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Jefferi Lee

Television executive Jefferi Keith Lee was born on January 24, 1957 in South Boston, Virginia to General and Nannie Lee. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Robert E. Lee Elementary School, and then graduated from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Lee studied radio, television and film at Missouri Valley College and at the University of Maryland in College Park.

In 1979, after working as an intern at the CBS affiliate WDVM-TV in Washington, D.C., Lee was hired as a production assistant for Morning Break and Harambee. Subsequently, he joined the production staff of television's first weekly newsmagazine show, PM Magazine, and became the show's associate producer in 1981. Then, in 1982, Lee was hired as the network operations manager for Black Entertainment Television. He was promoted to executive vice president of network operations in 1992, which expanded his responsibilities to oversee the development of two new BET networks including BET On Jazz: The Cable Jazz Channel, and BET International. Lee left BET as executive vice president in 1998 and founded Lee Productions, a communications consulting firm. Then, from 2005 until 2008, he served as executive director and president of the Bio-Defense Research Group. Lee was named general manager of Howard University's PBS outlet, WHUT-TV, in 2011.

Lee has also been involved in various non-profit organizations where he served on the boards of Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Easter Seals, and as a member of the Georgia Tech Presidents Advisory Board. Lee was also an elder member of the Olive Branch’s Elder Board. He serves as the chief executive officer of the Brandon Carrington Lee Foundation with his wife, Tina Mance-Lee, who serves as chief operating officer. Lee has also lectured at Howard University and taught as a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Lee and his wife live in Silver Spring, Maryland. They have two sons: Brandon Lee (deceased) and Jefferi Lee, a web developer.

Jefferi Lee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.269

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/24/2013 |and| 2/1/2014

Last Name

Lee

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Keith

Schools

St. Joseph's Catholic School

University of Maryland

Missouri Valley College

T.C. Williams High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jefferi

Birth City, State, Country

South Boston

HM ID

LEE06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lake Louise, Canada

Favorite Quote

Even if I die it doesn't mean that God didn't heal me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/24/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Television executive Jefferi Lee (1957 - ) , general manager of Howard University’s WHUT-TV, founded Lee Productions and served as the executive vice president of Black Entertainment Television from 1992 to 1998.

Employment

WHUT TV

Bio-Defense Research Group

BET

WDVM TV

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jefferi Lee's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jefferi Lee lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jefferi Lee describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jefferi Lee talks about his mother, Nannie Jane Carrington, her involvement in her community, and her employment

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jefferi Lee describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jefferi Lee describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jefferi Lee talks about his father's growing up in South Boston, Virginia, and his service in the U.S. Army in the Korean War

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jefferi Lee talks about his parents' different family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jefferi Lee talks about his parents' move to Alexandria, Virginia, and his father's employment

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jefferi Lee talks about his likeness to his father, his mother's last months, and his parents' emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jefferi Lee talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jefferi Lee describes his favorite childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jefferi Lee talks about the neighborhood where his family lived in Alexandria, Virginia, and his childhood there

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jefferi Lee talks about the demographics of Alexandria, Virginia in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jefferi Lee talks about attending elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jefferi Lee talks about his role models in school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jefferi Lee talks about his favorite subject in school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jefferi Lee talks about his interest in baseball as a young boy

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jefferi Lee talks about his mother's death in 1971 and his family's life afterwards

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jefferi Lee describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jefferi Lee talks about the teachers who influenced him in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jefferi Lee talks about his cross-country trip after graduating from high school, and his trip to Canada with his father and siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jefferi Lee talks about his sister's role in his family, and his initial hesitation towards attending college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jefferi Lee discusses his decision to attend Missouri Valley College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jefferi Lee describes his experience at Missouri Valley College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jefferi Lee talks about having his own radio show at Missouri Valley College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jefferi Lee talks about transferring to the University of Maryland, College Park, and interning at WDVM, Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jefferi Lee talks about his job in the mailroom at WDVM in Washington, D.C., and his opportunity to join the management trainee program

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jefferi Lee talks about his production experience at WDVM in Washington, D.C., and his mentors there

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jefferi Lee talks about leaving WDVM station to join Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1982, during its early days

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jefferi Lee talks about his experience at Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jefferi Lee talks about "Petey" Greene

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jefferi Lee talks about the growth of Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jefferi Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television (BET)'s increased programming, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jefferi Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television (BET)'s increased programming, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jefferi Lee talks about brand loyalty for Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jefferi Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television (BET)'s jazz programming and news and public affairs programming

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jefferi Lee describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Jefferi Lee talks about brand loyalty for Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Jefferi Lee talks about his job in the mailroom at WDVM in Washington, D.C., and his opportunity to join the management trainee program
Transcript
I know Lewis Carr was telling us that when he went to advertisers, he would often talk about how the community, the black community was more loyal to BET [Black Entertainment Television] than say, you know, the community watching some other stations.$$Right, right. We had a lot of brand loyalty, and it displayed itself in many ways, I mean just in terms of, just viewers, one, but I mean I recall several times, one time in particular, I was in San Francisco [California]. And I was checking into a hotel late one night. And I was at the counter, and I was checking in. And I gave the lady my credit card, and it had BET on the credit card. And she just went berserk. She said, "Are you with BET?" She said, wow, we love BET at my house. We, and it was that kind of feeling that you would get traveling all over the country when we would meet black people who'd seen BET. It was a sense of, we were caretakers of a, you know, a national monument to some extent, that BET was ours. And the public felt like that. I remember another time when we went public. This was back in '91 [1991], I think it was when we first went, New York Stock Exchange, when BET went public. The night before we went public, Bob [Robert Johnson] wanted all the senior staff to go up to New York and spend the night and be there for in the morning. Well, Curtis Simmons and I, our kids had games that night. So we wanted to be here for our kids' games. So we told Bob, we'll get there first thing in the morning. So we stayed, went to the game, that morning, got up, rushed up to New York. And we got in a cab from the airport and we told the guy we wanted to go to the Stock Exchange on Wall Street. And he said, what's the address? I'm like, you don't know where Wall Street is? Anyway, we finally get there. The traffic was so bad. We were running late. So we jumped out of the cab, Curtis and I, and went running up the street. And we got to the building, it was the employee entrance to the Stock Exchange. And we went in the building, and this, the guy said, I'm sorry, you have to go out and go around and go in the main entrance. And there were two gentlemen back behind the desk that were in the maintenance crew. They were African Americans. And they said, they spoke up and said, are you with BET, 'cause everybody at the New York Stock Exchange knew that BET was going public, everybody black anyway, knew that BET was going public today. They said, are you with BET? And we said, yes. They said, come on. We'll take you in there. We'll take you in. And they marshaled us in. I mean they escorted us in all the way up to the chairman's office. And the pride that was in these guys' faces and in their voice, of something that they had nothing to do with. They weren't stockholders in BET, weren't going to be stockholders in BET. But the pride on their face, the excitement that they had, just by, it was like, it's still ours. This is ours going public today. And I always remember that about BET and my time at BET in that, it made me feel like I was the caretaker of some real property that black America said was ours. And that was really touching.$$This was almost like being an ambassador for a country.$$In a lot of ways, in a lot of ways. I remember traveling in, I was in South Africa once, and I was at a reception. And a guy came up to me, he said, well, first of all, he said, how does it feel from being--being from the greatest country in the world? I said, ah, (laughter), "Don't believe the hype all the time." (Laughter) And I said, it's not all paved in gold. I said, that's not really what it's like. And he said, well, how does it feel, you know, BET, being this great entity? And I told him, I said, you know, it's hard work. I mean I told him, because for so long, I was just at work. I didn't have the idea or the sense of how the rest of the--not just the country, but the world saw us. And it was really eye opening several times to go to different places and see that the brand itself had gone beyond just a television channel. It spoke to something of black America.$$So this is the first black television cable network, first black company to go to the New York--(simultaneous)--$$Public, yeah.$$--Stock Exchange, go public. So this is, you know, people felt like it was theirs, right?$$That's right.$$Which sets us up for (laughter)--$$Yeah.$$No, we won't get there yet. We're--$$(Laughter) (whew).$$We move along, you know--$$Okay.$Now, was it, did you, did somebody at the University of Maryland [College Park] like, you know, help you get that job (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Well, you know, I had an internship at Channel 9 when I first came there, working at 'Morning Break' first. And I did the internship there, and after the first, I think it was after my first internship ended, I got home, and I got a phone call from the production manager, and told me that there was a job open at the station and to get my behind back to the station and apply for that job that was in the mailroom. And I said, mailroom, I wanna be in TV production. And I was told, no, you wanna job in the station. You get where you wanna be later, but right now, you want a job in the station. So I came back and applied, and I got a job in the mailroom. So I was working in there. So, once again, I got great advice from people around me. The guys in the mailroom, I would sit and talk with them, and they'd say, then they would tell me, we know everything that's going on in the station before anybody else. He said, so, understand that we know everybody. And I got to know from the people in the mailroom to the general manager's cook, all the people who were behind the scenes, but heard everything that was going on in the station and knew how things worked in the station. So that was a great education for me to be in that environment, right, didn't have to be sitting in the executive suite all the time. These are the people (laughter) who really under--who knew what was going on, really, whether they understood or not was another issue. But they knew what was going on. And so after I spent some time in the mailroom, there was another job open, film--I forget the actual title of the, the name of the job, but it was the person who put breaks in film. The station ran movies in the afternoon, and somebody had to look at the movies and decide where the breaks went in the movie. Now, because of union restrictions, I couldn't actually do the film editing, but I could look at the film, but the marks in the film where the breaks would be and everything. So I did that for a while. Also, in the station doing that and doing other kinds of things whatever I could find, the people who needed something done, I would volunteer to do that to be that person, to be with them. And then the management trainee position opened up, and I was asked if I--I was, I'll never forget. I was at a function one night. The sales department was having a function at an ad agency somewhere downtown, and the general manager of the station was there. And one of the people introduced me, one of the station employees introduced me to the general manager. And he said to me, he said, what--so, after we were talking, he said, so what do you wanna do? And I said, I want your job. And he said, oh, really (laughter)? He said, okay, we'll see about that. And so from that day forward, so then I got into the management, the training--management trainee program. And I got to go around the station and see all the different areas of the station, and how they worked from the programming side to the sales side to the news side, to the operations side, technical side, all of the different things that help put the station together and make it work. So that was, again, a very good learning experience.

Fran Harth

Television executive Frances Harth graduated with her B.A. degree in English literature from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. While there, she studied for one semester at the University of Mexico in Mexico City. She earned her B.A. degree in radio and television journalism from Columbia College of Communications and completed graduate coursework at the State University of New York. In addition, Harth attended a certificate in executive management from the Wisconsin School of Business School at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Harth began her career as an editor for IBM in Endicott, New York. She also acted in a feature film and on stage with the Susquehanna Players. After moving to Chicago, Illinois, Harth was hired as a secondary English teacher for the Chicago Board of Education and worked as a freelance editor for the University of Chicago Press. Harth served as associate producer for the nationally syndicated “It’s Academic” television quiz show produced by Channel 5 (NBC) in Chicago. When the series was picked up by Channel 2 (CBS), she continued with the series and also worked on various specials at WBBM Channel 2.

Harth went on to become vice president of program development and syndication for national productions at Window To The World Communications, Inc. (WTTW/Chicago). While there, she worked to developed programming for national public television and served as the executive producer of the show “David Broza at Masada;” the documentary series, “Retirement Revolution;” and the reality show “Retirement Revolution: The New Reality.” Harth also created and served as the executive producer of two national PBS shows: “The Americas’ Family Kitchen with Vertamae Grosvenor,” and “MindBody Connection with Les Brown.” She authored the book, The Americas’ Family Kitchen with Vertamae Grosvenor (1996); wrote opinion articles for ELANCYL magazine. In addition, Harth has been invited to lecture on topics including feminism and women’s rights at the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, as well as other civic groups in Chicago.

Harth has served on the board of directors of the Midwest Women’s Center (1984-1986) and the Newhouse Architectural Foundation. She has been involved with the Milan Committee of the Chicago International Sister Cities Committee and the Film Center Committee of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Harth’s professional affiliations include the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, American Women in Radio and Television, and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Frances J. Harth was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.225

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/23/2013

Last Name

Harth

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Jean

Schools

University of Wisconsin-Madison

State University of New York at Binghamton

Columbia College Chicago

DePaul University

University of Mexico

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Frances

Birth City, State, Country

Demopolis

HM ID

HAR42

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

Everything Is In Divine Order.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/28/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Shellfish Bouillabaisse

Short Description

Television executive Fran Harth (1940 - ) served as an associate producer at Channel 5 (NBC) in Chicago and at WBBM Channel 2, and went on to become vice president of program development and syndication for national productions at Window To The World Communications, Inc.

Employment

Window to the World Communications, Inc.

NBC

CBS

Chicago Board of Education

Chicago University Press

International Business Machines (IBM)

Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Johnathan Rodgers

Johnathan Arlin Rodgers was born on January 18, 1946 in San Antonio, Texas. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a soldier in the United States Air Force. As a “military brat,” Rodgers lived in a number of countries and states. He graduated from Rantoul High School in Rantoul, Illinois in 1963. While at Rantoul, he worked on the school paper and was a member of the wrestling team.

In 1967, Rodgers received his bachelor’s of arts degree in journalistic studies from the University of California - Berkeley. While studying at Berkeley, he was sports editor of the campus newspaper, a member of the football team and pledged to the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

From 1967 until 1968, Rodgers worked at Sports Illustrated Magazine. He was the first African American journalist hired by the publication. His beat included track and field and college basketball. His article, “The Plight of the Black Athlete,” highlighted the struggles African American athletes encountered in both the college and professional arenas. From 1968 until 1969, Rodgers served as the editor of urban affairs for Newsweek Magazine.

In 1969, Rodgers was drafted in the United States Army and served at Fort Jackson, South Carolina until 1971. In 1973, he earned his master’s degree in communications from Stanford University, and then worked as a writer / producer for WNBC in New York. In 1974, Rodgers was hired as a general assignment reporter for WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, and the following year he transitioned from on-air personality to management when he accepted the assistant news director’s position at WBBM-TV in Chicago. This began a successful career at CBS, where he would serve as news director, general manager, executive producer for CBS News and the president of the network’s television station division. In 1998, Rodgers left CBS and was hired by Discovery Networks. During his six years at Discovery, the network increased viewers by the millions and added nearly a dozen new stations. His responsibilities included all aspects of domestic television, programming, affiliate sales, advertising sales, marketing, research, development and communications.

In 2003, Rodgers was hired as the chief executive officer of TV-One, an entertainment and lifestyle cable television network targeting African American viewers. It is owned by Radio One and Comcast Cable.

Rodgers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 24, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.179

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/24/2004 |and| 10/13/2004

Last Name

Rodgers

Maker Category
Schools

Rantoul High School

Elmhurst Junior High School

University of California, Berkeley

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Johnathan

Birth City, State, Country

San Antonio

HM ID

ROD02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kenya

Favorite Quote

Everyone Has Their Fifteen Minutes Of Fame.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/18/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Peach Cobbler, Black Spaghetti

Short Description

Television executive Johnathan Rodgers (1946 - ) is the former editor of urban affairs for Newsweek magazine and worked as a general assignment reporter for WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio. Rodgers also served as the news director, general manager, and executive producer for CBS News, and the president of the network’s television station division.

Employment

Sports Illustrated Magazine

Newsweek Magazine

WNBC Radio

WKYC TV

WBBM TV

CBS News

Discovery Networks

TV One

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Johnathan Rodgers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his maternal family's success

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers considers the significance of Juneteenth celebrations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls the significance of his father's U.S. military career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers explains his paternal ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers holiday celebrations from his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls a typical day growing up in San Francisco, California

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers the Oakland, California community in which he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his time at Brookfield Elementary School in Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers considers generational shifts in African American culture

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon his elementary school in Japan

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers living in Japan during the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his temperament growing up in Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about attending Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon his childhood aspiration to be a journalist

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his family's move to Okinawa Island, Japan during his teenage years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his changing temperament as he matured

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon the way his aspirations evolved as a young adult

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his time at Rantoul Township High School in Rantoul, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his teachers and interests at Rantoul Township High School in Rantoul, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls his favorite subjects and activities at Rantoul Township High School in Rantoul, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about visiting Champaign-Urbana, Illinois as a high school student and his classmates' perception of him

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers shares his perspective on the Civil Rights Movement's impact on American society

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon his decision to attend the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his social activities as a student at Rantoul Township High School in Rantoul, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls his perspective on the Civil Rights Movement while living in Rantoul, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his civil rights participation at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers describes the impact of media coverage of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his journalistic aspirations and activities at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his leadership aspirations as a student at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls boycotting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls boycotting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers explains his reason for pursuing sports journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his reception as an African American sports journalist in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers joining Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers interning at Time Inc. in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about researching 'The Plight of the Black Athlete' for Sports Illustrated in the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about journalism chronicling the treatment of African American athletes during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about writing for Sports Illustrated

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls becoming editor of Newsweek's urban affairs section

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his experience at Newsweek

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers refusing to sign United States Oath of Allegiance when drafted by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers his experience in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers explains his decision to attend graduate school at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his experience at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers explains why he entered television management

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon the movement of African Americans into television management and production

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls lessons he learned while reporting for NBC News in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about leaving NBC in Cleveland, Ohio to follow his partner, Royal Kennedy, to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls being hired as assistant news director at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers details his transition from television reporting to management

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers explains the impact of television ratings on management decisions

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls his programming goals as assistant news director at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his membership in the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his return to television production at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers describes the long-news format at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his role as station manager at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers becoming an executive producer for CBS News in New York, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls his experiences as executive producer of 'CBS Morning News'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers recalls becoming general manager for WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers explains the purview of owned and operated television stations and general managers

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about the changes to network news broadcasts in the mid-1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his responsibilities as president of CBS Television Stations

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his transition from CBS Television Stations to Discovery Networks U.S.

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers shares his enthusiasm for Discovery Networks U.S.

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his tenure as president of Discovery Networks U.S.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers describes the development of non-fiction programming at Discovery Networks U.S.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers remembers discarded ideas for channels at Discovery Networks U.S.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about the success of The Learning Channel's programming

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his collaboration with HistoryMaker Alfred Liggins III to form TV One

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers details TV One's audience demographics

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers describes the relationship between TV One and Comcast Cable Communications, LLC

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon his vision for TV One

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about the reason for showing reruns on TV One

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Johnathan Rodgers details TV One's original programming

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about TV One's production and distribution

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Johnathan Rodgers explains why 'Get the Hook Up' is his favorite TV One show

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Johnathan Rodgers shares TV One's distribution goals

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Johnathan Rodgers reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about his relationship with his wife, Royal Kennedy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about balancing his and his wife's careers

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Johnathan Rodgers shares advice for pursuing a career in television management or reporting

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Johnathan Rodgers shares his perspective on the future of television programming

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Johnathan Rodgers describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Johnathan Rodgers describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Johnathan Rodgers talks about the impact of involving African Americans in television management and production

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Johnathan Rodgers remembers becoming an executive producer for CBS News in New York, New York
Johnathan Rodgers describes his collaboration with HistoryMaker Alfred Liggins III to form TV One
Transcript
And so you go back to Chicago [Illinois] and what year is this when you go back to Chicago?$$Well in-between Los Angeles [California] and Chicago I took a detour back to CBS News in New York [New York] where I became an executive producer. I became an executive producer of CBS's first overnight newscast. So I think they saw in my ability to produce long-form newscasts locally, then I might be able to do the same nationally. So as executive producer of a program called ['CBS News] Nightwatch' ['CBS Overnight News'] we were on the air live from 2:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. five days a week and, talk about real pleasure, I controlled four hours of network time. Now again, it was in the middle of the night, we did news, but we did news and entertainment, and I remember sitting in the control room one night, about 3:00 A.M., East Coast time, and I pick up the phone and there's a voice that I recognize, and it turns out it was in fact Sammy Davis, Jr., who said, "Yeah, man, I like what you're doing. I watch it all time," but that's the type of people who watch 'Night Watch,' it was people who worked in maternity wards, it was nursing mothers, it was entertainers, it was night shift workers, but we created this sort of unique cult among this late night news program.$$And what happened with 'Nightwatch'?$$Well 'Nightwatch' existed for quite a while, I, after less than a year, moved on and they put me in charge of the weekend newscast ['CBS Evening News,' weekend edition], so I went from nights to weekends, which were better I will tell you, because when I did 'Nightwatch' I worked one of those awful sort of two-shift days. I would work from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and then from 10:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M., so it was really, I think, hurting me physically. Fortunately my, my son [David Rodgers] was very young, and, and (laughter), I don't know if he could understand it or not but when the school teacher says, "What does your daddy do"? He says, "Sleep," (laughter), 'cause that's all I really I had time to do when I saw him, but then I moved to the weekend news. Good news there was I had two weekdays off and I was able to sort of regain my life, bad news was I worked on weekends, but that's okay because there were great news stories on the weekends and I was working with people like Charles Osgood and Bob Schieffer, and it just was wonderful television, and that's where I got my first sort of television executive ribbon because Charles Osgood we got him and he was coming from radio and he really wasn't that good on television, but he was a great hit on radio and, and I remember talking to him and saying, "You know, we need to find a way to signal to the audience that you're not the typical sort of blow-dried anchorman, that they shouldn't expect from you perfect diction and deep voice," and so what we decided to do was that if he wore his bow tie, it would say, "Hey, this guy's unique and he's unusual," and to this date Charlie gives me credit for having him wear a bow tie which he wears to this date.$And so you stayed at Discovery [Networks U.S.] for six years and why did you leave Discovery?$$Again, there was this opportunity to consolidate my finances by making a move at a certain time, but also in the back of my mind was this opportunity to help create a channel for African American adults. So when there was, when it turned out there was a contractual window in my contract, I decided to exercise it primarily to retire for the second time, and--$$The parachute, was it golden at this point?$$The parachute was there, no it had got to the silver level (laughter), albeit it hadn't gotten to gold yet, but it went up from bronze to silver. So again, I was then now able to take care of the rest of my family, so I took care of me and my wife [Royal Kennedy], and again truly planned to just sort of sit back and use the computer and watch TV and become a news junkie and read a lot, but again, like always, drove my wife crazy. I mean I don't know what it is (laughter), maybe she just didn't want me around the house. Maybe that's what she's trying to say, but then I met this wonderful human being named [HistoryMaker] Alfred Liggins [III], and Alfred Liggins is a young man who is the CEO of Radio One [Silver Spring, Maryland], and he had this dream, and wherewithal, to create another cable channel. He was a friend of Bob Johnson's, his mother was [HistoryMaker] Cathy Hughes, and under Cathy, Alfred had taken her empire from this one radio station in [Washington] D.C. to what is now seventy urban radio stations. He had turned that company around and made it a huge success. And what was important to him was to grow the family business and to really occupy all the platforms in the African American space and the television was one. We met, we hit it off, we lived a half mile away from each other, we both had similar visions. He has money, and, and he has vision, I have vision and I have operational skills so together we were able to create a template for what eventually became TV One [Silver Spring, Maryland].