Adrian Kenneth "Ken" Knight   Biography

WROD


One of three children born to William and Beatrice Knight, Adrian Kenneth Knight, also known as "Ken" Knight, was born February 6, 1909, in Headland, Alabama. Mr. Knight was one of the South's leading Black pioneer broadcasters and television personalities. during his childhood, Ken Knight's parents relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida, where he attended public school and later earned a diploma from Campbell Street High School. Ken went on to better himself by pursuing and completing his college education at Hampton Institute in Virginia. Mr. Knights introduction to broadcasting resulted as a $5.00 bet which resulted from a complaint to a friend about the performance of a radio announcer. Mr. Knight bet that he could do better. He won the bet. Self trained, Mr. Knight moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he became program director, assistant manager and the first African-American announcer in the South, when all-white radio station WROD-AM 1310 hired him. He is credited with starting a movement in which African Americans asked for more of their music and announcements to be aired. Mr. Knight initiated training programs to prepare other African Americans for careers in broadcasting. He originated the Ken Knight Show which was the first African American television show in Jacksonville. The purpose of the show , according to Mr. Knight "is not only to show the talents of our people in music and other forms of entertainment, but, also, present to the viewing public other fields of achievement by Negroes." The show emceed by Mr. Knight featured live Gospel music and first appeared on WJXT in December 1961. Artists appearing on the show included "The Heavenly Echoes," "Sons of Jubilee Quartet," "The Franklin Trio," "The Golden Jubilee Quartet," and Marva Wyche and David Coleman. Mr. Knight produced the "Knight Train" show, a very popular show that aired on WRHC. Before moving on to WPDQ, he became vice president of WRHC. He founded a 10-city radio network called the "Rattler network" which broadcasted the annual Orange Blossom  football classic from the orange Bowl in Miami. Mr. Knight operated a firm known as Coverage, Inc., which handled a variety of projects, including "Home Shows," a 'Sweet Chariot" program and a Souvenir Book. Many credited Mr. Knight with the increase in Black Artists' sales. Mr. Knight received the Meritorious Service award from Governor Herman Talmadge. He was appointed to serve on the Foreign Policy news Conference team under Secretary of State Dean Rusk. He was the only African American broadcaster form Florida to serve in this capacity. Mr. Knight helped to found the National Association of Radio and TV Announcers in 1955 and served as treasurer, vice-president and chairman of the board of the aforementioned organization. Without a doubt, Ken Knight was a success story,  and he proudly credited much of his success to his wife Frenchie and his mother. Ken Knight passed away on September, 12, 1973. Ken Knight will always be remembered and honored as one of America's most successful and accomplished African Americans. 


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