The City of Compton and City Pride Magazine Honor Radio Station KJLH 

by Duane Filer

City Pride Magazine was incredibly proud to honor the distinguished radio station KJLH and the talented and world-famous Stevie Wonder for their contributions to Los Angeles and their ties to the great city of Compton. On February 3rd, at the Black History Month Lifetime of Excellence Awards celebration, KJLH personality Guy Black accepted the special recognition on behalf of Stevie Wonder and Radio KJLH. Compton Mayor Emma Sharif and City Councilman Jonathan Bowers presented Guy Black with special recognition from the City of Compton. This event was held at the LA Crystal Hotel in Compton.

 In 1965, Black bought the radio station KILB.  John Lamar Hill relaunched the station and changed its call letters to “KJLH” K (J)ohn (L)amar (H)ill.   KJLH was registered and obtained its license to do business from the city of Compton!  That license remains to this day!  

Then 1979, after 14 years of ownership, Hill sold KJLH to R&B/pop/soul music sensation Stevie Wonder for more than $2 million.  Stevie then created a separate corporation, Taxi Productions, to purchase and manage the station away from his other musical and business affairs.  Because of the change in ownership, Stevie thought it best to change the KJLH on-air slogan to match the call letters: “Kindness, Joy, Love & Happiness.” In those early years of the new KJLH in the late 1970s and early ’80s- the station even had a studio/office building in Compton in the small plaza in the 200 Block of Compton Blvd. between Culver and Acacia Streets. 

It is very important and a great honor to state that to this day, Radio Station KJLH is the oldest African American-owned radio station on the West Coast owned by the two aforementioned black owners for 58 years! In many ways, Stevie Wonder has been “the hub” of the music industry, influencing every genre of music out there.