Broadcasting leader has served black community
Ronald Davenport, chairman of the Sheridan Broadcasting Corp., which owns WAMO, is known as a leader in the black community and in the broadcasting industry. But over the years, he has worn many different hats: a lawyer, a teacher, a politician and a writer.
Born in 1937, Davenport grew up in a Philadelphia public housing project. From the start he showed leadership ability. In high school, he was class vice president and then president.
Working his way through college, he still had time to be active in different groups. At Temple University, he was an editor for the Law Quarterly. Graduating with an undergraduate degree in economics from Pennsylvania State University, he earned law degrees from Temple and Yale universities.
Davenport started his law career with a firm of attorneys in Philadelphia. Then in 1963, he joined the teaching staff of the Duquesne University School of Law here in Pittsburgh. Starting as an associate professor, Davenport went on to become the dean of the law school in 1970. He became the first black man to be dean of a predominantly white school.
Davenport also taught a course in constitutional law to stay in touch with the students.
While still dean, Davenport formed a group to buy four radio stations. When he resigned from the law school in 1981, Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. became his main business.
In 1976, the company bought half of the Mutual Black Network. Later it bought the remaining half, moving all of Mutual's operations to Pittsburgh. Today, the Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. is an entertainment network with more than 230 radio affiliates across the country.
A former president of the Urban League of Pittsburgh, Davenport has always been very active in the black community in Pittsburgh. In 1988, he was on a list of people being considered by George Bush's administration for a cabinet post.
-- By Lizabeth Gray