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In 1980, Waymon and Thessia Dunn started the first black-owned and operated radio station in Central Arkansas, KWTD-FM. The trailblazers owned the station from 1980 to 1990. Waymon Dunn was a WWII Army veteran who served his country and worked the fields of Arkansas as a cotton planter. He later served as a Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Army. Through his experience, he spent a great deal of time alleviating racial issues between businesses and the community.

Dunn Broadcasting hosted events for the community of Little Rock, Ark., to establish the link between the community and the commercial sector. Events like ‘Fest 85’ brought in major talents like the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, to entertain the audience and bridge racial gaps among the two parties. Dunn partnered with groups like the Urban League of Arkansas, the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation and the NAACP.

After establishing themselves in radio in 1980, KWTD-FM went down in history as the first 24-hour urban contemporary-formatted station on the FM bank in Central Arkansas. In 1990, the station was sold to Willis Broadcasting then to Knoll Broadcasting in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Waymon Dunn passed away in January 1987. His passing was acknowledged by a letter of condolence from former President Bill Clinton, a friend of the Dunn family.

2 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Dunn Broadcasting

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  2. Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog and commented:
    Great to celebrate milestones like this one. It makes one pause to reflect on how much prejudice there was for so many decades that it took until 1980 to see that moment happen. Still, it happened, thanks to this couple’s personal initiative.

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