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Ken Smikle

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Information about Ken Smikle

Profile image of Ken Smikle

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Marketing Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Salmon, Pasta
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana, Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
It Is Your World. I'm Just Waiting For Instructions.

Birthplace

Born:
1/3/1952
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Marketing Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Salmon, Pasta
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana, Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
It Is Your World. I'm Just Waiting For Instructions.

Birthplace

Born:
1/3/1952
Birth Location:
New York
See how Ken Smikle is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Publisher and entrepreneur Kenneth Albert Smikle was born on January 3, 1952, in Harlem, New York, to Mary Alice Dobbins Smikle and Dr. Kenneth Raymond Smikle, a college dean. Smikle attended Harlem’s P.S. 123 (Mahalia Jackson School), R.A. Vanwyck Junior High School, and graduated from Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bay Side, Queens, in 1970. Smikle, who played jazz trombone and wanted to arrange music, attended Queensborough Community College, CUNY’s York College, and Queens College where he took radio and television classes and edited the Black Eyed Journal.

In 1974, Smikle, his brother, Dawoud Bey, and Gerald Gladney started Spirit magazine, and in 1975, they started an arts publication called Easy, which ran until 1978. Smikle joined Harlem’s Amsterdam News as arts editor from 1978 to 1980. In 1983, Smikle wrote for Essence magazine and The National Leader, and in 1984, he joined Black Enterprise serving as senior editor. Moving to Chicago, Smikle founded Target Market News in 1988 where he was editor and publisher. Target Market News is considered one of the leading authorities on marketing, advertising and media directed to the African American market. Smikle appeared on CNN, CNBC, CBS News, NBC's Today Show, ABC's World News Tonight, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Marketplace and numerous other television and radio programs. Smikle was frequently quoted in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Advertising Age, Publishers Weekly and other leading periodicals. In 1991, Smikle co-founded the African American Marketing and Media Association. Smikle was also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

As a speaker, Smikle addressed the Democratic Caucus Conference of the U.S. House of Representatives; employees of Nike, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Oats; and organizations like the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Greater Miami Advertising Federation, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the National Alliance of Market Developers, the United Way and the American Booksellers Association.

At the time of his HistoryMakers interview, Smikle lived in Chicago with his wife, Renee Ferguson, an investigative reporter at WMAQ-TV, and son, Jason.

Ken Smikle passed away on September 12, 2018.

Smikle was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 15, 2006.

See how Ken Smikle is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ken Smikle's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle talks about his maternal family's oral traditions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle describes his mother's community in West Point, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle recalls his mother's stories about her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle talks about his maternal family's migration from West Point, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle describes his parents' relationship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ken Smikle remembers his mother's commitment to parenthood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle talks about his paternal family's roots in Jamaica and West Africa
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle describes his paternal family's move to New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle describes his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle recalls his father's dreams and aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ken Smilke recalls moving with his family to Queens, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ken Smilke describes the origin of his childhood nickname
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle describes the tradition of nicknames in his family
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle talks about his family's cars
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle remembers the residents of the Baisley Pond Park neighborhood of Queens, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle describes Calvary Baptist Church in Jamaica, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle remembers his favorite television shows
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle recalls attending P.S. 123 in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle talks about school integration in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle describes his favorite subjects and teachers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle describes his father's experience with racism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle remembers the assassinations of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle talks about comedy styles of Bill Cosby and Redd Foxx
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle remembers famous residents of Queens, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle describes his favorite jazz musicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle lists the music and reading material in his childhood home
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle recalls early interest in journalism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle talks about his social activities at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle remembers the student activism at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle recalls lessons from the activists at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle describes his high school graduation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle recalls his transfer from York College to Queen College in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle remembers studying journalism at Queens College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle talks about the founding of Spirit magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle talks about the transition to Easy magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle remembers joining the staff of the Amsterdam News
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle talks about the history of the Amsterdam News
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle describes the operations of the Amsterdam News
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle describes his experiences on the staff of the Amsterdam News
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle remembers the influence of the Black Arts Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle reflects upon the legacy of Easy magazine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle talks about how he came to join the staff of Black Enterprise, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle describes the mentorship of Terrie Williams
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle recalls following Terrie Williams to Essence magazine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ken Smikle talks about how he came to join the staff of Black Enterprise, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle recalls his start at Black Enterprise
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle remembers writing for Black Enterprise
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle recalls the need for a trade publication about the black media industry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle talks about the founding of Target Market News
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle recalls the need for African American market research
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle describes the growth of Target Market News
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle talks about the digital divide in the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle talks about the Target Market News journal
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle describes the importance of consumer responsibility
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle talks about his role in professional organizations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle talks about the importance of black professional organizations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ken Smikle describes his consumer research publications
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ken Smikle talks about the contributors to the Black Issues Book Review
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ken Smikle describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Ken Smikle describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ken Smikle reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Ken Smikle reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Ken Smikle talks about his family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Ken Smikle narrates his photographs