02/22/15 WIS Awareness Anniversary

2d ago



'Awareness' has been on the air waves at WIS-TV for 45 years. January of 1970, Isaac Washington, a WIS sales employee helped recruit JP Neal Jr. to create the station's first African-American based public affairs show. The started during a time of great tension and transition. The South was in the midst of integration coming off the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Neal was the first host for 25 years. He started the show with an all black crew -- mostly recruited from local colleges such as Benedict and Allen University. The show has had dozens of hosts including Renee Carter, Jacquelyn Johnson, Carolyn Sawyer, Judi Gatson, Craig Melvin, Stewart Moore, Brandi Cummings and others. Guests who were a part of the show's legacy reportedly include Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Sammy Davis, Jr., Julian Bond, Septima Clark, Coretta Scott King, The Jackson Five and many others. This week, Part 1 of the anniversary special takes a look back at how the show started and how it's evolved.