Sears, Zenas, 1914-1988
Owner of WAOK, an Atlanta AM radio station. WAOK was one of the first in the nation to feature as its primary format such as African American musical forms as blues, rhythm and blues (R&B), and soul. Sears started the radio station in 1956 and instituted an all-R&B format, the first of its kind. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he became involved with the civil rights movement under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., and his social views were reflected in WAOK's programing. In 1968 WAOK altered its format from R&B to soul and in 1980 became a gospel station. In 2001 it changed to "urban talk."