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Youth Share Stories of Rochester's First Black Radio Personalities in New Podcast Series


ROCHESTER, NY – RCTV celebrates Black History Month with the launch of a new podcast about Rochester’s first African American radio personalities, Howard Coles and Alma Kelso.


The Black Radio Rochester podcast was produced by five local high school students who interweave Coles and Kelso’s stories with their own perspectives on Black history, music, and media representation. They tell how Coles and Kelso used radio journalism and radio dramas to demand social change in the 1940s; how the “King Coles” R&B show helped strengthen Rochester’s growing African American community in the 1950s; and how early broadcasters like Coles and Kelso challenged dominant media stereotypes of the time.


The podcast is the result of six months of youth-led research, including original archival research at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, as well as interviews and interactive workshops conducted with local media professionals of color, from DJs to journalists and filmmakers.


The program was made possible through a Historic Preservation Grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation.


The Black Radio Rochester podcast launches Thursday, February 3rd. It can be accessed online at rctvmediacenter.org/blackradiorochester. It will also air Thursdays at 5pm on WXIR 100.9 FM. A new episode will be released every Thursday throughout the month of February.