The National Negro Network was a black-oriented radio programming service in the United States founded on January 20, 1954 by Chicago advertiser W. Leonard Evans, Jr. It was the first black-owned radio network in the country, and its programming was broadcast on up to 45 affiliates. An article in the trade publication Broadcasting said that the network was expected “to reach approximately 12 million of the 15 million Negroes in America.”

Evans was the network’s president. Reggie Schuebel was vice president-treasurer, and John M. Wyatt was executive vice president.

The network featured a variety of different programming, including a popular soap opera The Story of Ruby Valentine, which was based on CBS’s We Love and Learn and As the Twig is Bent, and starred Juanita Hall, Ruby Dee and Terry Carter. Other short-lived series included The Life of Anna Lewis with Hilda Simms, and It’s A Mystery Man with Cab Calloway.

With this line up of popular shows and talent, the National Negro Network aimed to get more programs. Unfortunately, two things halted that and eventually killed the network in tandem. With television become national in the 1950s thanks to cable and CATV. With this came more programs on the few channels that existed at the time and a number of stars and personalities.

To combat this, radio needed money and a Black-owned station really needed money. As expected, most of that capital went to TV which didn’t have the reach of radio but had wider appeal. As a result, the National Negro Network fell before the end of 1954.

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