By Lenny Moon
Renowned radio executive Ernest “Ernie” Jackson was called home back on April 30, 2021, having passed at 78 years of age. Prior to his departure, the upstate New York native compiled a comprehensive trek on his impressive professional career that encompassed his passion for community service. From the time that he accepted the position of General Manager at Houston’s top two urban radio stations KMJQ-Majic 102 FM (R&B) and KBXX-97.9 FM (Hip-Hop) he instantly became one of the most influential figures in town. Both stations (under the same roof) were going through challenging times upon his arrival and when Jackson retired in 2001, the two Houston-based stations were deemed “Top Urban Contemporary Radio Stations in America as Ernie was tabbed among the “Top Ten Radio GMs in America” by Radio Ink Magazine.
Jackson’s book entitled “Health, Heart and Pocketbook” can be purchased online at AMAZON (https://www.amazon.com) and BARNES AND NOBLES retail outlets or online (https://www.barnesand nobles.com). Below is an overview of the author’s recently released publication.
For decades, black radio was the second most powerful communication medium in the African American community. Driving the nation’s civil rights movement, radio was their primary and most trusted source for news and information, creating social and political awareness among listeners. But in 1996, a shot was fired… killing black radio!
Shocking and revealing, Ernest Jackson, Jr. exposes who killed black radio in his story, Health, Heart, and Pocketbook. The culprit neutralized the progressive impact of black radio, transforming it from a fountain of critical content and community service to a mere jukebox where news and information became unimportant.
Named one of the top 25 African Americans in broadcasting, Jackson was present for the rise and fall of it all. He shares his memories, beginning from the first time he hosted a local radio station for communication students, progressing into a 28-year influential broadcaster.
Using humor and warmth, Jackson merges the unpleasant faces of racism, failed relationships, and life’s chaos, with that of fond childhood memories of his mother, indulging in sweet cherries, and his love for photography.
My friend and colleague Ernie Jackson returned to the world of radio in 2014 when he accepted the position of General Manager of KPVU-91.3 FM. Although keenly aware of his status while he was engineering the ship at Majic 102 and the 97.9 The Boxx, I did not actually cross direct paths with him until his arrival at KPVU. At that time I performed the duties of radio voice for the program’s football and basketball teams. I quickly discovered his affinity for photography (see samples above) and soon afterwards his knowledge of sports. Being a seasoned sports journalist, it’s not difficult to determine if the conversation is exchanged with a novice or one with vastly more depth. Well Ernie possessed a package of a genuine “sports geek”, and I certainly say that in the utmost respectful manner. Being somewhat of a sports historian myself, EJ (my moniker for him) was a refreshing “go to” for a coherent conversation of great athletes and memorable sporting events of days gone by. We had actually developed a syndicated sports radio show model along with former Tennessee Titans star linebacker Eddie Robinson Jr. Both EJ and “ERob” were outstanding while I performed the duties of moderator. ERob would go on to become the head football coach of his alma mater at Alabama State where he was once an All-American on the field as well as Academic All-American in the classroom.
It did not stop there with EJ. He served as my sideline reporter for Prairie View A&M football where once again, performed brilliantly. As the play-by-play announcer, I always felt totally confident that I could drop in at any time of the contest, throw it down to Ernie where he was always ready to exhibit his preparation each and every game. That bonding would carry over to taking in the local Houston Texans games from the pressbox on Sundays when we were not on the road. As I mentioned during his services as one of the speakers, we had sports-related phone conversations 2-3 times per week. Talking about a “homer”, there was no bigger Astros, Rockets to go along with the Texans fan than EJ. Guys like Ernie Jackson depart in the flesh only. I’m sure I’m speaking for the thousands of others that came in direct or indirect contact with EJ that his impact is permanent.