This article examines the development of the first black-owned and black-operated television station in the United States, WGPR-TV 62 Detroit (1975–94). It argues that WGPR-TV not only challenged local white hegemony by designing black community programs aimed at a local black audience but also developed media infrastructure to intervene in broader racialized systems of civic governance and community advocacy. While this period in Detroit history is largely associated with rising crime rates, economic recession, and accelerated architectural decline, archival research demonstrates ways black citizens used television to articulate the politics of their own emplacement in the city and produced content that countered the distorted representations of black urban life found in mainstream fare. This article thus details local strategies designed to sustain black media infrastructure in the city, despite the instability of UHF television and the depletion of opportunities for business development in 1970s Detroit. In doing so, local television production and distribution historiography are positioned as a means to better understand black media responses to political, spatial, and economic change in urban centers.


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pp. 32-45
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