NABOB pays tribute to Sutton


The late Percy Sutton had more than a passing interest in the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters – he was a founding member. The Association remembers him as a foundation-builder of minority broadcasting in general.

Here is NABOB’s full statement:

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Inc. joins with people around the world in mourning the passing of Percy E. Sutton, a founding member of NABOB.  Mr. Sutton was highly regarded as an accomplished attorney and civil rights activist, who counted Malcolm X among his many notable clients.  He was elected to the New York Legislature and served as Borough President of Manhattan.  During his years in the government, and for the remainder of his life after leaving government, Mr. Sutton helped other African American elected officials, and those aspiring to elective office, to succeed in making government more responsive to the needs and concerns of African American communities, and all communities, across the country.

In NABOB, he is best known and respected as the founder of Inner City Broadcasting Corporation.  Mr. Sutton and his brother Oliver purchased WLIB(AM) in New York City in 1971, and began a long tradition of high level service to the African American community in New York.  Inner City went on to purchase WBLS(FM), which for many years was the number one rated station in New York City and continues to be one the top stations in New York.

Inner City grew and prospered and now operates seventeen stations around the U.S.  During the growth years, Mr. Sutton turned over control of the company to his son Pepe Sutton.  Mr. Sutton and Pepe used the prominent position of Inner City Broadcasting to support the growth and development of NABOB, which in turn continues to promote ownership of broadcast facilities by African Americans and other minority entrepreneurs.  Thus, in a very real sense, the successful broadcasters of today stand on the shoulders of Percy Sutton.

For those of us who had the privilege of working with and learning from Mr. Sutton, his passing is a particularly devastating loss.  Mr. Sutton was an inspiring figure in every sense.  His noted accomplishments were just a part of what made him such a special leader.  Mr. Sutton always maintained close relationships with people at every level of society, and, in spite of his financial success, he never removed himself from interacting with and befriending working class people.

The passing of Percy Sutton is truly a sad day for America and for his friends and colleagues in NABOB.