu released a report titled Divided by Design: Findings from the American South.

Landrieu talks about the 15 key insights; how southerners are impacted by race, equity, economic opportunity and violence; the importance of the study; and why diversity matters.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. pays tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King would have turned 91 this week.

Featured on the program are the voices of former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former President Barack Obama, and civil rights activist D'Army Bailey.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with J.C. Watts, co-founder and chairman of the Black News Channel, and Gray Wordlaw, its vice president of news and programming. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Cheryl Grace, Nielsen's senior vice president of Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement and co-creator of the 2019 Diverse Intelligence Series Report on African Americans.

At 47.8 million strong and a buying power that's on par with many nations' gross domestic products, African Americans continue to outpace spending nationally.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Glen Crawley, co-owner of ATX Heli Tours. Crawley and his partner, Kenny Garth, opened the helicopter tour company based in Pflugerville in 2017. 

Crawley talks about how his brother got him interested in flying, how he met Garth and started the company, the joys of giving tours of the city and the business' future plans.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Glenda Glover, international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and president of Tennessee State University.

This past fall, local chapters, private donors and corporate matching dollars from across the globe helped the 111-year old service organization reach a $1 million fundraising goal.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Idopise Umana, a board-certified internal medicine physician who specializes in managing patients with acute and chronic illnesses and founder of The Wellness Institute, located in Suwanee, Ga.

Dr. Umana talks about wellness for the mind, suicides in the U.S., people who inspired her, her nonprofit and why she became a doctor.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Sherri Shepherd, actress, comedian, author, game show host and television personality. Shepherd is a multi-talented entertainer with exuberant charm and charisma. She’s probably best known for work as a co-host on The View from 2007 to 2014.

Shepherd talks growing up in Chicago, taking a leap of faith in becoming a comedian, working on The View, being a game show host and the movie Brian Banks.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Charles Whitaker, the newly appointed dean of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Whitaker talks about his new appointment, working for Ebony magazine, why Medill is a leader in journalism education, and the lack of people of color in newsroom management.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Aldon D. Morris, the Leon Forrest professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, author of The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology and president-elect of the American Sociological Association.

Morris talks about earning his Ph.D., African American sociologists and intellectuals, the new focus of the association and bringing the study of sociology to the streets of Chicago.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Dr. Aldon D. Morris, the Leon Forrest professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, author of The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology and president-elect of the American Sociological Association.

Morris talks about the American Sociological Association, growing up in Chicago, race issues, social inequality and social movements.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Jasmine Allen, owner and director of events for Destination Birmingham, a firm specializing in attracting special events to Birmingham.

Allen talks about growing up in an entrepreneurial family, why she chose this career path, how she came up with the idea for the business, her love of Birmingham and the biggest challenges she’s faced so far as a young entrepreneur.

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