Radio legend Hal Jackson poses for a photo on the...

Radio legend Hal Jackson poses for a photo on the red carpet at the 2010 Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Concert & Awards Ceremony. Credit: Getty Images, 2010

Pioneering African-American radio personality Hal Jackson -- a fixture on New York's airwaves for decades -- has died, according to a statement posted on the WBLS website. Jackson was 96.

In his seven-decade career in radio, Jackson accomplished many firsts: He was the first African-American radio announcer on network radio, the first black host of a jazz show on the ABC network and the first black play-by-play radio sports announcer.

He co-founded Inner City Broadcasting Corp., the first African-American-owned and -operated radio station in New York, which acquired WBLS and turned it into one of the most influential outlets in the metropolitan area in the 1970s.

He continued to host his oldies program, "Sunday Classics," each week on WBLS.

Jackson died of an undisclosed illness, according to WBLS.

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