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The first radio station in the state geared exclusively to all-black programming and audiences, KOKY, made its debut in October 1956. The call letters still exist today, and the station remains true to its original audience, now termed “urban.” Al Bell learned to jock at the original KOKY with studios near Little Rock Central High School at 1604 W. 14th St.

Bell later recalled that black and white students alike would gather at the KOKY studios to dance and socialize before school — even during the September 1957 apex of the desegregation “crisis.” He continued jocking and went on to work as a student-teacher in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council and later became head of Stax Records in Memphis. Bell said the integrated scene at KOKY “had subconsciously influenced me.”


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