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Harold Bell Changed The Landscape In Sports Talk Radio

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By Gary A. Johnson – Founder & Publisher, Black Men In America.com

Good things come to those who wait.  Take the case of Washington, DC sports radio talk show icon, Harold Bell.  Not that Harold was waiting, but earlier this month, Mr. Bell was notified that he was selected by the National Association of Black Journalists’ Sports Task Force for a 2020 Pioneer Award.

This award is given every year to both athletes and journalists of distinction who have made significant contributions to their communities through their work over the years.  If Harold doesn’t say this, please allow me to say:  “It’s about time!”

The Pioneer Award will honor Harold Bell for his 50+ years of community and social activism in Washington, DC through his groundbreaking radio show, “The Original Inside Sports” and his online shows (Facebook LIVE) and his foundation “Kids in Trouble,” a non-profit that he founded with his wife Hattie.

I want to put Harold Bell and his body of work into its proper historical context.  Let’s start with the definition of sports talk radio.

Sports talk radio is a radio format devoted entirely to discussion and broadcasting of sporting events.  A widespread programming genre that has a narrow audience appeal, sports radio is characterized by an often-boisterous on-air style (Stephen A. Smith type) and often passionate and energetic debate and analysis by the hosts and callers.

Harold Bell developed his own style.  A style that was copied and some would say ripped off by other mainstream media outlets.  In 1972, Harold Bell founded “The Original “Inside Sports,” radio show that aired on WOOK-AM in Washington, DC.  Over the years, the show spanned and included WYCB-AM, WUST-AM, WPFW FM and WKYS-FM.

In 1975, Harold Bell became the first Black person to host and produce a television sports special during the “prime time” viewing period on WRC-TV 4, an NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.

Let’s not get it twisted.  Let’s make sure that we are not victims of “fake news.”

Harold Bell is the “Godfather” of Sports Talk radio in Washington, DC.  You can talk about Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Butch McAdams, Kevin Blackistone, James Brown, Bram Weinstein, Andy Pollin, Steve Czaban, Ken Beatrice, Rick “Doc” Walker, Mike Wise, Glenn Harris, etc.

They all came AFTER Harold Bell!

Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–-sports talk radio with classic interviews with sports celebrities, politicians and news makers of the day.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for 50 years with the help of his wife Hattie through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.

Harold Bell is also a man of influence.  He campaigned and successfully got two pro athletes inducted into their Hall of Fames after they were blackballed.

*Willie Wood (NFL Hall of Fame 1989)
*Earl Lloyd (NBA Hall of Fame 2003)
*He also campaigned and successfully got NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown an early release from jail in 2000 (Domestic Violence)

50 YEARS LATER, HAROLD BELL & INSIDE SPORTS IS STILL NO. 1.

Black Men in America.com the online magazine is a top ranked (usually in the Top 10) of the 50 most read websites in the category:  African American Online Communities.  The No. 1 blogger and most popular phrase typed into the search engines to find the site is “HAROLD BELL.”  Harold ruled sports talk radio in the 70s, 80s and 90s in the Nations Capitol, Washington, DC and he’s still #1.

There are not enough words to talk about his association with other people of influence in sports and politics.  Know your history boys and girls.  Watch the video below.

Congratulations Mr. Bell!

Click here to visit Harold’s YouTube ChannelClick here to visit Harold Bell’s blog.

Harold Bell and Gary Johnson and the Black Men In America.com Office

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com.  He is also the author of the book25 Things That Really Matter In Life,”:  A Quick and Comprehensive Guide To Making Your Life Better—Today! and a contributing author to two other books, The Black Father Perspective: What We Want America To Know, and In Search of Fatherhood – Transcending Boundaries: International Conversations on Fatherhood.

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