Black History: Andrew Langston

 

Andrew Langston was born in “the great state of Georgia” in 1927.

During the summers of his teenage years, he worked on a tobacco farm to help his family make ends meet. After graduating valedictorian of his school, Langston moved to New York City with his uncle and worked as a bookkeeper on Wall Street while barbering on the side. He moved to Rochester in July 1960 with his wife, Gloria and son, Andre after receiving an offer from a local TV station for a position as a weatherman. However, once they saw the color of Langston’s skin they denied him the position. His next stop was National Clothing Store; during the four years at National, Langston set sales records and networked with influential businessmen. He left National Clothing and became the first Black insurance agent for Prudential Life in the Rochester area. Langston was Rookie of the Year, selling over a million dollars worth of insurance in four months, and was inducted as a Life and Qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table. For the first nineteen years in the insurance business, Langston was a member of the Academy of Honor, President’s Club and winner of National Quality, and National Sales Achievement awards.

In 1968 a corporation was formed to obtain than the last frequency, 103.9, available on the FM band. There were three other applicants for the frequency—Rochester Radio (out of New York City), What the Bible Says, and Auburn Publishing Company. Six years of delays followed, traveling back and forth on hundreds of trips to the FCC in Washington, DC including congressional hearings, conception of WDKX-FM was finally confirmed. There were no Black-owned radio stations in New York; in fact, Monroe County Broadcasting Company was the first Black corporation to apply for a radio frequency before the FCC. It was christened in honor of Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and after five million, two hundred fifty eight thousand minutes of waiting for delivery, and on April 6, 1974, WDKX-FM made its first sounds. WDKX has been broadcasting for 24 hours day for almost 40 years and is the only locally independently owned commercial radio station in Rochester.

Andrew Langston has been recognized as Broadcaster of the Year, Broadcasting Pioneer of the Decade by the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, a member of Rochester Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the inaugural class of the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Langston died in 2010 from cancer but his vision lives on.