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Clayton Banks

Media executive Clayton Banks attended California State University at Fullerton from 1980 to 1985, and graduated with his B.A. degree in speech communications and business administration. In 2000, with a scholarship from the National Cable & Telecommunication Association (NCTA) & the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC), Banks completed the Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School.

From 1994 to 1997, Banks served as the senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sega Channel. In 1997, he joined Comedy Central as the vice president of affiliate relations. While at Comedy Central, he was part of the launch of “South Park,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and “The Upright Citizens Brigade.” In 1998, Banks became the regional director at Showtime Networks, and later in that year he founded Ember Media Corporation, where he has produced multimedia and broadband content for Discovery Networks, HBO, Pepsi Corp., Bloomberg TV and Showtime Networks. Between 2011 and 2013, Banks developed the “More Than A Mapp” mobile application and website that features over three-hundred African American landmarks and points of interests. He has implemented multi-platform strategies for the Essence Music Festival, MTV, ESPN, New York Institute of Technology and other top brands.

Banks was elected president of NAMIC from 1996 to 1998, where he championed programs such as the Patrick Mellon Mentoring Program and the NAMIC Chapter Leadership Forum. Banks served as a member of the board of directors for the Armory Track and Field Foundation, a board member for the Academy of Innovative Technology High School and is an active participant in the “Principal for a Day” program in New York City.

Clayton Banks was interviewed by The HistortyMakers on January 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2014.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/14/2014

Last Name

Banks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

California State University, Fullerton

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Clayton

Birth City, State, Country

San Diego

HM ID

BAN05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

Education Is The Key To Open The Golden Doors Of Freedom.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/5/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Media executive Clayton Banks (1960 - ) founded Ember Media Corp. in 1998 and served as president of NAMIC from 1996 to 1998, where he lobbied for minority-owned business incentives and increasing the number of minorities in the cable television business.

Employment

Ember Media

Comedy Central

Sega Channel

Showtime Networks

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:23316,455:23726,461:26596,517:27088,524:35288,670:35780,682:49142,866:50451,885:64813,1066:67684,1108:78670,1216:79270,1223:87070,1343:88970,1370:89370,1376:89770,1381:102096,1492:102624,1503:104032,1527:104472,1533:106320,1560:108520,1594:118364,1788:118938,1796:122876,1834:123172,1839:123912,1850:124578,1867:124874,1872:130868,2034:142530,2201:143090,2211:143440,2217:146240,2289:146590,2295:148200,2329:148550,2335:155180,2389$0,0:4549,209:5935,234:7398,264:10093,308:14328,365:15483,374:16330,386:20150,400:20924,409:21268,414:21956,423:22730,434:23074,439:26858,494:32362,578:40575,647:59320,903:60032,921:60744,931:65100,945:65485,973:69874,1033:70413,1054:72184,1090:72646,1097:73647,1116:74109,1124:76804,1190:77574,1201:83225,1220:84028,1238:85196,1262:85707,1270:86948,1294:87459,1302:88262,1315:90233,1366:91328,1385:93299,1428:93664,1434:94248,1443:94905,1454:97825,1517:99650,1548:100599,1568:111450,1691:113940,1754:114438,1762:114853,1768:116845,1820:117343,1827:149530,2288:150322,2300:155866,2373:156218,2378:156922,2392:157274,2404:158154,2416:158682,2430:170278,2577:175532,2701:176864,2725:177160,2730:177456,2735:179158,2768:179528,2773:181304,2822:181674,2828:187150,2949:197452,3078:197848,3086:198706,3103:199102,3110:200554,3146:200818,3151:201544,3168:202138,3178:208210,3328:208738,3398:219746,3527:221190,3559:221798,3569:222330,3582:222862,3591:226660,3607:227986,3639:234382,3780:236644,3814:237424,3838:242182,3914:243976,3950:244366,3961:253360,4033
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks narrates his photographs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Clayton Banks' interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his father's childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about his mother's family background and her personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, California

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks describes his personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks about his family's cross-country road trip in 1972

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Clayton Banks talks about a family road trip to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Clayton Banks talks about his brother's career as a triple jumper

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Clayton Banks talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Clayton Banks talks about playing sports with his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Clayton Banks describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Clayton Banks describes his childhood neighborhood in Oceanside, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about his schooling and the student body demographic at Oceanside High School in Oceanside, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks talks about his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his disinterest in the U.S. Military

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about his decision to attend California State University-Fullerton in Fullerton, California and race relations on the campus

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks talks about majoring in communications at California State University-Fullerton in Fullerton, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks describes his experience as an undergraduate student at California State University-Fullerton

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks talks about his first job after college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks describes working as a sales associate for Xerox

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks describes working at Showtime Networks

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks about mergers in the cable industry

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clayton Banks talks about the campaign to launch The Movie Channel

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clayton Banks talks about the revenue and pricing models for cable during the early 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Clayton Banks talks about the competition between HBO and Showtime

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about Showtime executive Dennis Johnson and how a NAMIC connection led him to work at Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks describes the history of NAMIC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his relationship with NAMIC members Don Anderson and HistoryMaker Douglas Holloway

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about his tenure as president of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Cable

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks talks about the value NAMIC provides for its members and corporations

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks talks about NAMIC's funding

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks talks about the significance of the Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks talks about the cost and pricing model for Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks describes the Sega Channel's target audience and subscription base

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks briefly about his relationship with cable industry veteran Jamie Howard

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about joining Comedy Central in 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks talks about the impact of 'South Park' on Comedy Central

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks describes meeting HistoryMaker Isaac Hayes, the voice of "Chef" on 'South Park'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about leaving Comedy Central and starting Ember Media

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks describes working with DigiCard technology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks talks about potential in digital media development

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks talks about the evolution of Ember Media into a full-service digital strategy firm

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks predicts changes cable companies will have to make to remain competitors in the future

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks talks about data-driven television programming

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks about the current state of African Americans in the telecommunications industry

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Clayton Banks reflects over his twenty-five year career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks considers what he would do differently in his career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his personal and professional role models and mentors

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Clayton Banks talks about Showtime executive Dennis Johnson and how a NAMIC connection led him to work at Sega Channel
Clayton Banks describes the history of NAMIC
Transcript
--He [Dennis Johnson] ultimately became president of NAMIC [National Association of Minorities in Cable, later National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications] in '94 [1994], and then I became president of NAMIC in '96 [1996].$$Okay.$$(Simultaneous)--(Inaudible response).$$So you were talking about Dennis Johnson, okay.$$Okay. So NAMIC has played a tremendous role in my career. When I joined Showtime in '88 [1988], '89 [1989], one of the first people I met at Showtime was a gentleman by the name of Dennis Johnson, and Dennis Johnson was essentially the highest-ranking African American at Showtime at that time, and was head of programming, you know, part of the programming team. He had a long, distinguished career even before he joined Showtime, and he had worked on the 'Tonight Show' and all types of other activities. So he was a, a, a, a smart, capable guy that took me under his wing, and he was one of the people that introduced me to NAMIC, National Association of Multi-Ethnicity In Cable. And he encouraged me in my career, and was vital to me moving from California to New York; he was a well-respected man. Unfortunately, he just passed December 23rdrd in 2013, and--but, but he became president of NAMIC National in the mid-'90s [1990s], and I ultimately joined his board. Once I, you know, moved to New York and got involved, you know, even deeper, I joined his board and then I became the national president in 1996. So NAMIC has played an essential role in my career because I've met great people in, in my tenure as president. I was speaking at Penn State [Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania] to a group around a NAMIC event, and I met a gentleman on the panel named Bob Gerrard [Robert J. Gerrard, Jr.] and Bob Gerard, general counsel of HBO [Home Box Office], had been partnering with a guy named Stan Thomas [Stanley B. Thomas, Jr.], who was starting a network called Sega Channel, and Bob and I hit it off at Penn State and he said, "You oughta talk to us about joining us for Sega Channel." And at that time, I thought I'd never leave Showtime, but the opportunity to work for an African American chairperson, and I saw--I was already a video game nut, so the idea of bein' able to merge all that together was, was quite attractive, and I actually left a great career at Showtime for a start-up called Sega Channel.$Now I wanna, I wanna take you back a little bit just to talk about NAMIC [National Association of Minorities in Cable, later National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications] and what it is, and the history of it, you know, which you would have a lot of information and, you know, the founders and that type of thing.$$Well NAMIC was founded in 1980 by a group of young cable professionals that saw this industry becoming a very large industry, and the opportunities were limited for minorities, so it--typically in that case, you wanna formulate, you know, sort of a trade association, which NAMIC became, to encourage diversity in the industry. And a lotta great--one of the great founders is a guy named [L.] Patrick Mellon, who passed away, but he was an executive at TeleCable, and he became a mentor for many of us that, that came behind him, but he saw a vision, along with, you know, some of the other founders, that we could make a difference, and that difference is diversity, and we're seeing, you know, people like [Robert L.] Bob Johnson and, and [HM] Debra Lee and others that are, are, are able to succeed as a result of some of the efforts that NAMIC has put in, everything from doing studies around, you know, minority penetration in various places to being able to provide training for executives on, on, on how to, you know, how to run organizations, and things of that nature. We have--NAMIC has great programs across the board from all types of people. Now one of the things that we find is that a majority of the people of color are working in lower-end jobs, so we have to--we have to train those people to become mid-managers, and those people to become managers, and those people to become presidents. And so NAMIC plays a vital role in all of that.$$So who were some of the early people that you met, you know, in the industry, you know--you mentioned, and where are they located?$$Well, I first joined NAMIC in California, and so again, Dennis Johnson was a key person. We had a sort of an executive director that worked out of California, and her name was Reesa Booker [ph.]; she's still around, but Reesa Booker took me under her wing as well, and saw me as a, you know, an up-and-comer, and so she really helped me to, to see the potential in myself, but also in, in my leadership at NAMIC. Joe Lawson was another sort of good role model; he had been in the industry as well, and was working on the MSO [multiple-systems operator] side, and so when we put the Southern California Chapter together, we were all part of that. Kathy Johnson, who ended up running--bein' the president of NAMIC as well, all of us did--become president of NAMIC (laughter) at some point, but she was also very influential. She was working at Time Warner and I was her rep [representative], so we would always talk about NAMIC. And so in Southern California, these people were the--were shaping me, you know, helping me to understand how important it was to be involved in NAMIC and how important NAMIC, you know, what role that NAMIC would play in my career, which it did. I always tell the story that NAMIC made me a vice president before corporate America did. NAMIC made me a president before corporate America did, and yet I had the same sort of duties, as a vice president or a president, as I would in corporate America, so I always tell people, you know, "Don't underestimate what you can do in an organization." So these people were important in shaping who I was, and when I moved to New York [New York], then I met the whole New York sort of style of leadership, and people like Eric Lilly, who had become the president of NAMIC, New York, and this is when the, the great, you know, Nate Garner and [HM Douglas] Doug Holloway took me under their wing; they were both at USA networks and, you know, veterans of NAMIC, founders of NAMIC, so they were key in my development as well, and encouraged me to join the board, and ultimately I was one of the youngest presidents in the history of NAMIC.

Drew Berry

Media executive and consultant Drew Berry was born on December 22, 1955 in Henderson, Texas. He grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with his B.S. degree in radio, television and film in 1978.

Upon graduation, Berry was hired at WVUE-TV Austin, Texas, an ABC Affiliate. He was then hired by two more ABC-TV affiliates in both San Antonio, Texas and then New Orleans, Louisiana before joining CNN in its infancy. After a short stint at CNN, in 1980 he was lured to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to produce two of its number-one rated newscasts. In 1987, he was promoted within the same company to producer and then executive producer at WABC-TV in New York City.

Berry took an opportunity to return to Philadelphia in 1990 in management for WCAU-TV, a CBS television station. After a few months as assistant news director he was promoted to run the entire news department as news director, where he earned two Emmys for “Outstanding Newscasts” from the Mid-Atlantic National Association for Television Arts and Sciences and where his team elevated the station’s newscast to a solid number two in ratings. In 1994, Berry returned to Dallas, Texas, where he became assistant news director at WFAA-TV, the top-rated station in Dallas. It was there that Berry led a thirty-two-person remote on-site team covering the bombing in Oklahoma City of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

In 1997, Berry was hired as station manager and news director of WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. Berry was named vice president and general manager in 2000. In 2007, he left the station to teach media management at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication at Hampton University, and also became founding president and CEO of Drew Berry & Associates, LLC, a media and consulting agency.

Berry is an active community leader. He has held positions on many business and community service boards and committees including the Comcast/NBC Diversity Council, Scripps Howard Foundation, Greater Baltimore Committee, the Maryland Business Council, the Signal 13 Foundation, Associated Black Charities, the Maryland Humanities Council, the Enoch Pratt Library System, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, the Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Heath. As a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Berry has served on the finance committee, as consultant, and as interim executive director in 2009, and is credited with a one-million dollar positive revenue turnaround for NABJ in just nine months.

Berry was recognized with the State of Maryland Governor’s Citation in 2002 for excellence in broadcasting, and the Congressional Achievement Award in 2004 for business achievement. He received the President’s Award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2009 and 2010.

Berry is married to Brenda Fowler-Berry, a chemical engineer. They have three children: Andrea, Adam and Andrew.

Drew Berry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 4, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.312

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/4/2013 |and| 3/22/2014

Last Name

Berry

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

University of Texas at Austin

South Oak Cliff H S

Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Drew

Birth City, State, Country

Henderson

HM ID

BER03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Challenges are opportunities in disguise

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

12/22/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Media executive Drew Berry (1955 - ) served as vice president and general manager at WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, and as professor of media management at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication at Hampton University.

Employment

Drew Berry & Associates, LLC

WMAR TV

WFAA TV

WCAU TV

WABC TV New York City

WPIX TV

KVUE

CNN

WPVI-TV

KSAT-TV (ABC)

WVUE-TV

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:964,17:1503,25:6650,63:7070,90:7350,155:7910,166:8960,185:9380,193:14385,260:14896,269:15407,309:15699,314:15991,319:21325,392:39620,627:40270,640:41570,664:42285,677:44235,714:47160,775:53810,901:54449,912:54875,920:59703,1039:60555,1057:60839,1062:65100,1085:65841,1119:66183,1126:66696,1136:66924,1141:68926,1152:69414,1157:87872,1464:88862,1485:95670,1572:97305,1590:101282,1639:106997,1705:114104,1789:137818,2140:143815,2194:147048,2246:149830,2289:151405,2310:153610,2339:160049,2412:160901,2427:162392,2469:174040,2636:181790,2761:191406,2906:204642,3065:220343,3316:222870,3345:223126,3350:223702,3361:224854,3388:225494,3400:226006,3410:228502,3459:228950,3469:230038,3498:230486,3506:230742,3511:230998,3516:231382,3523:237605,3608:238269,3618:241390,3635:242020,3644:242740,3653:253490,3815:257372,3836:263908,3911:267700,3946:268020,3951:270900,4004:271380,4012:272340,4026:279910,4112:280235,4118:281470,4144:283030,4169:283420,4176:288646,4249:289041,4261:292675,4330:293860,4348:294255,4355:294729,4365:298540,4372:301312,4379:302992,4434:303664,4445:306270,4463:310768,4520:311188,4527:311608,4533:312990,4544$0,0:305,9:6832,84:10650,90:10918,102:11789,113:12124,119:12928,135:13531,146:15967,157:16380,165:16793,174:23668,243:25472,276:32227,375:33211,384:38520,445:38845,452:40275,502:40665,509:45698,582:48128,606:49386,632:49682,637:55737,739:56318,748:60902,774:61676,786:63310,820:80890,1066:82155,1084:93890,1173:95098,1178:96004,1185:102652,1216:103516,1231:104092,1241:116562,1367:118382,1384:118722,1395:118994,1400:119402,1407:119674,1412:120014,1418:124086,1465:124974,1488:125492,1497:125862,1503:130450,1617:137189,1691:137497,1696:137959,1703:143788,1760:144446,1768:152812,1884:157115,1914:159440,1958:165774,2064:177817,2242:186555,2389:189830,2415:192121,2458:195100,2491:195632,2501:196544,2523:197304,2535:199660,2584:213844,2801:217720,2904:217992,2909:218264,2914:219352,2938:219964,2952:228654,3021:234047,3090:236049,3121:239240,3137:240410,3159:244798,3169:245094,3174:246352,3197:246944,3206:249756,3270:250200,3277:250496,3282:250940,3289:251976,3309:253900,3390:255454,3444:260782,3563:266100,3579:266700,3590:269310,3604:276683,3725:280990,3844:283837,3888:285443,3917:285954,3926:295195,4062:295975,4077:296560,4089:296885,4095:297340,4104:297600,4116:298185,4132:298965,4149:299225,4154:302375,4170:302830,4180:303090,4185:303415,4191:306015,4234:307230,4244
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Drew Berry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Drew Berry lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Drew Berry talks about his maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Drew Berry talks about segregation in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Drew Berry describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Drew Berry talks about growing up in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Drew Berry talks about his paternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Drew Berry talks about his grandfather, Calvin Charles Berry, Sr., the Presiding Bishop of Church of the Living God

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Drew Berry talks about his father's family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Drew Berry talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Drew Berry describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Drew Berry talks about his father's military service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Drew Berry describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Drew Berry talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Drew Berry talks about growing up in Oak Cliff, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Drew Berry describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Drew Berry remembers growing up as the son of a minister

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Drew Berry talks about his love of the Dallas Cowboys as well as the game of football

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Drew Berry talks about grade school and his memory of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Drew Berry describes how television news reporting changed after John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Drew Berry talks about how he was raised affects his parenting philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Drew Berry talks about his experiences in school and an influential mentor

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Drew Berry describes his interest in films and filmmaking

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Drew Berry talks about Iola Johnson, the first African American female anchor in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Drew Berry talks about the effects of the 1973 oil crisis

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Drew Berry talks about U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and other notable Texan politicians

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Drew Berry talks about his father's conservative attitude toward the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Drew Berry talks about his decision to attend the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Drew Berry talks about the academic challenges he faced at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Drew Berry talks about working to finance his undergraduate education and working as a reporter/trainee at KVUE, an ABC-TV affiliate

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Drew Berry talks about the training he received at KVUE as a reporter/trainee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Drew Berry talks about working as a producer at KVUE in Austin, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Drew Berry talks about learning production at KVUE in Austin, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Drew Berry talks about his decision to go to KSAT-TV in San Antonio, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Drew Berry describes being recruited by WVUE in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Drew Berry talks about learning a critical lesson in management while at WVUE in New Orleans, Louisiana, part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Drew Berry talks about learning a critical lesson in management while at WVUE in New Orleans, Louisiana, part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Drew Berry talks about turning down a job offer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to work at CNN in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Drew Berry talks about working at CNN in Atlanta, Georgia in the early years of cable TV

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Drew Berry describes his decision to join WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Drew Berry remembers working with anchor Jim Gardner of WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Drew Berry talks about being promoted to work as a producer at WABC-TV in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Drew Berry talks about what he learned at WABC-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Drew Berry describes his working at ABC when union cuts affected the employee workforce and the newsroom

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Drew Martin talks about being promoted to news director and winning two Emmy Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Drew Berry describes the network's strategy around sweeps programming

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Drew Berry talks about how sweeps can result in improved news coverage

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Drew Berry describes the Nielsen Rating System and consumer sampling

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Drew Berry talks about the Emmy Awards he received at WCAU-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Drew Berry talks about WCAU-TV's consumer investigative reporting unit

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Drew Berry talks about the ingredients of WCAU-TV's success

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Drew Berry talks about the MOVE organization and the mistake made in coverage by WCAU-TV's Action News

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Drew Berry describes his working at ABC when union cuts affected the employee workforce and the newsroom
Drew Berry talks about WCAU-TV's consumer investigative reporting unit
Transcript
Okay, so we were talking about the producer's nightmare in New York [City, New York]. So they [unionized employees at WABC-TV in New York City, New York] knew I was from the non-union shop in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and I was this new guy comin' in there from the company [Capital Cities Communications] that just bought ABC [American Broadcasting Corporation]; they weren't crazy about that, so they wanted me to know--you're really in the big leagues now; you're in New York. So--ahh, 6:00 news, number one show in the market, so I--you know, I was a producer, I'm feelin' pretty good, I know there are check points, I check to see whether or not my video packages are ready for the top of show or for the first segment of the show, make sure the video is there, and that type of thing. So I would go back to the coordinator and I'd say, "How are we?" He says, "Well," he says, "Everybody's working as hard as they can; my folk work as hard as they can, and it's gonna be tight but, you know, I'm not making any promises, but we should be okay." I've heard that--I've heard that before, but something felt a little different this time, so I kept asking, you know--an hour before, half-hour before, 20 minutes before, 15 minutes, and--"Well, don't have anything, don't have anything yet; don't have the video yet, you know? They're really humpin' it. It was a lotta volume today but we're workin' as fast as we can." Five minutes--"Ahh, it's gonna be tight, it's gonna be tight." Before the open of the show, I go up in the booth, the open hits, "What do we have?" "We don't have anything; we don't have any video, we don't have anything." I say, "Okay." So I get on the little toggle to talk to the anchor in the ear--in his ear while the show opens. "Bill [Beutel], we have no video, no package for the top of the show; we just need to tell folk; tell 'em what the story is about and tell 'em we'll be back in a minute 'cause we need to buy some time." Sabotage is what they did. So the show opened, and the anchor came on and said, "Hello, I'm Bill Beutel on this"--whatever--"Monday blah, blah, blah. Our top story today is X, Y and Z; we'll have more on that story in just a minute--we'll be back in a minute." Went to commercial. That's a producer's nightmare because you're going back to commercial within 30 seconds of opening that show, so the whole half-hour of that show was me back and forth with the video people saying, "What do we have?" And just puttin' in; as we got it, we just--we put it in. After the show, of course I was livid; I knew it was sabotage, I knew what was goin' on. I marched back to the news director's office, I said, "You know what happened;" he says, "They got you." He said, "They got you; I'll handle it." Brought the folk in, guy said, "Well, you know what? Things got in late today, we were doing the best we could," you know, and "My guys work hard"--that kinda thing. And leavin' out, his back to the news director, he looked at me and went (INTERVIEWEE WINKED) (laughter). So that was my, that was--okay, you gotta play ball with this guy, okay?$$So what weren't you doing with him that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--It's about establishing a rapport, but it was more than just establishing a rapport immediately; it was more the anger that they--they did not want this company to take over ABC because this company was known for doing things a very efficient way, and they knew cuts were coming and I represented the company that they didn't like, so it was an instantly--you don't want him here, so much so they brought other people in there. They put feces in people's locker who had came up; it was--they got really nasty, okay? The best thing to happen to me is that--it was around the political election; we went with--the top union guy and I were assigned with another anchor to go around the country during this election cycle; we bonded. I never had any more problems. In fact, even on the trip, the guy let me pick up equipment and help out. It was a bond. They had made their statement. Now, they had anger toward other people who were coming up from that--from that new parent company, and they didn't let up on those folk at all. But they cut me a break; they found out I was a pretty good guy, that kinda thing, and so I had no problems. But it took a couple of months before that. So it was a tough environment but it was just a great news town, and after a year, they promoted me to executive producer, and it was just a great experience.$We had a fantastic investigative unit--consumer investigative unit--and speaking of that, some of the things you don't hear that go on behind the scenes, in dealing with the sales department--this is when I really learned about sales and news relationship. Now remember, the salespeople, they go out and they get the money so you can keep the lights on; the news department produces content so that they can sell it, that type of thing. Well, when I first arrived in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] that second time, there were some big car dealers that were really pissed off at the station [WCAU-TV]. Now keep in mind, probably at that time, 40 percent of the revenue might have come from car dealers. So the car dealers, some of the car dealers, said they would never buy time on the station again because they didn't like a report that the consumer investigator did. Now this goes on; you're not gonna hear a lot about this. People don't--people kinda hush, hush; they won't say a lot. Well, I'm like--I wanna uncover all wrongdoing whether, you know, whether it's people doing unnecessary repairs, blah, blah, blah, whatever--that kinda thing. Well, we were banned from having this reporter do those type of stories at the major car dealers. The choice--you have two choices; you eat or you don't eat if you're gonna work there. You work there or you don't work there--very clear. We were banned from doing that. Now, I'd argued a good fight and all of that, and the argument from the other side is that, well, you know, you wanna keep other people employed, blah, blah, blah. Now, this goes on in every station; nobody will admit it. They're just not gonna admit it. But you will notice that you're not generally going to see many stories on a station going in uncovering repairs, you know--unneeded repairs and things like that, anti-car dealership story unless--two reasons you'll see it; if the state agency or federal agency comes in and says, "We're investigating you for whatever." You're gonna see it then, okay?$$But none initiated by the station?$$But they're not gonna be--usually, they're not gonna be initiated by the station, okay? And it's a kind of an unspoken thing, and people will deny it; they'll deny it because that speaks right at that whole credibility issue--wait a minute now. But what you will do is you may see some of the smaller mom and pop stories, but not the huge people who advertise a lot of money on the station; you'll occasionally see that, but most of the time it's because the state or the feds have come in and they're doing some kind of investigation, okay?$$So if you're a bad plumber, it's okay to get (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Well, bad plumber--they're gonna be all--you're gonna get them. But a big plumbing agency, you'll get them too, but I'm talking about car dealerships.$$Car dealerships.$$Forty percent of your revenue; and they have associations and all of that. So you have to be smart about how you do those stories. If the feds or the state get involved, hey, no problem. You initiate and try to do your sting and all that--at the big places, you are playing with a lot of fire, and it's unfortunate.$$Is there pressure from government? I mean, for instance, city government, around things like police brutality and other things. Are they (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Oh, they don't advertise, so that does--that has no impact--just I'm talking about this one category, and that's automobiles, okay?$$Okay, cars; alright.$$That's the category 'cause it's--many times, a life blood of a television station, of a newspaper, okay; but especially TV--40 percent, up to 40 percent of your revenue. They shut down, you lay off, you lose jobs. It's, it's real tough.$$Okay. The car dealerships is something like a common denominator across the board that people--$$Pretty much so, but stations have tried to kinda get away from being so dependent on car dealership--car dealer advertising. They're trying to diversify their portfolio more so they won't have those type of pressures; but that was my first taste of that in the industry, and I thought that was just awful. So, you know, you find other ways to do it and to get the story to help consumers.

Andrea Meigs

Talent agent Andrea Nelson Meigs was born on October 30, 1968 in Bellflower, California. Her father, David Nelson Jr., was a principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District; her mother, Dorothy Nelson, a college professor. Meigs spent her early childhood in the Compton area of Los Angeles and attended a private Christian school before entering the public school system in the fifth grade. After graduating from high school in in Palos Verdes, Meigs enrolled in Tufts University and graduated with her B.A. degree in English and Spanish in 1990. While there, she studied at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia as well as the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Madrid, Spain. Meigs went on to earn her J.D. degree in entertainment law from the Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina in 1994.

In 1994, Meigs was hired to work with Congresswoman Maxine Waters in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Meigs joined Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1996 as a mailroom clerk where she was promoted to motion picture talent agent. She was then hired as a talent agent at International Creative Management (ICM). Throughout her career, Meigs has worked with major talent in the music, television and film industries including Christina Applegate, Halle Berry, Ellen Burstyn, Beyoncé Knowles, and John Voight, Mark Salling, Cristina Saralegui, and the multi-talented power couple Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.

Meigs is a member of the State of California Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. In 2003, she served on the steering committee for the American Black Film Festival. In addition, Black Enterprise magazine recognized Meigs by including her in the 2003 “Hot List” and the 2004 “Brightest under 40” list. She also appeared in Honey magazine as one of the “25 Hottest Women in Entertainment.”

Meigs is married to John V. Meigs, Jr., a partner at the entertainment law firm Home Page for the law firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman, LLP. They have four daughters: Avery N. Meigs; the late Alexandra N. Meigs; and twins, Isabella Alexa and Calla Alexis Meigs.

Andrea Nelson Meigs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.301

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/18/2013

Last Name

Meigs

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Nelson

Occupation
Schools

Duke University

Tufts University

Brethren Christian School

Naples Elementary School

Malaga Cove Intermediate School

Palos Verdes High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Andrea

Birth City, State, Country

Bellflower

HM ID

MEI01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bora Bora

Favorite Quote

If Given A Lemon, Make Lemonade

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/30/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Media executive Andrea Meigs (1968 - ) was a high-profile talent agent at Creative Artists Agency and International Creative Management, where she represented stars like Idris Elba and Beyonce Knowles Carter.

Employment

ICM Partners

Creative Artists Agency

Los Angeles Unified School District

Los Angeles District Attorney

Office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters

KEET

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrea Meigs' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs describes her maternal grandmother's decision to leave the South

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andrea Meigs describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andrea Meigs describe her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Andrea Meigs talks about her father's reasons for leaving St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Andrea Meigs describes her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Andrea Meigs describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Andrea Meigs describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Andrea Meigs describes her homes in Compton, California

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Andrea Meigs describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Andrea Meigs talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Andrea Meigs talks about her father's support for his relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andrea Meigs describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs recalls her experiences as a child actor

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs recalls some of her acting work

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs talks about her decision to stop acting

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andrea Meigs remembers her parents' decision to leave Compton, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Andrea Meigs recalls an influential elementary school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Andrea Meigs remembers her aspirations during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Andrea Meigs describes her brother's secondary education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Andrea Meigs talks about her Spanish language studies

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Andrea Meigs describes her experiences at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andrea Meigs describes her mentors at Tufts University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs describes her mentors at Tufts University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs remembers her rejection from law school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs talks about returning to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andrea Meigs remembers the Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andrea Meigs recalls her graduation from the Duke University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Andrea Meigs remembers working for Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Andrea Meigs recalls her transition to the entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andrea Meigs describes the Creative Artists Agency's training program

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs describes the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs recalls what she learned in the mailroom of the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs remembers her promotion to assistant agent

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Andrea Meigs reflects upon her experiences as the only black woman at the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Andrea Meigs talks about the pay structure for talent agents

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Andrea Meigs talks about her mentors at the Creative Artists Agency, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Andrea Meigs talks about her mentors at the Creative Artists Agency, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Andrea Meigs describes her training at the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Andrea Meigs remembers her promotion to agent at Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Andrea Meigs remembers representing Cedric The Entertainer

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andrea Meigs talks about her clientele at the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs remembers representing the members of Destiny's Child

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs describes her experiences of pay discrimination at the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs recalls leaving the Creative Artists Agency for ICM Partners

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andrea Meigs reflects upon her departure from the Creative Artists Agency

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Andrea Meigs recalls moving her clientele to ICM Partners

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Andrea Meigs talks about her new clients at ICM Partners

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Andrea Meigs describes her work with Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andrea Meigs talks about her clientele at ICM Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs talks about the process of identifying talent

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs lists the African American talent agents in Hollywood

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs talks about the experiences of minority talent agents

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Andrea Meigs describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Andrea Meigs reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Andrea Meigs reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Andrea Meigs describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Andrea Meigs talks about the challenges of balancing life and work

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Andrea Meigs remembers pledging to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Andrea Meigs describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Andrea Meigs narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Andrea Meigs narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Andrea Meigs talks about returning to Los Angeles, California
Andrea Meigs remembers representing the members of Destiny's Child
Transcript
(Simultaneous) Now is the Houston program [Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-Law Institute] at the Howard law school [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.], or at Georgetown [Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) It was at Georgetown. It was Georgetown.$$Okay, all right.$$Yeah, and so I took that for the summer. And at the conclusion of it, which was extremely helpful and enlightening, I was not lifted off the waitlist; I was not taken off the waitlist at Georgetown. And so I stayed, trying to find a job on Capitol Hill [Washington, D.C.], and also considering reapplying to the school. And about, I don't know, September-ish, I got a phone call from my dad [David Nelson, Jr.] who said that the money was not going to be coming in the mail for my rent. And without a job and without being in school, there was one thing left for me to do, and that was to come back home. And I was shocked, because I was like, "What do you mean, you're not going to send money?" Like, I had no concept of what that meant. Like, "You're not going to send money? Well, how am I going to live?" And of course, that was his point, exactly. And he did not send a check. So, (laughter) I had to pack up and come home. And so what I did is, I applied for a job when I got home to L.A. [Los Angeles, California], and I got a job working at Channel 13, which was KCOP [KCOP-TV, Los Angeles, California] at the time. And I, my job was working as a production assistant for two programs. One was, I think it 'L.A. Now.' No, it was called 'Children Now.' It was a children's advocacy program that was nominated for an Emmy [Emmy Award], and it was in conjunction with L.A. Unified [Los Angeles Unified School District]. So it was kind of, actually to be honest it was the perfect job for me because it was entertainment, and yet educational. It was, we would have a different school come to the set every week. So, there would be anywhere from, you know, forty to fifty kids bused to the set; they would fill the audience. And I was in charge of coming up with guest speakers and presentations for them. So, we would have somebody come from the zoo and talk about, you know, caring for animals. Or we might have somebody come from a museum to talk about being a curator. And it was, it was a lot of fun. I'd have to keep the audience going and keep the kids engaged and excited, and interview the hosts. And there was another program that I worked on called 'L.A. Today,' I believe it was called something like that. And that was just a current events show about what was going on in Los Angeles.$$Okay.$$So I did that for a year. And when I was at KCOP I quickly looked around and realized that everybody that seemed to be really influential and really making--being in a position of influence and decision making--they were people who had either gone to law school or they were people who had gone to business school. And at that time I realized I, I need to go back to school. It's time for me to go back to school. So I reapplied, and that's when I got into Duke [Duke University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina].$Before we go there, it seems like an odd time to break this flow up. But--$$Yeah.$$--did you represent Beyonce [Beyonce Knowles Carter] and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--Halle Berry at CAA [Creative Artists Agency]?$$Yes.$$Okay. That one, I think we should talk--talk about first before we--$$Okay, sure.$$--move on.$$Sure, sure, sure.$$But--$$Sure.$$--those were the two biggest stars in the African American community.$$Right. Yeah, well, at the time--again, I--Halle was a client, and I was asked to be part of her team. I didn't sign her, but I was asked to be part of her team. I was involved with--when she got Monster's, the--$$'Monster's Ball.'$$'Monster's Ball,' for which she went on to win an Academy Award [Oscar]. I remember that process very distinctly. And I remember, you know, the feedback when she was auditioning really for it. And clearly the feedback was there was no way she could play this role. She's much, much, too pretty and attractive and, you know, we're looking for somebody that, you know, can really, you know, play it raw and gritty and beat up, you know, average, which she is not. And she really, you know, would accept nothing but, "You've got the job." And they'd gone out to a few people who passed, and ultimately she got the job and it carried her to the Oscars. And I remember that night, you know, so many of my friends on the East Coast calling me and saying, "Congratulations! This is amazing. This is so--." And I remember calling home and my parents [Dorothy Clay Nelson and David Nelson, Jr.] said, "Oh, how was your day?" I said, "Fine." And they said, "Oh, so what did you do today?" I was like, "You know today is the Oscars right?" And they said, "Oh, is that today? Is that today?" I'm like, "My client was nominated and won an Academy Award." And they said, "Oh, that's wonderful, that's wonderful. Now, who is she again?" You know, like my parents, you know, are very simple people, very humble people. They were not caught up in the, you know, celebrity--star struck--of it all. You know, they may have known who Robert De Niro was, or is, but yeah, they did not know. But that was really, really exciting, being part of that. And you know, at the time also, you know, Destiny's Child was coming up, and they were a hot group. And you know, they were kind of just at the heels of Aaliyah, you know, the artist who ended up passing away. And I remember very distinctly meeting with my colleagues who were representing them on the music side. And they said, "Look, you know, at some point they're going to be interested in acting. Are you interested in handling them on the acting side?" I said, "Of course, sure." And I, I started, I sat down with them at the time with their manager, Mathew Knowles. And the plan was after Destiny's Child kind of finished that- their final, you know, their final album and they were going to embark upon solo careers, we were going to start with--we were going to--Michelle [Michelle Williams] was going to work on her gospel album and Kelly was going to--Kelly was going to start working on her acting, and Beyonce was going to work on her solo album as more of a, you know, R and B pop artist. And so, Kelly was the first one up for acting. As it turns out, you remember that song, 'Dilemma,' that she did with Nelly. It got leaked and it hit the airways, and it was the hottest thing. And so, it immediately propelled her. It's like, "Okay, well, you're going to be the first one that's out with your solo album." So, she ended up being the first out on the solo album. And so we kind of shifted gears and then we said, "Okay, well, Beyonce, we'll work on her, you know, right now for her acting." So, she ended up being the first one that we started working with on the acting side. And we got her the MTV movie, 'Carmen: A Hip Hopera,' which she did with Mos Def, and that was the first acting gig. I did her deal on her first major studio movie, 'Austin Powers Goldmember' ['Austin Powers in Goldmember'] for New Line [New Line Cinema]. And then, you know, we just kept building from there, you know. I put Kelly in, Kelly Rowland in a New Line movie, 'Freddy vs. Jason' which did extremely well. And then once Michelle's gospel album was underway, she started acting and we put her into theater. So she did 'Aida' on Broadway, and then went on to do 'The Color Purple,' and has gone on to several other productions, 'Chicago,' and 'Fela!' ['Fela!: A New Musical,' Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis] and so forth. But, yeah, with Beyonce we went on to do--after 'Austin Powers' we got a big deal to do a movie for Paramount [Paramount Pictures Corporation], 'The Fighting Temptations' which she did with Cuba Gooding [Cuba Gooding, Jr.]. And then 'Dreamgirls' came about, and that was, that was a highlight, definitely, that was definitely a highlight. She got nominated for a Golden Globe [Golden Globe Award] for both the song and for acting. And there was--you know, it was something that she was extremely proud of, and really, really dedicated herself to giving her best performance. She's such a committed and hardworking individual and, you know, all up to this point she had been focused on her music career, both as in the group and then, you know, subsequently with a solo career. And that was the first movie that she really carved out a significant amount of time and, you know, recorded the music and worked with the acting coach, and, and, and really dedicated herself to working on the movie.

Gayle Greer

Cable television executive Gayle Greer was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1942. After graduating from Tulsa City High School, Greer briefly attended Fisk University and Oklahoma State University before enrolling at the University of Houston. Greer graduated from the University of Houston with her B.A. degree in political science and sociology in 1966, and her M.A. degree in social work in 1968.

Upon graduation, Greer spent ten years working as a case manager, and briefly served as Director of the Fort Wayne, Indiana chapter of the National Urban League. Her career in cable television began when she was hired by American Television and Communications (now a division of Time Warner, Inc.). She held several executive positions during her twenty-year career there, including senior vice president of Time Warner Communications and group vice president of Time Warner Cable. In this capacity, Greer oversaw thirty-five cable systems with over thirty-five hundred customers in thirty-three states. She also managed the integration of telephony and cable operations in several cable divisions. Greer’s career in cable television and internet services made her one of the country’s most prominent business executives. After retiring from Time Warner Entertainment (then a division of AOL/Time Warner) in 1998, Greer went on to become co-founder of GS2.Net, a broadband services provider, and served as chairwoman until 2001. In 2005, Greer was appointed a member of the Board of Directors of ELEC Communications Corporations, and then became an independent director of Pervasip Corp.

Greer co-founded the National Association of Minorities in Cable and Telecommunications in 1980, and later served on the board of directors of ING North America Financial Services Company, eLEC Communications, Inc. and One World Theater in Austin. From 1990 until 1992, Greer served as chair of the Mile High United Way board of trustees, and chaired its allocations committee from 1988 to 1990. Greer is the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including Time Warner’s Andrew Heiskell Community Services Award, the National Cable Television Association’s Vanguard Award for Leadership, and the L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Award. For her achievements, Greer was featured in the Denver Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Telecommunications.”

Gayle Greer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.038

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/2/2013

Last Name

Greer

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Occupation
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

University of Houston

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gayle

Birth City, State, Country

Tulsa

HM ID

THO19

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico, Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

Keep Moving.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

3/11/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Cake, Pie

Short Description

Media executive Gayle Greer (1941 - ) , co-founder of the National Association of Minorities in Cable and Telecommunications, served as vice president of Time Warner Communications and group vice president of Time Warner Cable for over twenty years.

Employment

Various

American Television and Communications Corporation

Time Warner, Inc.

Public Service Company of Colorado

Fort Wayne Urban League

Houston Urban League

One America

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gayle Greer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer describes her career

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer describes her mother's disdain for the Chicago Defender

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer talks about her father's family background and upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer describes her family's experience with the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Riot

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer talks about the lack of historical record related to the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Riot of 1921

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gayle Greer talks about State Representative Don Ross' investigation of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Riot of 1921

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gayle Greer describes how her father and family friends navigated race in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Gayle Greer talks about Tulsa, Oklahoma's black business district

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gayle Greer describes her father's educational background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer recalls her father's role as a peacemaker in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer talks about her father's role in the church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer talks about her sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer describes her father's personality, and her likeness to him

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer shares memories of her childhood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer talks about divisons within her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer talks about being a troublemaker as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Gayle Greer talks about her experiences in school

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Gayle Greer describes the influence of popular culture on her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Gayle Greer remembers Tulsa, Oklahoma as an entertainment center

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Gayle Greer talks about school integration in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gayle Greer talks about the industries that fueled Tulsa's economy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer talks about her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer describes how she and her sisters dealt with being the daughters of a prominent school principal

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer talks about her father's multiple occupations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer talks about her family's high regard for higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer recalls visiting Denver, Colorado with her family as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer talks about the decline of Tulsa, Oklahoma's black community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer remembers her first visit to New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer talks about Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer recalls Civil Rights activists who attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Gayle Greer describes participating in the sit-in movement at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Gayle Greer remembers the Ku Klux Klan trespassing on Fisk University's grounds

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Gayle Greer talks about transferring from Fisk University to Oklahoma State University

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Gayle Greer talks about meeting her husband, Fritz Greer

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Gayle Greer talks about completing her college education

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Gayle Greer describes attending Texas Southern University and the University of Houston in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Gayle Greer talks about the impact of her college experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 18 - Gayle Greer talks about Charles Spurgeon Johnson, former President of Fisk University,

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gayle Greer compares her experiences at Oklahoma State University and Texas Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer talks about her husband, Fritz Greer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer describes how attending the University of Houston inspired her activism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer talks about working with Houston's Cuney Homes housing project during her M.S.W. program

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer talks about organizers who influenced her

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer talks about the power of organizing and impact of community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer talks about her experiences working for the Houston Urban League pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer talks about her experiences working for the Houston Urban League pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer talks about becoming Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Urban League

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer talks about fighting the closure of inner-city schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Gayle Greer talks about people who helped her fight the closure of inner-city schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Gayle Greer talks about being hired by the American Television and Communications Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gayle Greer describes being hired by the American Television and Communications Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer talks about the relationship between minorities and the cable television industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer talks about the early cable industry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer describes how her community organizaing skills benefitted her work in the cable industry

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer talks about her first cable franchising projects and cable franchisers

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer describes how well-known minorities shaped the cable industry

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer describes working on projects for the American Television and Communications Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio and New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer describes the American Television and Communications Corporation's innovative "institutional network" package

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer talks about the employment opportunities the cable industry offered to minority communities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer talks about the Walter Kaitz Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Gayle Greer talks about public access television

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gayle Greer talks about founding the National Association for Minorities in Cable and Telecommunications

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer talks about American Television and Communications' support of the National Association for Minorities in Cable and Telecommunications

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer compares the support and pushback she received from the National Association for Minorities in Cable and Telecommunications

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer reflects upon becoming Vice President of American Television and Communications Corporation's National Division

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer describes the impact of the Cable Communications Act of 1984

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer reflects upon the evolution of minorities in the cable television industry

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer reminisces about receiving the National Cable Television Association's Vanguard Award for Leadership

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer talks about major cable television mergers

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer talks about serving as Chairman of the Board for Mile High United Way in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer describes the ways in which she has worked to be an individual of influence

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gayle Greer talks about retiring from Time Warner Entertainment

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gayle Greer describes how the landscape of the cable industry has changed for young people

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gayle Greer talks about founding GS2.net and DonorNet with Steve Stokesberry

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gayle Greer talks about moving to Texas and her community involvement there

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gayle Greer talks about serving on the Board of Directors for eLEC Communications

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gayle Greer talks about the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gayle Greer shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Gayle Greer shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Gayle Greer describes how her volunteer work influences urban childhood education

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Gayle Greer voices her concerns about the charter school movement

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Gayle Greer reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Gayle Greer talks about her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Gayle Greer talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Gayle Greer talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Gayle Greer narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Gayle Greer talks about her experiences working for the Houston Urban League pt. 1
Gayle Greer describes how well-known minorities shaped the cable industry
Transcript
Now you were work--working for the Urban League?$$I was working for the Houston Urban League.$$Okay.$$And it was the beginning of cable franchising in the urban markets. I had not even heard of cable franchising. And my boss, a guy by the name of Larry Cager, who was executive director of the Urban League there in Houston [Texas] suggested that I go to this conference. And I went to the conference, and we came back and organized what was called at that time Media Action Teams all over the country. As a result of this training that we got from Charles Tate the group there to educate the black community about the franchising process. And when we got back--we knew nothing about cable franchising, but when we got back--'cause we were taught how to find out where your city is as it relates to franchising, whether the ordinance has been developed, where the procedure is on the city council calendar. We learned all that in this conference. And when we got back, we found out that the ordinance had been put together. There were a group of people headed by John Connelly (ph.) that were about to be given the franchise. It was a very powerful group of business people that were behind this and big law firms and etcetera. And we just got extremely active. We went on television; we started going into churches; we--we just educated the community and finally put enough pressure on the city council to open up the process. And that was the beginning of a very long process. But at least a handful of very rich and powerful people didn't walk off with a hundred year franchise, which was in the making practically.$Now, big picture--we mentioned him before we started doing anything, but how did Benjamin Hooks [HistoryMaker] play--well, what role did he play?$$Well he was an FCC [Federal Communications Commission] commissioner at the time and was really pushing for these franchising provisions that would include--he was probably the only commissioner, quite frankly, that I can remember that really was kind of pushing some of these provisions for institutional network and minority businesses--minority cable owners. You know, that, that was a big deal that he really worked on. That's when tapers (sp.) finally moved into, getting more minorities involved in, in the ownership of cable television. And, and, and during my time, you know, which is pre-Bob Johnson and BET [Black Entertainment Television], Bob was a part of the Trade Association when I joined the cable television industry. He was a staff person at the Trade Association, but he was in a very group--you know, he was in the best seat for a young, black entrepreneur in that all the business people, you know, were a part of the NCTA [National Cable and Telecommunications Association]. He was a staff person there, and he pitched his black entertainment television concept to John Malone who, at the time, was running TCI [Tele-Communications Inc.]. And after a lot of negotiating, etcetera, Bob was successful in getting the funding to start BET. And then shortly thereafter, the Newark cable television franchise was given to a black person, Marshall, Barry Marshall, was his name. And he was very active in the--what became the, the National Association of Minorities in Cable. He was one of the co-founders of it. And there were, you know, Don Barton, who was very instrumental--owned the cable system in Canton, Ohio. And then later he owned it in Detroit [Michigan].$$Detroit, right, right. He also owns a lot of casinos now.$$Yes, he did (unclear). He died here not too long ago, by the way. And, so there was a lot of stuff going on and, and there were some people who benefited very well, Bob being one; Don Barton did very well in the business. And then there were a number of us who did fairly well, as it related to moving up into positions of influence in--within the cable industry. It was slow, um-hmm, but, you know, a little of it happened.

Valerie Norman-Gammon

Media executive and television producer Valerie Norman-Gammon was born on May 14, 1951 in New York City, New York to Irene Robinson and Edmund Greene. Norman-Gammon attended P.S. 166 Elementary School in New York City and graduated from Brandeis High School in 1968. She went on to receive her B.A. degree from Baruch College in New York City in 1979. Norman-Gammon received her M.A. degree in journalism and broadcast management from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1981. She worked as a legal secretary for Cravath, Swaine & Moore before working in several successful broadcasting positions.

In 1980 Norman-Gammon worked as a talk show host for WYTV TV in Ohio. From 1981-1988 she worked as senior producer for WBBM TV in Chicago, Illinois. While with WBBM TV, Norman-Gammon produced the weekly talk show The Lee Phillips Show for which she won a Chicago Emmy award in 1983. During this time, she also served as executive producer for various documentary specials, including The Sounds of Soul, the fifth installment of the Time Warner syndicated series, The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In 1988, Norman-Gammon became president and CEO of Amethyst Entertainment Inc., a television, music festival production, and media company. She has produced a number of mega music events, most notably, the Essence Music Festival from 1995 to 2002. From 1994 to 2007, Norman-Gammon served as the executive producer for FOX Chicago and My Network TV’s six time Emmy nominated, Christmas Glory.

Norman-Gammon is the recipient of three National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards for her work with The Essence Awards on the FOX Network. Norman-Gammon has also served as an adjunct professor in television, film, speech communications, and media relations at Johnson & Wales University. Norman-Gammon’s expertise in media management, television and mega event production make her one of the top executive producers in the entertainment industry. She is a long time member of numerous media related and professional organizations, including the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. Norman-Gammon lives with her husband, Parker Gammon, in Miami, Florida.

Valerie Norman-Gammon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.233

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2012

Last Name

Norman-Gammon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

P.S. 166

Louis D Brandeis High School

Baruch College

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Valerie

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

NOR06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

It has to be fabulous.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

5/14/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Media executive and television producer Valerie Norman-Gammon (1951 - ) had over thirty years of experience in mass media management, television, and mega event production. She worked with Amethyst Entertainment, Inc.

Employment

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

WYTV TV

WBBM TV

Amethyst Entertainment, Inc.

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valerie Norman-Gammon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her maternal great grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon remembers picking tomatoes with her grandmother in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon shares her great grandmother's stories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the foods that her grandmother made in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about meeting her father for the first time

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about seeing her father for the last time

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the brief period in which she knew her father and his occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her mother's occupations and ice skating at Rockefeller Center

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the building where she grew up in the Upper West Side, New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon lists her favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes her mother's move to New York City at a young age

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her mother's sacrifices for their Manhattan apartment

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about starting grade school, her love of reading, and Christmas as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon remembers her high school, Louis D. Brandeis High School, and the teacher that influenced her the most

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon compares racism in Manhattan and the south

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes how she understood race as a child in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her church in Harlem and its pastor, Adam Clayton Powell

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes being in a cotillion

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her first boyfriend

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about working while going to school at Baruch College

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her scholarship to go to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her first marriage to Marvin Norman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about working in the World Trade Center towers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about TV anchors that she admired and an internship at NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about balancing work and college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the skills that she gained working at a law firm, and the individuals who influenced her

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about leaving her job at law firm to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon reflects upon New York City's black culture in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her maternal family's reaction to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about meeting Cindy Walker, who helped launch her television career

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about becoming cohost of Good Morning Youngstown in Youngstown, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois and becoming a producer at WBBM-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the show "Common Ground" in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing television shows at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois and her friendship with Lee Phillip Bell

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about Chicago politics and culture, and Harold Washington becoming mayor, in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks her struggle to achieve balanced political representation WBBM-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about how she coped with the stress of working in television

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about some close friends from Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about writing a book with Dr. Terry Mason

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the second Essence Awards show in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon reflects upon meeting John H. Johnson at the Essence Awards

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the Chicago entertainment and journalism community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the Essence Awards for a decade

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about how she became connected with the Essence Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the process of producing the Essence Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the Cancun Jazz Music Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing music festivals throughout Mexico and the Caribbean

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about developing and producing Sinbad's Soul Music Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about Apostolic Church of God and convincing Bishop Brazier to go on television

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about Bishop Brazier and the conception of Christmas Glory

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the Christmas Glory television event

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her community outreach goals in creating televised church events

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the awards that she won for Christmas Glory

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about working with Quincy Jones on "The History of Rock n Roll"

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her contributions to the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes meeting and marrying her husband, Parker Gammon

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her husband's occupation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about moving to Miami, Florida with her husband, Parker Gammon

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about winning three NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about some of her current projects

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her parents' deaths and her relationships with family members

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her brothers

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her step sons

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her regret of not having children

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon comments on her future aspirations

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about how she would like to be remembered and shares some advice for young adults

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the women that she has admired over the years

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Valerie Norman-Gammon reflects upon the importance of paying it forward and helping others

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing television shows at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois and her friendship with Lee Phillip Bell
Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her contributions to the Essence Music Festival
Transcript
I came to Chicago in September of 1981 over the Labor Day weekend. I drove my little car through the "S" curve and found my way to the hotel and then realized that CBS WBBM was actually two blocks down and so I would just walk down there to work. I came here during a time when Bill Curtis was here and Walter Jacobsen. WBBM was number one for everything for everything so it was exciting to be here and be a part of that whole collection and group of people; winning awards like crazy and everything. When I--after I worked on 'Common Ground' for so many months and then the 'Lee Phillip Show' became available because Bruce Dumont left. Cindy Walker made the decision to give me the show which then gave me two shows, 'Common Ground' and Lee Phillip. And the Lee Phillip show was really a prize possession. There were many other producers who wanted to have her show but I got it. It was a lot of work but I loved it. I was reading all the time because I had a two hour show in 'Common Ground' where you had to have a lot of material and you had to really delve into what was going on in the city and the community. But then I also had Lee Phillip who had a half hour day time Sunday magazine show with three segments that had all the biggest names in entertainment that came to town. So I was always going to plays, I was always going to big entertainment events, I always going to celebrity parties, I was always going to everything that was very high brow for her show and very community and local for 'Common Ground.' So I met everybody. I was being interviewed, I got numerous awards because I was everywhere doing everything and it was crazy but I loved it, I absolutely loved it. My relationship with Lee Phillip [Bell]--I did not know who she was obviously before I came here. I was unaware of the fact that she was married to Bill Bell and that she actually was Lee Phillip Bell and that they owned 'The Young and Restless' and also 'The Bold and the Beautiful.' So I didn't know that they were a powerhouse couple living over on Lake Shore Drive and that every afternoon Bill was on a conference call with his LA [Los Angeles, California] team executive producing 'The Young and the Restless.' I had no idea until I met her and we started working together and she and I actually shared a huge office. So we would look each other every day. We became very close. I remember she invited me to dinner one night and I went over there. She lived in one of the apartments, I've forgotten the actual address but it looks out on the lake, beautiful entire floor. And her daughter was there and her sons who now are big stars in television and we just had a good family time. Because they were just regular, family oriented people and it was phenomenal, it was just phenomenal.$$Now you mentioned that her sons are now big names in television.$$Her daughter is Lauralee Bell who is on 'The Bold and the Beautiful' and her sons have been working in the business so they are something. The father, Bill Bell has passed on but recently Lee ran into someone, a mutual friend and she called me to say hello. So she is out in LA now doing her thing and they say that--she says that she is over there a couple of times a week.$$On the set?$$On the set that's amazing, that's wonderful.$So Valerie in 1995 to 2002 you were a producer for the main stage of the Essence Music Festival?$$Yes, I am proud to say that I'm part of the team with Ed Lewis, Clarence Smith, Susan Taylor, Karen Taylor, and Terry Williams who created the actual Essence Music Festival. We created the concept; we went around the country working on selecting the right venue. We decided on New Orleans [Louisiana] because we could do two things at once. Have the main stage and then have that second level with the four quadrant rooms. We could have four different things going on. We created that and I actually decided that the main stage should be more than just another concert venue and I loved the fact that Essence, to my knowledge today, with the Essence Music Festival is the only one that has an actual produced stage presence when the performers are not on. And I created that for them and I created the designs for the quadrant rooms. So I asked a set designer that worked with me at CBS to come in and to meet us in New Orleans in the first year and to create a backdrop that was Essence because Essence [Magazine] is first class, it's all about, you know, the significance and the admiration and respect for African American women. And I didn't want us to just have a black curtain in the back. We needed to have something that was first class and lovely. So we did that, I brought her in and we created that and then we went around and created the themes for the different rooms and designed them so that they would like the blues or the disco ball hanging for the seventies or whatever. And so I was responsible for designing and creating all of that. Then I said to Clarence [Smith] and Ed [Lewis] and Susan [Taylor] that I thought there was money on the table that was being left by virtue of the fact that when we normally go to a concert they play some music between acts, right we'll be back, you know, and now we're back, you know, want to the stage so and so like in that little block; we should be something that's going to generate revenue. So I created all of these little moments where a host could come on stage and interact with the audience and they could be sponsor driven and they could sell them. So, since we've done that they now, in fact, have been able to increase the revenue for Essence in ways that we didn't start out in the first year. So I'm very proud of that.

Frank Washington

Attorney and communications industry expert Frank Washington was born on December 27, 1947, in Washington, D.C. In 1971, Washington graduated from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He then went on to enroll at Yale University Law School where he graduated in 1974.

In 1974, Washington was hired as a lawyer at the firm of Arnold and Porter in Washington, D.C. Preferring a more administrative role, he pursued a governmental position. In 1976, Washington joined the Carter White House where he worked on communications policy for the Domestic Policy Council, helping to develop and implement programs to foster wider minority ownership in communications companies. He oversaw cable and broadcast as the Deputy Chief of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Broadcast Bureau, and was also the legal assistant to the chairman of the FCC. Then, in 1981, Washington became the vice president of Time Mirror Company and was instrumental in the development of Videotex America.

During the 1980s, Washington continued working for Time Mirror in various capacities helping to develop new cable and videotext services. In 1984, he joined McClatchy Newspapers in Sacramento, California as vice president of electronic communications and used his skills to supervise the company’s cable, radio, cellular radio and electronic information services. Around this time, Washington began establishing his own business partnerships. From 1989 to 1995, he served as general partner in cable television limited partnerships located throughout the United States, with a combined subscriber base of nearly one half million. In 1995, Washington attempted unsuccessfully to buy Viacom, Inc. In 1996, he became CEO and president of the Sacramento-based computer technology solutions provider, System Integrators, Inc. In addition, Washington was a founder, investor and principal in Aurora Communications, a broadcast radio company.

Washington was the chairman and CEO of Tower of Babel LLC from 2004 to 2008, and has controlling interests in two other broadcast television operations. He serves on the boards of numerous companies including: World Television of Washington LLC, Spartan LLC, and Quantum Communications LLC. Washington also serves as the director of several non-profit organizations including: the Board of Visitors of UC Davis School of Medicine; UC Davis Medical School’s Center for Health and Technology; and the California Chamber of Commerce board.

Accession Number

A2008.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/1/2008

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Orangeburg Elementary School

Nyack Senior High School

Clarkstown High School

Cornell University

Yale University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WAS06

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Eric Broyles

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/27/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Sacramento

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Broadcast chief executive and media executive Frank Washington (1947 - ) was the deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Broadcast Bureau and the legal assistant to the chairman of the FCC during the Carter Administration. He also served as Vice President of Electronic Communications for McClatchy Newspapers, now The McClatchy Company, and was the chairman and CEO of Tower of Babel LLC.

Employment

Arnold & Porter LLC

Carter White House Office of Telecommunications Policy

Federal Communications Commission

Times Mirror

The McClatchy Company

System Integrator, Inc.

Aurora Communications

Tower of Babel LLC

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:21758,499:22138,505:28329,546:36429,683:36996,692:38454,715:48584,833:49800,852:50104,861:56944,1001:63210,1045:65485,1109:68345,1170:68800,1180:72960,1270:84084,1433:92400,1523:98478,1584:98782,1589:99466,1599:100302,1613:103646,1671:104178,1682:119040,1868:133690,2158:134122,2165:144434,2331:145682,2357:146228,2367:147008,2374:147788,2388:149114,2415:149738,2424:150908,2461:153092,2521:165310,2646:170116,2744:178542,2834:186522,2988:187054,2996:197848,3083:198304,3094:198988,3105:201192,3148:215790,3381$0,0:4160,109:9152,241:10112,258:14592,337:15168,348:19490,357:19946,364:21542,394:23442,429:26862,496:29294,542:32410,600:33094,616:33398,621:45762,788:47618,840:50498,907:54594,987:65580,1156:68570,1219:68830,1224:69220,1231:69480,1236:69870,1243:71820,1289:72275,1298:85910,1514:91935,1596:99435,1750:100260,1772:110981,1902:112587,1952:112952,1959:123245,2158:133220,2278
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frank Washington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Washington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Washington describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Washington describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Washington describes his father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frank Washington describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frank Washington talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frank Washington describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frank Washington describes his parents' siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frank Washington recalls moving to Rockland County, New York as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frank Washington talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Frank Washington describes his earliest memories of Rockland County

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Frank Washington describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Frank Washington describes experiencing racism as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Frank Washington describes his childhood life at home

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Frank Washington talks about his experience at Orangeburg Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Frank Washington talks about his childhood interest in veterinary medicine

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Frank Washington describes his experience at Clarkstown High School

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Frank Washington talks about applying to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Washington describes adjusting to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Washington describes his view on poverty

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Washington remembers his first day at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Washington describes his first year at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frank Washington talks about dodging the Vietnam War draft

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frank Washington describes the 1969 campus takeover at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frank Washington describes his social life at Cornell University in Ithaca, New york

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frank Washington remembers working in a paper factory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frank Washington talks about deciding to go to law school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Frank Washington talks about notable classmates at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Washington talks about student body diversity at Yale Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Washington talks about his relationship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Washington remembers his first year at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Washington talks about publishing a note in the Yale Law Journal

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frank Washington talks about developing an interest in communications

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frank Washington talks about criticism of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frank Washington talks about the Clarence Thomas hearings

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frank Washington talks about being hired at Arnold and Porter, LLP after graduating from Yale Law School in 1974

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Frank Washington talks about his early work in communications

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Frank Washington describes his tenure at Arnold and Porter, LLP

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Frank Washington explains how he got hired to the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frank Washington describes his experience in the Office of Telecommunications Policy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frank Washington describes his experience in the Office of Telecommunications Policy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frank Washington describes working at the Federal Communications Commission [FCC]

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frank Washington talks about the impact of the tax certificate on minority ownership of cable stations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frank Washington talks about abuse of power in Washington D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frank Washington describes becoming Deputy Chief of the Broadcast Bureau

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frank Washington talks about media convergence

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frank Washington describes working at the Times Mirror Company

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Frank Washington talks about working at McClatchy Newspapers

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Frank Washington talks about leaving McClatchy newspapers to make his own investments and having his business deals criticized

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frank Washington talks about Congress' repeal of the tax certificate, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frank Washington talks about Congress' repeal of the tax certificate, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frank Washington describes his hopes for the future of people of color in broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frank Washington reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frank Washington shares his advice for young black entrepreneurs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Frank Washington describes his experience in the Office of Telecommunications Policy, pt. 1
Frank Washington describes becoming Deputy Chief of the Broadcast Bureau
Transcript
--So you've, you're at a law firm and you're in a transition point where you're going to think about what else is going on. Carter's [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter] campaign is going on and you know some people in there that are involved in communications and they're starting to view you as someone that could be very, very, very instrumental in what they're trying to get accomplished at this point?$$Right, so they ask me to come in to join this Office of Telecommunications Policy in the White House to focus on coming up with ways to facilitate minority ownership, among other things, and there were several things that stood out there for me, one is that, as I got into what was required for this job, which a lot of it was, you know, thinking and dabbling in public policy, talking to a lot of people, trying to get an understanding, you know, of what the frame of the, framework of the problem was and then, you know, trying to see, okay, what alternatives the people have to deal with that, that's when it first dawned on me how much I hated being a lawyer--$$Uh-hum.$$--'cause I realized how much I enjoyed doing what I was doing. I mean, it was being much more creative and it just felt, I mean it felt like a, you know, a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. So if I needed any more validation of why I probably shouldn't continue as a lawyer, that was it right there. The other thing was, this whole power thing, okay, two aspects of that, one, I was absolutely flabbergasted by how little power the president had. I mean, ultimately, his ability to make something happen was no better than the people he had that were in sympathy or in support of what he was trying to do and their ability to convince the people in these various executive agencies to do it because they, obviously, well not obviously, but they had, they simply had other motivations and they were going to do whatever they were going to do and they didn't give a damn what the President thought. So that was a real stark thing. The other thing was the realization from my standpoint, you know, somebody had told me about this idea of Potomac fever--how people would go to D.C. and get so hung up on the power, they'd disappear into it. They'd never come out again. And I was absolutely convinced that I was not going to let that happen to myself. I felt, all along, that this was somebody else, this is the people's power, not mine. It was something I could use and I needed to use it judiciously and, you know, just like a tool, when you're done with it, you put it away. It's not, it doesn't belong to you. So those were a couple of things and, you know, there were some interesting manifestations of that. I remember we put on a series of, of discussions that were held in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and the idea was we would get some of the key players in this whole minority ownership arena, have them come in and talk, you know, and then use that as a way of getting ideas, etc., etc. I could not believe the political sensitivity around that. I mean, people who didn't get invited, you know, who thought they should have been invited or the people trying to get invited, regardless , I mean it, you know, it really my, opened my very naive eyes. I mean, I'm coming from nowhere. You know, the people I grew up with had no power to do anything. ...$How long did you stay with, stay as deputy, as the legal assistant?$$Well, I was legal assistant for about a year, maybe a year and a half and then the chairman asked me to become the Deputy Chief of the Broadcast Bureau--$$Uh-hum.$$--which oversaw cable as well as all broadcasting. And that was actually a very interesting experience because it expanded beyond just the public policy, slash legal stuff, it got me involved in real management opportunity and I started to realize, you now, I'm really good at this. And, furthermore, I had always been, as a lawyer, looking over the shoulder of my clients at what they were doing from a business standpoint and the thing I started to realize even more in the role at the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] was how much I liked the business part and, furthermore, even though we were making a lot of changes, I mean, we were, we deregulated cable, we deregulated radio, we introduced cellular radio, we introduced direct broadcast satellite, massive--$$In the '70s [1970s]?$$Yeah, massive changes. It seemed to me that all we were doing was opening doors. The people that are going to walk through those doors were going to be business people and entrepreneurs that really made things happen. And there's this picture called 'Mr. Roberts' that I kind of use as a metaphor because in this picture, he's--during World War Two, and he's stuck on this supply ship where he's, you know, in the back waters, he wants to get to where the real war is. One night he's, you know, out having a smoke and he sees these ships of the line, you know, battleships and carriers, obviously headed to a big battle. I mean, it was probably Okinawa and, you know, but the captain on his ship won't let him off because, you know, he needs him to do this stuff. Well, I mean, not total analogy but the point was, I'm thinking to myself, you know what, I'm out of here. You know, I'm going to figure out a way to make a transition in the business, out of law, out of government, by God, out of D.C., and I really started to focus on that when I realized Carter had lost and, you know, the administrations were gonna to change and it was time to leave and I was blessed in that I got an opportunity to join a company called Times Mirror--$$

H. Melvin Ming

Corporate media executive H. Melvin Ming was born Hilton Austin Melvin Ming in Hamilton, Bermuda. He is one of three sons of Hester and Calvin Ming. After completing his early education in Bermuda, Ming moved to the United States and graduated with his B.A. degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1967.

Upon graduation, Ming was hired as an Auditor and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for the accounting firm Coopers Lybrand (PricewaterhouseCoopers) in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. In 1973, at the age of twenty-nine, Ming became only the seventh African American to achieve professional standing as a CPA in Pennsylvania. After a successful twelve year tenure at Coopers Lybrand, Ming left to become the Assistant Director for East of the River Health Association, a primary care Community Health Center in Southeast Washington, D.C. Ming then served for two years as Vice President, Finance and Administration, for the National Urban Coalition, an urban policy analysis research non-profit corporation. He then led a successful financial turn-around of National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, D.C. Ming went on to lead three more major financial restructurings at Channel Thirteen/WNET in New York, WQED in Pittsburgh and the Museum of Television and Radio in New York and Los Angeles. In 1999, Ming became the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sesame Workshop in New York, the creators of the popular children’s television show Sesame Street. In 2002, Ming became Chief Operating Officer at Sesame Workshop. In 2006, Ming became the Director of Westwood, Inc., the largest independent producer and distributor of programming for commercial radio in the nation.

Ming serves on boards including the trustee of Regional Conferences Retirement Board, where he serves as one of three outside directors overseeing the $94 million retirement fund; First Children Finance, a non-profit organization created to meet the growing demand for quality early care and education, especially in low-income communities; and Atlantic Union College, a liberal arts college of 600 students located in South Lancaster, Massachusetts.

Ming was married in 1972 and has two children, Calvin Ming, thirty-five, and Jerilynne Ming, thirty-four. He also has two grandchildren, Carina and Cameron Ming.

Ming was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 6, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.013

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/6/2008

Last Name

Ming

Maker Category
Middle Name

Melvin

Occupation
Schools

Victor Scott Primary School

Berkeley Institute

Temple University High School

Temple University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

H.

Birth City, State, Country

Pembroke, Bermuda

HM ID

MIN04

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

What You Are Speaks So Loudly That I Can't Hear A Word You Say.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/22/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Bermuda

Favorite Food

Pie (Cassava)

Short Description

Media executive H. Melvin Ming (1944 - ) was the director of Westwood, Inc., the nation's largest independent producer and distributor of programming for commercial radio. He was also the president and CEO of the Sesame Workshop.

Employment

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (formerly Coopers and Lybrand)

East of the River Health Clinic

National Urban Coalition

National Public Radio

WNET-TV

WQED

Museum of Television and Radio

Sesame Workshop

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:15260,296:15608,301:16391,313:18131,350:20132,385:20567,391:40022,613:42542,673:45054,706:46494,731:48798,785:53650,838:80707,1162:88760,1175:118996,1685:123880,1744:130075,1837:144010,1963:144535,1971:149130,1991:169736,2290:170146,2296:178244,2448:179700,2472:180337,2480:180792,2486:181884,2503:200718,2778:228954,3163:229998,3203:243684,3307:245432,3336:245800,3341:257182,3563:259530,3608$0,0:2403,57:2937,62:3649,71:4895,93:6497,120:7476,128:7832,136:8455,144:11303,240:12727,256:27595,443:27960,449:35154,566:38568,609:38958,615:41688,664:42702,683:43170,690:47694,775:53161,795:56180,811:60688,878:68574,919:72318,1009:75810,1072:76285,1078:84886,1296:85798,1309:89350,1323:89902,1333:94650,1373:96586,1400:97114,1408:98258,1422:98786,1428:114822,1665:116620,1679:120585,1784:120845,1789:125320,1838:129894,1875:130614,1889:130974,1895:131478,1903:131766,1908:132054,1913:135062,1951:136468,1983:140195,2035:143288,2054:149325,2118:150600,2137:151280,2147:152385,2165:152810,2171:153575,2181:159200,2273:159626,2279:162040,2309:163389,2349:164099,2390:174530,2562:174814,2567:175311,2578:176092,2591:176447,2597:177228,2612:178790,2647:179358,2656:179855,2664:190154,2783:190658,2791:191594,2811:195894,2852:197027,2864:197851,2873:203590,2947:204626,2971:212004,3155:214968,3205:217628,3248:220668,3318:231046,3478:232060,3496:237832,3582:247582,3733:251740,3766:252972,3790:254435,3819:259585,3877:265025,3974:266470,4005:266810,4010:268000,4037:270040,4080:275768,4117:280890,4179:287754,4271:303916,4468:313172,4588:316142,4630:317330,4641:320250,4650:320715,4656:322389,4679:324062,4686:325218,4713:327710,4753
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming shares the history of his surname

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming describes the history of Bermuda

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of H. Melvin Ming's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. Melvin Ming lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. Melvin Ming describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his early musical influences

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his community in Bermuda

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. Melvin Ming describes his paternal relatives' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his father and maternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. Melvin Ming describes his earliest memories of education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. Melvin Ming describes his education on Bermudian history

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. Melvin Ming talks about race relations in Bermuda

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. Melvin Ming describes the smells and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - H. Melvin Ming describes the traditional architecture in Bermuda

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - H. Melvin Ming describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his early exposure to business

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his mother's work in Bermuda's realty industry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming remembers visiting the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his early education in Bermuda

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. Melvin Ming remembers moving to the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his decision to study accounting

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. Melvin Ming remembers his search for an accounting position

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - H. Melvin Ming recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - H. Melvin Ming describes lessons from his time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - H. Melvin Ming recalls joining the National Association of Black Accountants

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming describes his experiences as an accountant at Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his colleagues and clients at Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. Melvin Ming describes his experiences of discrimination at the firm of Coopers and Lybrand

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his response to discrimination in the workplace

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. Melvin Ming describes the qualities of a good accountant

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. Melvin Ming recalls opening an branch of Coopers and Lybrand in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. Melvin Ming remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. Melvin Ming describes his relationship with his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - H. Melvin Ming remembers his college classmate, Bill Cosby

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his disinterest in fraternities

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - H. Melvin Ming remembers working at the National Urban Coalition

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming recalls his tenure at the National Urban Coalition

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming describes his challenges at National Public Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - H. Melvin Ming describes his success at National Public Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - H. Melvin Ming recalls working at WNET-TV in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - H. Melvin Ming remembers working at WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - H. Melvin Ming remembers his transition to the Museum of Television and Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - H. Melvin Ming recalls how he came to join the Sesame Workshop

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - H. Melvin Ming describes the initiatives at the Sesame Workshop

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - H. Melvin Ming talks about the educational value of 'Sesame Street'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming talks about the influence of television on children

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming talks about the production of South Africa's 'Takalani Sesame'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - H. Melvin Ming describes the 'Sesame Street' programs in Islamic countries

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - H. Melvin Ming talks about the challenges facing the Sesame Workshop

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - H. Melvin Ming describes the plans for the future of the Sesame Workshop

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - H. Melvin Ming talks about his career plans

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - H. Melvin Ming reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - H. Melvin Ming reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - H. Melvin Ming talks about the importance of diversity on 'Sesame Street'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - H. Melvin Ming describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - H. Melvin Ming reflects upon his success

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - H. Melvin Ming describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
H. Melvin Ming remembers moving to the United States
H. Melvin Ming talks about the production of South Africa's 'Takalani Sesame'
Transcript
I guess the year before the final year [at Berkeley Institute, Pembroke Bermuda], my--that's the day that I came home one Thursday afternoon and the family's there and, there's a family counsel and my mother [Hester Bean Ming] said to me, "You're going to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. There you will finish high school and you'll go to college, and you're gonna go to Aunt Ida." Now there were no colleges in Bermuda when I at the time, and the ambition of a young boy like me was usually to get your moped, get your own bicycle. Now here maybe get your car, there was get your moped. And see and if you were sixteen you could get your license and you can get your own transportation, then man you're, you're, you're free as a bird. And that was sort of the, that was the horizon getting a, a bike, and$$So did they send you out be, before you got your moped?$$My mother wisely said that, "You need an education and here's, here's where you gonna go." And I was excited 'cause I'm going to Philadelphia, so I never owned my own moped, my own bike. I went to Philadelphia instead, I was sixteen years old, and I was met at the Phil- Philadelphia airport. Went to live with Aunt Ida, Ida Pitts [ph.] and Uncle Ed, Edwin, Edward Pitts [ph.], and these (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Now these your father's relatives?$$No these, these--Aunt Ida was a--excuse me, I'm gonna sneeze--a cousin of my [maternal] grandmother [Helen Bean], and when you're in, in the islands, it's who do you know in the states? And, who can watch over you 'cause you're only sixteen years old. So I came to the states and was, it was in January, January '62 [1962], and I had to do one year of high school. 'Cause to get into college here I didn't have any history, so I had to do courses like American history. And I went to Temple University High School [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] and completed my necessary requirements. And that was a, boy was that an experience, I'm sixteen years old, I'm in a class in Temple Prep they called it at the time, this is Temple High School. With, now I know what it was, then I didn't know, veterans, and these were veterans who were on the G.I. Bill [Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944], who had returned from then Southeast Asia doing whatever it was. And these guys for the most part, they were serious about getting whatever they, they were doing. And I'm this kid in there with all of these--and man that was, that was an eye opener, because these people worked at school. And I was you know you get 50 percent and you're okay, you passed, no you had, a 70 or 75 [percent] and to get an A man you had to get like 96 [percent] (laughter) on a test. I never heard of such a thing, I'm in this environment and didn't have good study habits, didn't know really how to study and struggling to compete. And being reminded, I had a counselor old guy he said, "Why, why don't you try this, American history. Make little note cards of, of important dates that you have to remember and write them on the note card. Last thing before you go to bed, recite them, memorize them, and first thing in the morning, get up and that's the first thing you see." And man, I tried that and it started to work and then he said, "Wherever you write a date, don't just remember the date, remember or know a pertinent fact that will remind you of the date." And that's, how I learned, learned to study, and it took me a little time, but I got, I got to it and then it. Man it, then I start getting good grades, I start feeling good and a nerd glasses and all that good stuff.$$(Laughter).$That's what I was wondering, I don't know, is there, you find cultural challenges around the world trying to do 'Sesame Street' show in another country that may have a different cultural (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--standard or different mores about how to--$$Yeah.$$--approach different things?$$Yes and the way we, we, we deal with them, what we have learned having done almost thirty of these, what we call co-productions. The worst thing we can do is take an American show and then just subtitle it with the local language and say go do it, doesn't work. There are, that, that's only worked where people wanna be American, and there are very few places in the last twenty years with that's what the, (laughter) that's what the deal is. Our approach is, we begin with engaging people that are good advocates or representatives of the education objectives of a community. So we were asked by SABC way back when to sell them 'Sesame Street,' and the organization [Sesame Workshop], I was not here, nothing to do with it. The organization said no, and for eight years these requests were made and we did not sell the 'Sesame Street' shows to South Africa, apartheid and part of the boycott--$$SABC, South African Broadcasting company (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) South African Broadcasting Corporation. After the change there, we were approached and we considered doing a 'Sesame Street' production in South Africa. And there is one it's called 'Takalani Sesame,' and the approach we used there is the way we do it in where we're asked. Who are the local voices that can represent what of the needs of children and how media can address those needs? So we have our researchers here, we dispatched them to go and find people that we ought to have a conversation with about how we can make content that works for the local child. A broadcaster who will broadcast it, local funding that will support it, and if not local funding, international funding that will support it. And then we go in country and select a producer, and hire writers and actually try to create the content right there. We become teachers at first and then advisors the local producers that we hire to go in and make the shows. And the consequence is the South African show is South African, they don't just have American characters they have their own characters. But their curriculum is one that they valued, they wanted AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] in the curriculum, and we said no. 'Cause we didn't know how to teach AIDS or prevention whatever. They said, "Our children are being stigmatized in school and their learning is being retarded because people try not to associate with them. Because they are victims of, of AIDS," parents died all that. And we ended up working with them created a special Muppet called Kami which on this show models behavior that if children copied they'd be safe. So washing of hands you know and that kind of stuff, but also you can play with Kami just because she's HIV [human immunodeficiency virus] positive, doesn't mean you'll, if you play with her, you will get the disease. And we've got now the research coming back corroborating and validating that this has been important in moving how children see these diseases. Now it took me a visit there to see why this was such a important thing. You walk up to the, in Johannesburg [South Africa], the department of education, on one side of the wall they have painted on their educational objectives. Eradication of poverty, nation building, language commonalty things like that, and on the left hand side of it they've got their AIDS policy. And I asked, "Why is that," and they said, "We have lost, and we are losing more professionals in the nursing and teaching than any other group. And as we are losing teachers, it's impacting children in the classroom, so we can't be silent on this." And my point is they helped us to figure out how to, on a preschooler show, treat the subject how to deal with it. We got criticism here, but over there, it's, it's, it's, it works. So there are local needs and there are more AIDS and there are practices and we aim to let that be curriculum based as we included in the show. As long as it doesn't violate what we believe are universal and good values, and we use our subjective measures here. We didn't tend not to teach religion obviously politics and segment divisions like that we tend not. Because for a child it's important they learn how to work together, how not to work together. And what can we agree on? There's such universal values as honesty, the value of education, sharing, basic skills, ABCs, one, two three. Gender, it's important for girls to learn as well as boys to learn.

Louis Carr

Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) president of media sales Louis Carr was born May 3, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents, Lillian Cheers Carr and boxing trainer Lewis Carr were members of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Carr attended Muhammad’s University of Islam, Bidler Elementary School, and J. Sterling Morton Junior High School, and graduated from Lane Technical High School in 1974. A high school track star, Carr was part of a world record-breaking mile relay team, despite a severe hamstring injury. Attending Drake University on a four-year track scholarship, Carr graduated with his B.A. degree in broadcast journalism in 1978.

Carr worked as a customer service representative for Bankers Life Insurance Company until 1980, when he joined New York Life Insurance Company. In 1984, Carr joined Johnson Publishing Company as a salesman. Soon after, Carr was invited to work for Black Enterprise magazine in 1985. Carr was recruited to work at BET. Carr worked to convince sponsors of the viability of the African American market. Carr is president of media sales for BET and is responsible for the strategic planning to generate revenue for BET, the company's flagship; BET J, their flanker network for a mature audience, and BET.com.

Carr is also CEO and president of TV, LLC, (Tweetie Ventures) which is a real estate company that owns and manages multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago. Additionally, he is chairman of the Louis Carr Internship Foundation, which provides paid internships for students of color. Carr serves on the Board of Directors of The Advertising Council, the American Advertising Federation, the Cable Advertising Bureau and Boys Hope Girls Hope.

Accession Number

A2006.160

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/11/2006

Last Name

Carr

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Lane Technical College Prep High School

Beidler Elem School

J. Sterling Morton Junior High School

Drake University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days

First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CAR10

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

Black Entertainment Television

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

No Matter What People Tell You, You're Not As Good As You Think You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/3/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cake (Coconut)

Short Description

Media executive Louis Carr (1956 - ) was President of Advertising and Sales for BET. Carr was also the CEO and president of TV, LLC, a real estate company that owns and manages multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago, and chairman of the Louis Carr Internship Foundation.

Employment

Black Entertainment Television

Banker's Life

New York Life Insurance

Ebony Magazine

WBEE Radio

Black Enterprise Magazine

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1131,20:4263,71:4611,76:6264,102:10962,165:12180,185:15770,200:16352,208:36645,470:38965,494:59080,735:65240,799:71996,971:78820,1022:80804,1078:101980,1356:105100,1426:109560,1452:115295,1609:115790,1615:118607,1653:119012,1682:120227,1724:131571,1910:143096,2041:145868,2083:146372,2090:149480,2166:151160,2200:157816,2297:159750,2306:160470,2317:165924,2361:166704,2367:175858,2481:176363,2487:187380,2614:188745,2661:189291,2668:190838,2694:191293,2700:201072,2877:202915,2901:203400,2907:204758,2925:207183,2977:210675,3029:211063,3034:212130,3052:217368,3133:234922,3287:237184,3337:245420,3445$0,0:5865,203:29332,594:58124,1055:65880,1168:66402,1185:82341,1757:106905,2050:128760,2336:148996,2608:151280,2638:151646,2646:153110,2713:176430,2956:178068,3017:184386,3122:195101,3348:197719,3399:209027,3503:211700,3562:219506,3685:220178,3699:240985,4022:241375,4029:242860,4055
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis Carr's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis Carr lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis Carr describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis Carr describes his maternal grandparent's move from Hickman, Kentucky to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis Carr talks about his mother's upbringing in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis Carr talks about his father and the history behind his name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis Carr describes his father's boxing career and incarceration

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Louis Carr remembers his father's involvement with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Louis Carr describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Louis Carr talks about his father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Louis Car describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Louis Carr describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Louis Carr describes his early education at Muhammad University of Islam, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis Carr describes his early education at Muhammad University of Islam, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis Carr recalls how his character was strengthened by the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis Carr explains the message of The Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis Carr recalls transferring to public school from Muhammad University of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis Carr remembers the aftermath of Malcolm X's assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis Carr describes his experience at J. Sterling Morton Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis Carr recalls his admission to Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis Carr remembers the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Louis Carr recalls becoming a star athlete at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Louis Carr describes his challenges at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis Carr remembers his college prospects as a high school track star

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis Carr recalls setting the world record for the mile relay in 1974

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis Carr remembers receiving a scholarship to Drake University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis Carr describes his time at Drake University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis Carr recalls his decision to major in broadcast journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Louis Carr recalls leaving the insurance industry to work at Ebony magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Louis Carr describes working for John H. Johnson, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Louis Carr describes working for John H. Johnson, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Louis Carr recalls his start at Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Louis Carr remembers the early days of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Louis Carr explains what made him a successful salesman

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis Carr recalls building Black Entertainment Television's brand identity

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis Carr recalls Black Entertainment Television's intial advertisers

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis Carr remembers Black Entertainment Television's early programming

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis Carr explains the factors that determine BET's programming

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis Carr describes BET's relationship with Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Louis Carr talks about his pride in BET's accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Louis Carr describes the corporate culture at Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Louis Carr talks about the growth of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Louis Carr talks about Viacom's acquisition of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Louis Carr describes BET's responsibility to the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Louis Carr talks about the future of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Louis Carr discusses Black Entertainment Television's mission to incorporate young African American talent

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis Carr reflects upon the future of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis Carr talks about the Louis Carr Internship Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis Carr describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis Carr describes his mentors and the importance of giving back

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis Carr reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis Carr reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Louis Carr talks about his faith

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Louis Carr talks about his wife, Diane Carr

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Louis Carr describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Louis Carr recalls lessons from his mentors

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Louis Carr recalls setting the world record for the mile relay in 1974
Louis Carr recalls his start at Black Entertainment Television
Transcript
What school did you choose?$$Well, a funny thing happened. We set the mile relay in the city--indoor city championships, the world record mile relay, and at three, nineteen, five on a Friday night. Then we went to Oak Park relays that Saturday and I tore my hamstring, and a severe tear. Matter of fact, it was so bad they said I would be lucky if I was able to walk without a limp again. So the night after setting the world record, you know, I'm on crutches. And that was like, I think, March 26, 1974. And so that--I saw everything just end right there, you know, prospect of college, everything else, done. Just--I was, I was finished. A very devastating time to be at the height of your life on one night and to be at the lowest the next night. And throughout April and most of May, I basically went to team practices [at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School; Lane Technical College Preparatory High School, Chicago, Illinois], tried to jog but it was always with a limp. And, so, I'll never forget we went down to the Illinois state trials for the Illinois state championship and my coach came to me and said, "We've talked as a team and we wouldn't even be in the position we're in if you hadn't been here so we want you to attempt to run tomorrow." And I looked at him like he was crazy. I'm like, "Man, you been seeing me limping around here", you know. How, how you think I'm gone run? And it was about ninety-nine degrees down at Eastern Illinois [Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois], he said, "Louis [HistoryMaker Louis Carr], we just want you to try, and if you can't finish, we're fine with that. But we think that we want you to do that and we're gonna make an announcement that you're gone anchor the relay teams tomorrow." And he said, "Now, be prepared, the media gone be all over you. 'Cause everybody knows you got hurt, everybody knows what people say about your career, but I'm gone make an announcement to the press tonight that you gone run tomorrow. So, don't freak out." And, surely enough, press was just all over me asking questions, "When did you know you were gonna run, what type of workouts you been doing, what have the doctors said", and, basically, it was just, "No comment," 'cause I didn't know what I could do. And the next day when I got that baton, I ran the fastest 200 meters in state that year. It was just a miracle. I mean, I call it a miracle; went on to anchor all of the, the relays, we set state records. Then the next day for the finals, you know, I was hurting real bad, right. (Laughter) 'Cause number one I wasn't in that type of shape; number two, the injury had really started to ache again. I think that the heat had just really loosened me up. We went on to tie East St. Louis [East St. Louis Senior High School, East St. Louis, Illinois] for the state championship, we got second in the 400 meter relay which I anchored, which you know, the tape shows that we probably got first but we ain't gone go there, and we went on to take second in the 880 relay and then our mile relay won the state championship. And we tied in points with East St. Louis. But all of the offers that I had got, still coaches said what, "We believe it was a miracle, we can't the chance because we saw you after the race, we saw them icing you, we saw the bandages and everything, and we saw you on a crutch when you left that track. So we can't take the chance."$You have a, you know, John Johnson's [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson] trying to get in touch with you and now Earl Graves [HistoryMaker Earl G. Graves, Sr.], you know. You must be doing something right.$$That goes back to another saying, what's for you is for you. All right. (Laughter) You can't even mess it up, all right. (Laughter) So, met with Earl, told me that, you know, he had talked to Mr. J. Mr. J told him I was ignorant and crazy, don't be bothered. But, so many people had mentioned my name he was willing to take a chance. Worked for Earl and he, he really liked me. Did a great job, was very successful. Then in May of '86 [1986], the same guy [Dennis Boston] who had told me about the job at Johnson Publishing [Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois], my same friend called me and said, "You gone get a call from a guy by the name of Bob Johnson [Robert L. Johnson]. Take the call, Louis [HistoryMaker Louis Carr]." I'm like, "Really? What is he doing?" "He got this little cable thing going and he want to talk to you about it." I said, "Okay, fine." I met with Bob at the Marriott Hotel on Michigan [Avenue] and thought he was a great guy, had a great dream, but I said, "I'm not your guy. I'm not the one. Just don't want no part of it, right." He said, "Fine." Then in June, I got a call from him again, said he was back in town and he said, "Can you just meet with me and maybe you can give me some recommendations." So I like him, so I met with him. And after I named a number of people, he said, "Well, Louis, that's not really why I called you." He said, "I'm trying to convince you to come work for me." And I'm like, "You know what, I appreciate that and I'm flattered and all that. I'm not trying do that." I said, "My--."$$So, you were still with Earl Graves, right?$$Right. I said my next move is gone be to a big white corporation. That's my next move. He said, fine. And this is now in June, in July I get a call from Bob, and he says, "I really want you to think about this, Louis. This is a great opportunity for you; your name came up again today." And now, now I'm starting to waiver, right. I'm like, okay, this guy's pressing me. He seems like he's a nice guy, you know, I done talked to people about this cable thing. Everybody's saying that the wave of the future, you need to be a part of it. But I, you know--and I always tease Bob. Bob had on sweat suits when I met him. I'm like, you know, ol boy just got on a sweat suit, you know. He ain't even got on a suit. I don't know if I should do this. So, I started thinking about it, and Bob called me. This is right after the Fourth of July--naw, I'm sorry, towards the end of July. And he says, "Louis, final call," and it was late one night. He said, "I'm not even trying to sell you, I'm just gone tell you one thing. Me and Earl are gone be successful without you. You just have to make a decision on what's the best opportunity for you. Don't think about me, don't think about him. What's the best opportunity for you." So that was Bob, you know, in retrospect, closing me, right. He was really closing me. So, at that point, I went and I talked to Earl. He just went nuts on me. Oh, he just went off on me, just telling me, you know, "How could you even be having a conversation, this is stupid, that ain't no real business," you know, I mean, he just really let me have it with both barrels. And that's when I said, "Now, that's what I'm gonna do," because one thing Earl never said to me is, "Make the best decision for you." He was saying, you know, "We need you, the company needs you," and like, okay, I got that. But let me make the best decision. So I did, and ended up making that move in August of '86 [1986] to BET [Black Entertainment Television] and I told Bob, "Three years, baby, that's all I'm giving you. 'Cause I see myself in a much bigger, much bigger company in a much bigger role." Well, that was in 1986.$$That's twenty years ago .$$That was twenty years ago (simultaneous)--

Paul Mason

Paul Stanley Mason was born on September 14, 1955, in Cleveland, Ohio. Mason’s mother worked as a social worker and his father, a former Tuskegee Airman, was a dentist; his was the first black family in the Shaker Heights community where he grew up. In 1973, as senior class president, Mason graduated from Shaker Heights High School, where he played football and baseball and sang for the choir.

Mason attended Wesleyan University, earning his B.A. degree in classical civilization in 1977. During his senior year, Mason spent a semester studying abroad in Italy. Mason taught high school English at Friends Academy, where he also coached the basketball and football teams. Mason earned his masters degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1981; that same year, he received a fellowship to study the race riots in London, England. This assignment helped Mason land his first job with ABC News, working on the assignment desk and as an off-air reporter for the network.

After serving as operations producer for Good Morning America, Mason joined the Miami bureau of ABC in 1986, working as a field producer. In 1989, Mason was assigned to World News Tonight and later became the Miami-based producer for ABC News Primetime Live. In 1998, Mason joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley, teaching at the Graduate School of Journalism while continuing to produce segments for 20/20 and Primetime Live. Mason then went on to serve as executive producer of Monday editions of Primetime Live and executive producer of World News Tonight Saturday and Sunday. In the latter capacity, Mason was responsible for the editorial content and production of the weekend evening news broadcasts.

In 2004, Mason was promoted to senior vice president of ABC News with day-to-day responsibility for Nightline, This Week, ABC News Radio, World News Now, World News This Morning and Good Morning America’s news inserts. Additionally, Mason oversaw the network’s coverage of both political conventions and general elections.

Mason has received numerous awards and honors, including an NAACP Image Award and several Emmy nominations.

Accession Number

A2005.038

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/4/2005

Last Name

Mason

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Shaker Heights High School

Ludlow School

Woodbury Elementary School

Wesleyan University

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

MAS04

Favorite Season

April

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rome, Italy

Favorite Quote

Everybody Got A Man. I Got You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/14/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Asparagus

Short Description

Journalism professor, media executive, and television news producer Paul Mason (1955 - ) was the senior vice president of ABC News and served as a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Employment

Friends Academy

ABC

ABC News- Nightline

University of California, Berkeley

ABC News

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:9393,90:10044,102:10509,113:11346,118:13113,133:18600,227:48054,629:56437,765:67345,866:81930,1051:82420,1057:82770,1064:83120,1070:88020,1167:102872,1471:103712,1482:104384,1491:118138,1712:119428,1735:121750,1772:128372,1883:129490,1925:138778,2082:142648,2123:185510,2712$0,0:282,9:5546,134:5922,139:10075,204:10726,218:21514,514:38190,665:40280,765:48355,941:51775,991:59470,1111:60230,1128:60705,1134:69135,1190:78315,1375:80525,1422:84945,1473:85625,1482:93615,1629:94040,1635:95825,1661:96250,1667:97525,1697:114900,1884:123700,1969:124756,1987:125196,1994:125636,2000:131824,2056:133372,2086:139461,2140:142849,2211:147819,2273:151471,2430:156949,2467:159273,2524:166245,2659:174250,2700:175210,2733:181104,2833:186992,2939:187820,2950:191224,3028:191684,3034:194996,3071:196008,3086:199780,3161:204932,3255:208796,3412:230144,3729:232169,3750:251906,4019:252926,4051:254660,4069
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Mason's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Mason lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Mason describes his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Mason describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Mason describes his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Mason talks about his mother's career and civil rights work

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Mason describes his parents' lineage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Mason describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul Mason describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paul Mason lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Paul Mason describes his family's large holiday celebrations

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Paul Mason remembers attending Ludlow Elementary School in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Paul Mason talks about his parents integrating Shaker Heights, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Paul Mason talks about his parents integrating Shaker Heights, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Mason talks about the history of integration in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Mason describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Mason remembers important teachers from Ludlow Elementary School in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Mason remembers the day President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Mason reflects upon his early awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Mason remembers his interests and activities at Ludlow Elementary School in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Mason remembers meeting Jim Brown and watching the Cleveland Browns

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paul Mason describes his childhood experiences of church

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paul Mason talks about fitting in at Woodbury Junior High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Paul Mason remembers his influences while attending Woodbury Junior High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Mason recalls the impacts of black nationalism at Woodbury Junior High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Mason remembers his identity conflicts and ideals at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Mason explains how playing football at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut made him aware of social fissures

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Mason explains how his college studies of classics helped broaden his worldview

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Mason describes his experience teaching at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Mason talks about his initial interest in broadcast journalism at Columbia University in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Mason remembers how his coverage of race riots in England in 1981 led to his first job at ABC

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paul Mason remembers how his experience covering the Liverpool, England race riots confirmed his love of journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Mason recalls quitting ABC in 1981 and being re-hired for a producing job

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Mason talks about the lack of African American representation at ABC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Mason describes efforts to increase diversity in broadcast journalism in the 1970s and 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Mason talks about being an operations producer for ABC's overnights news and the importance of editing news footage

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Mason describes his hiring as producer for 'PrimeTime Live'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Mason talks about two episodes he produced on 'PrimeTime Live'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul Mason talks about teaching at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paul Mason talks about the increasing commercialization of television news

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul Mason talks about his position as senior vice president of news at ABC

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Mason reflects upon the increased presence of African Americans in the media and in media representations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Mason reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Mason shares his future plans and goals

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Mason describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$3

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Paul Mason talks about his position as senior vice president of news at ABC
Paul Mason talks about his initial interest in broadcast journalism at Columbia University in New York, New York
Transcript
Let's talk about your current position now as senior vice president of news here at ABC. What do you think that that says about the network in general in terms of--well actually I mean is this where you want to be in terms of power, making decisions, that kind of thing?$$Today. For today. For today. I didn't expect this.$$Why didn't you expect this?$$'Cause part of why I left to go to [University of California] Berkeley [Berkeley, California] was because I, I had decided that, that something like this wasn't gonna happen. I'd wanted to be an executive producer for most of my career you know. I, I, I wanted to control content and broadcast. I did--you know and I didn't think it was gonna happen so I went to Berkeley. And you know they brought me back from Berkeley in order to be the executive producer of the evening news on the weekend. But for the most part, you know I did not--this is not something that I thought actually was gonna happen and I was very, very surprised when it did. Now, now that I'm here, this, you know, it's, it's, it's a great challenge, but is this my lifelong ambition? No, it's really kind of not, but what I realize is that this is a great credential. So they'll--I have other, I've got other thoughts and other things that I wanna do. But I'm not turning my nose down at this you know. I, I get to do, I mean you know I, I ran the--our coverage of the [2004] Democratic [National Convention, Boston, Massachusetts] and Republican national conventions [2004 Republic National Convention, New York, New York], I ran our coverage of all four debates. The three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate. I actually picked where was--a group of four people that picked the questions that were asked in the St. Louis [Missouri] debate this year, the town meeting debate. You know, I ran our coverage on election night. I never thought that, that I would be doing that. In the middle of the night we had to make a decision about whether we were gonna call Ohio for [President George Walker] Bush and there were 130 some thousand votes that were still uncounted that were still out there, the provisional ballots. Bush had a lead of about 100 and a fudgable lead maybe 130 maybe 120,000 votes and in, in consultation with David Wes [ph.] and the president of the news division you know, I made the recommendation, we're not calling Ohio. There's too many votes out there. We don't know what they are. We're not gonna check that box off and we're gonna--we'll be comfortable with the fact that we're not gonna call it right now. To be able to do that to be able to say that, that, that was a kick in the pants that was you know I was very pleased.$What, at that particular time when you went to Columbia [University, New York, New York] what was happening with TV and journalism at that time?$$To be absolutely truthful with you, I don't have a clue. Because what, what I, I was gonna go be a reporter for The New York Times.$$Um-hm. So you were gonna be a print man.$$I was, I was gonna go to print. You know, I--it didn't matter to me you know. Television was not something I was thinking about.$$Right.$$You know I wanted to go write. But it happened that, that everyone takes six weeks television and, and my mentor, a guy named Penn Kimball at Columbia, who was a senior faculty member, he, he noticed. He said, "You know you got a, you got a kind of knack in television. I think you ought to think about that." I said, "Penn, I wanna, I wanna be in The New York Times like you were." He said, "Don't be stupid. Go to television, you can go, you know, that's a license to print money, go into television." And, and it happened that I was--I entered the fall of 1980 at which it would mean I'd graduated the spring of 1981 and in March of 1981 Max Robinson went to Smith College [Northampton, Massachusetts] and he was, at the time he was one of the three anchors of, of Roone Arledge's 'World News Tonight.' Roone had started here at ABC in 1978. And he was revolutionizing what ABC News was. He was bringing some of what was ABC Sports and 'Wide World of Sports' into news and so what had been a staid and somewhat stodgy and also--ran news division was suddenly picking up and they hired Max to be an anchorman, so here was a black anchorman at ABC. And after three years of that Max went to Smith College and gave a speech and marched where he basically criticized the network for being, you know, basically back in the, back in the '50s [1950s] in terms of race and in terms of, you know, he was window dressing, that there was no one behind the scenes making any decisions. There was no one--you know you couldn't find a black anywhere in a position of power who actually called the shots and that all he did was came on and he, and he read the news. And, and at the time I was, you know, I wasn't paying much attention to this but I was excelling in television. And by then I was in our television workshop and I was kind of, I was kind of running the deal you know. We'd put on a weekly television show and, and--$$Was it a news show?$$Yeah we put on a weekly news show and when it--and we worked Thursday and Friday. And by Friday afternoon the show was on and whenever I had an opportunity to run the deal, that's what I was all about. Let's run it, let's go. Let's get it, you know. And you know I mean it was--I was back to being the captain of the football team. Back to being student council president you know, like here we go. And I was very, very comfortable and I loved the edit room and I loved being out in shooting and I loved everyday kind of talking to people, it just, it just you know I was in my, I hit my stride.$$Did you ever think about, were you loving the producing aspect and the decision making that went into producing or what was some of your thoughts about being on air?$$Well I loved it all; I loved it all you know. It just all was--it was a whole new world. It was, it was something that, you know. And my father [Theodore Mason] was a dentist as I said. My mother [Beverly Sinkford Mason] was a social worker. I had a--my mother has a cousin, had a cousin who worked for NBC in the '60s [1960s] and was a reporter at the White House [Washington, D.C.], a guy named Bill Madden. It was one of the few black people who ever you know, you know, you could imagine when I was growing up, when a black person was on television everybody would call out, oh my god quick--$$Right.$$--come look. But somebody was making decisions behind the scenes, unheard of. So, so by the spring of '81 [1981] Max gives his speech and I'm, I'm not paying attention, I'm just trying to, you know, keep my head down and do what my parents taught me to do which was achieve.

Donald C. Richards

A leading proponent of diversity and affirmative action in the marketing and entertainment industries, advertising executive Donald C. Richards was born in Chicago on February 24, 1938. Richards earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1959.

Richards taught high school for a year in Chicago before returning to the University of Chicago to earn his M.A. in history in 1962. He then spent three years at IBM as a systems manager before joining Leo Burnett Worldwide, one of the world's largest advertising agencies, in 1966. During his twenty-two years at Leo Burnett, Richards became the company's first African American vice president and managed accounts for such clients as Proctor and Gamble, McDonald's, Pillsbury and United Airlines. In his thirty years in advertising, Richards also worked on projects for Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch. He returned to Leo Burnett in 1990 to manage the company's global diversity program.

After serving as president of D.C. Richards & Associates, an ad agency specializing in multicultural marketing, Richards joined the Screen Actors Guild in New York as its associate national director of affirmative action and diversity. Richards develops and promotes educational programs, conferences and workshops designed to raise diversity awareness across the entertainment industry. He also works with professional associations of broadcasters and recording artists to help increase minority participation.

Accession Number

A2003.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/21/2003

Last Name

Richards

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Schools

Burnside Elementary Scholastic Academy

Christian Fenger Academy High School

University of Chicago

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

RIC05

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Flexible

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Availability Specifics: Days in NYC, Weekends in Chicago
Preferred Audience: Flexible

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

A Long Journey Begins With One Step.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/24/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

Short Description

Advertising executive, media executive, and association chief executive Donald C. Richards (1938 - ) worked for twenty-two years at Leo Burnett becoming the company's first African American vice president. Richards is a leading advocate for diversity and affirmative action in the advertising and entertainment industries.

Employment

IBM

Leo Burnett Company, Inc.

D.C. Richards & Associates

Chicago Public Schools

DuSable High School

Screen Actors Guild

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Richards' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Richards lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Richards describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Richards describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Richards describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Richards describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Richards describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Richards describes confronting race issues for the first time

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Richards describes his experiences playing in Abbott Park as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Richards describes his experiences attending Fenger High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald Richards describes his extracurricular activities as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Donald Richards talks about his high school graduation speech and studying the liberal arts in high school and college

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Richards describes the courses he took at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Richards talks about William Boyd Allison Davis and the lack of black instructors at the University of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Richards describes his experiences attending the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Richards describes the social culture of the University of Chicago during the early 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Richards talks about majoring in anthropology at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Richards describes his experiences working as a teacher at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Richards describes why he quit teaching and to become a systems engineer for IBM

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Richards describes his experiences working for IBM

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Richards describes being hired as a market research analyst at Leo Burnett

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald Richards describes working at Leo Burnett

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Richards talks about the history of the advertising business

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Richards describes his experiences working in the advertising business

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Richards describes his experiences working as an account executive for Leo Burnett

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Richards talks about some of his clients

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Richards describes issues surrounding race in the advertising business

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Richards describes how African American audiences were marketed towards over time

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald Richards comments on subliminal advertising

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald Richards describes the work that goes into advertising

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald Richards describes how African American music and culture has become mainstream

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Donald Richards describes his role as Associate National Director of Affirmative Action and Diversity for the Screen Actors Guild

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Richards describes the evolution of diversity in the film and television industries

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Richards describes how marginalized groups can increase their visibility in the film and television industries

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Richards talks about increasing the quality of film and television roles afforded to minorities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Richards describes the challenges surrounding diversity in the film and television industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Richards shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Richards reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Richards talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$10

DATitle
Donald Richards talks about the history of the advertising business
Donald Richards describes his role as Associate National Director of Affirmative Action and Diversity for the Screen Actors Guild
Transcript
Well tell us about the advertising business. What--?$$Well the advertising agency business really started back in the last part of the nineteenth century out in Philadelphia, New York, and it really was a different business than it is today. Basically, they were publishers' representatives. You know they could get some business for the publications, and that's what an advertising guy did. The publications would actually do the ads. But it evolved into an industry where the advertising agency became the specialist in actually doing the ads, doing the market research, finding out what consumers wanted, what they wanted to hear about a product. But really was big in the 1920s, I mean, I think that was really where people really started talking about the advertising business was a big, big business and it was primarily out east in New York, primarily a rich boy's business. And I say boy, man, because women weren't really that involved at the beginning. And it was a rich boy's business because if you graduated from the ivy league schools and your father had some contacts in business, you would use those contacts to bring business to your advertising agency, so that was--that's kind of the connection that I went on. The heyday of advertising initially was in the '20s' (1920s) when industry was really booming and the building was going on and products were being developed, and the consumers, after World War I you know were beginning to have money and during the '20s' (1920s). So advertising agencies sold or helped these companies sell their products to people. African Americans are nowhere near this business obviously since it was conducted at the highest levels and at that time, African Americans weren't considered worthy enough to be involved in that. So when I got involved in the business in the '60s' (1960s), we were kind of pioneers. Ebony Magazine had started back in the late '40s' (1940s), advertisers had gone to them and placed ads for liquors and cigarettes and other businesses for black consumers, people who made products for black people like hair pomades. Of course they advertised in those publications. But there really weren't any African Americans in these big advertising agencies.$Okay. Now tell me about how you'd get involved with the Screen Actors Guild [SAG]?$$Ah-ha. Actually it's kind of a--it's part of the advertising milieu, if you will. When I was in the advertising agency business, obviously we used actors and actresses in commercials, but we were on the other side of the table, we were the employer. As a consultant in my later years in the business, I got concerned about a lot of issues in the business, particularly behind the scene, etc. I also met somebody in the business who worked in our business who was going to work for the Screen Actors Guild and asked me to come over. And I wasn't that interested in doing it, but the more I talked to him, the more I got interested, and I thought it was an aspect that I'd like to do the other side. I had actually retired from the advertising agency business and I thought I could use a lot of my experiences to do this specific job. He became the national director of affirmative action and diversity, and asked me to become the associate national director. Basically, he runs LA [Los Angeles], I run New York. And so I thought it would be fine and I'd lived in New York before so that wasn't that intimidating. I still have my home in Chicago, my wife is still in Chicago, I have an apartment here in the New York area and I go to Chicago every weekend. But I spend all of my weekdays working for the Screen Actors Guild in that position. Now that position is interesting because what we're trying to do is get certain groups of actors more in front of camera, more into the casting sessions, more into the TV programs, more into the commercials and that's what appealed to me. I've always been involved in trying to get more of the minorities into these positions, behind the camera, in front of the camera. So I really work with four groups--four committees of the Screen Actors Guild, quite a bit. I work with seniors, I work with the performers with disabilities. Many actors and actresses are disabled. I work with the ethnic groups that have been under-represented in the business, African Americans, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans. And I also work with the Women's Committee. After the age of about thirty-five or forty, women have a tough time in this business. So it's a broader job than just the racial minorities, but it involves talking to producers, monitoring data on casting data and audition data, looking at the TV series, talking to casting directors, taking initiatives, coming up with ideas on how to get the story of those groups in front of producers and casting people, screen writers, writers in the advertising agency business so that they can consider these groups more.