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1954: The Year of the National Negro Network

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W. Leonard Evans organized the first radio network devoted to airing programs that reflected Black life and music. On January 20, 1954, the National Negro Network (NNN) claimed forty founding affiliate station members. While programming was aimed at a Black audience, network staff was composed of both Black and White employees. Evans maintained that a “mixed” or “interracial” staff performed better and was more successful in bringing in revenue. Evans believed the time was right for a Black network and Black programming. His plans included the broadcasting of Black sports and Black news. Initial programming included musical variety shows and soap operas. The soap opera,  The Story of Ruby Valentine  was very popular. It was an adaptation of the long running Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) network’s radio soap opera ,  We Love and Learn .  The Story of Ruby Valentine starred Juanita Hill, Ruby Dee and Terry Carter. Other programs included Black college concerts, Cab Calloway and