In 1990, Dorothy Brunson became the first Black, African-American woman to own a TV station in Philadelphia! She bought Philadelphia’s WGTW Channel 48.The broadcast channel showed reruns and syndicated shows, such as “Matlock,” “21 Jump Street,” “Streets of San Francisco,” “The A-Team,” “Family Feud,” and “Carol Burnett and Friends.” It was even versatile in culture as it also featured martial arts movies, original programs such as “Urban X-pressions,” and was crucial to the growth of Extreme Championship Wrestling, or ECW.
Ms. Dorothy Brunson was born in 1939, Brunson graduated from Empire State College. She was a roaring success in the radio and advertising before even entering the TV industry. To add on, she worked for New York City’s WWRL after college, and was quickly promoted to assistant general manager. Brunson increased advertising sales from $700,000 to $5 million.
In 1969, she left WWRL and co-founded Howard Sanders Advertising, one of the first black-owned advertising agencies in America, and the first on Madison Avenue.
At the age of 35, Ms. Brunson considered retiring with a $3 million fortune, but was instead persuaded to join Inner City Broadcasting, a fledgling black-owned radio company. To top it off, as vice president and general manager, Brunson increased revenue from $189,000 to $22 million.
Brunson left the company in 1979 and branched out on her own, forming Brunson Communications. She purchased Baltimore’s WEBB-AM from musician James Brown, making her the first African-American woman to own a radio station. Dorothy later added WIGO-AM in Atlanta and WBSM-AM in Wilmington, N.C.
She sold all three radio stations in the early 1990s to purchase Channel 48. WGTW broadcast in 19 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland before she sold it to Trinity Broadcasting in 2004.
Brunson died in Baltimore in 2011 at age 72.
Something else schools don’t teach our children about, so make sure to pass this story on.