WGPR was purchased in 1964 by International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. led by William V. Banks, who would serve as President and General Manager of WGPR and its sister TV station, founded in 1975 until his death in 1985. This all started with a meeting Dr. William Venoid Banks was having at the White House with United States President Richard Nixon in 1972 when the conversation turned to African-Americans’ scant involvement in broadcast media. The result was Nixon’s promise of a Federal Communications Commission license.
The WGPR-TV Historical Society is a 501(3)(c) non-profit, organized in 2011 by former station employees who came together with a mission: Establish a museum to preserve the history and tell the story of the first African American owned and operated TV station in the country. The concept of a WGPR TV Museum is to create a dynamic gallery space, within the station’s studios at 3146 East Jefferson in Detroit.
With interactive video exhibits and displays of station artifacts, visitors will learn about WGPR-TV history, its diverse programming the station’s founders and its impact as a training ground. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to participate in short TV productions.
Historic Milestone: On December 4, 2014, the Michigan Historical Commission approved the WGPR-TV Historical Society’s application to have a marker placed at station’s 3146 East Jefferson location. The marker will commemorate the WGPR-TV location as a landmark in broadcast history.
The WGPR-TV Historical Society is a volunteer organization looking for members interested in working to preserve the history of the station. To join, e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your interest in joining and whether you have any station memorabilia. You don’t have to be a former employee of WGPR-TV or 107.5 FM to become a member.