Shields, Dell { 2 images } Created 4 Feb 2020

Radio host, Dell Shields, WRVR
"Night Call" 1968-69
African American radio host
‘Night Call’ spurred conversations on race in 1960's (Died, 2015)
To listen to the shows: https://soundtheology.org/night-call-1968-69/
The first run of Night Call was the first national call-in radio program. It originated in Dearborn, Michigan, and ran weeknights on stations across the country. It was an excellent format for discussion of social issues. The program began in 1965 and ended in 1966, a total of 230 programs.

The Methodist Television, Radio, and Film Commission planned to re-start the program in the fall of 1968, but in the midst of Civil Rights unrest, and following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., TRAFCO decided to move up the re-start date to June 3, 1968. A budget of $450,000 was arranged, and the search went into high gear for a host, a producer, a program director, and researchers.
The program would originate at WRVR, a community FM station with studios at Riverside Church in New York City. The hour-long program would run at 11:30pm Eastern Time, every weeknight, and syndicated on stations across the country.

Del Shields was hired to host the program. He was executive secretary of the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers (with a membership of 500 African-American broadcasters.) Shields had also hosted a daily 4-1/2 hour show on WLIB-FM in New York City.
...In the summer of 1968, guests on the show included James Baldwin, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Sargent Shriver, Arthur Miller, H. Rap Brown, Jackie Robinson, Roy Innis, Eldredge Cleaver, Bill Cosby, Rev. A. D. King, Stokely Carmichael, Julian Bond, and Dick Gregory.A Time Magazine article on August 23, 1968 called Night Call “The Cool Hot Line.” It said: … the United Methodist Church … is sponsoring a radio dialogue between the races that is more compelling than any heard on the sudden multitude of such talk shows, including those produced on TV. By the time of the Time Magazine article, the number of stations carrying the show had grown to 57.
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