Soul Train Decoded: Don Cornelius Created the Hippest Brand in America

Don-Cornelius-set-620×480

BROADCASTING BOUNDARIES

In 1970, Cornelius created Soul Train and generated local success in Chicago on WCIU. Shortly thereafter the sensation grew and was broadcast nationally in 1971, leading to a 35-year run in syndication. Soul Train remains the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history. With its emphasis on music, dance and fashion, the show helped introduce African-American culture to an international audience through an innovative business model that was cost-efficient and incorporated product integration. “I always used to tell Don that he created the genre of reality TV,” says Gibbs. “It was unscripted, it didn’t cost very much to produce and you had product placement within the show with Ultra Sheen and Afro sheen. It was an innovative and genius integration of targeted brands in entertainment.”

BROADCASTING BOUNDARIES

In 1970, Cornelius created Soul Train and generated local success in Chicago on WCIU.…

(Image: Getty)