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Roshell "Mike" Anderson

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, television news reporter Roshell “Mike” Anderson was born on September 16, 1952 in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in New Orleans. His mother, Mellenese Magee Anderson moved to New Orleans where she was a cook at The Court of Two Sisters Restaurant. His father, Robert Anderson, was a sergeant in the Korean War. Anderson was raised in the Algiers Church of God in Christ, where he first gained experience in public speaking and singing for an audience. In 1968, he developed a popular impression of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Graduating from Clarke High School in New Orleans in 1970, Anderson, known as “Cool Breeze,” patterned himself after Dr. Daddyo, a local radio personality, and CBS-TV news anchor, Walter Cronkite. Anderson attended Louisiana State University and the Career Academy School of Broadcast Journalism in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1971.

Anderson earned his first class license in Atlanta in 1970 and worked at a number of southern radio stations, including WXNS, WKLS, WAOK, as announcer and disc jockey. He has been known as Roshell Magee and General Frank Magee. Anderson developed a singing and song writing career before getting involved with television. His 1972 record, “Snake out of Green Grass” made the Billboard charts followed by “Grapevine Will Lie Sometimes” in 1974. Anderson then took to the concert circuit. He joined WLWI-FM in Montgomery, Alabama in 1978 and switched to rival WXVI-FM in 1979. That same year, Anderson got his start in television at WAPI-TV in Birmingham, Alabama. As a news reporter, “Mike” Anderson covered the tense case of a black woman shot nine times by Birmingham police.

Before joining WISN-TV 12 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Anderson worked as a news anchor and reporter at KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington. During his tenure at WISN, Anderson has been the recipient of many awards, including his work on the award-winning documentaries Children in the Line of Fire and Solutions to Violence. He has interviewed four American presidents: Richard M. Nixon, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He is a current member of the Wisconsin Black Media Association.

Anderson lives in Brown Deer, Wisconsin and has three children: Nicole, Mellenese and Michael. When not reporting the news, he is still a professional recording artist; cutting the album, Sweet and Sour Soul in 1988 and Rolling Over in 2006.

Accession Number




Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category

Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School

Career Academy

Andrew J. Bell Junior High School

McDonogh No. 32 Literacy Charter School

Washington Parish Elementary School

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First Name

Roshell "Mike"

Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season




Favorite Quote

Good Lord Willing.Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch.

Bio Photo
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Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Collard Greens, Neckbones, Okra

Short Description

Television news reporter, musician and singer, and radio dj Roshell "Mike" Anderson (1952 - ) was an anchor and reporter for WISN-TV Channel 12 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had an extensive career as a radio personality, singer and songwriter before starting his television career.


WGOV Radio

WERD Radio

WLWI Radio




Nashboro Records

Sunburst Records, Ltd.

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Timing Pairs

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roshell "Mike" Anderson's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Roshell "Mike" Anderson's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roshell "Mike" Anderson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roshell "Mike" Anderson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roshell "Mike" Anderson remembers his maternal grandfather's stories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roshell "Mike" Anderson describes his great aunt and great uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roshell "Mike" Anderson describes his upbringing in Franklinton, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roshell "Mike" Anderson describes his mother's employment







Roshell "Mike" Anderson remembers the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Roshell "Mike" Anderson recalls joining WAPI-TV in Birmingham, Alabama
Now tell us something about J.S. Clark [Joseph S. Clark High School; Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School, New Orleans, Louisiana]. Now, what, was this--this is an all-black high school in--?$$We had one or two white students at Clark--$$Okay.$$--when I was there. One of 'em I think played on the football team. But, it was primar- predominantly black school, Clark was, yeah.$$Okay. All right. And, so, you went there all four years?$$In a black neighborhood, yeah.$$And, did you, did you run for class office or anything like that, or (unclear)?$$Didn't run for any class office.$$Okay.$$I participated in, I did a couple of talent shows. A couple in particular where I recited Dr. Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] speech, after he died in '68 [1968]. At a talent show after that and I did his, I did his I Have a Dream speech.$$Now, were you, in high school when he was--$$Yes.$$Killed?$$Yeah.$$Okay. Can you remember how it affected you and the other students at the time?$$It affect--it had a tremendous impact on me and the other students. And, I had, in the talent show, I, as I said, I did Dr. King's speech. And, I had it down so pat, I could sound just like him. And, deliver it just like him. And, the kids, a lot of 'em thought that when Dr. King died, he was passing, you know, his, his role in life on down to me 'cause I could sound just--'cause I could deliver just like him. And, I became so--and they would call me, people would call me to come to whatever event to do that speech. And, I got so into it that my mom [Mellenese Magee Anderson] started to worry about me. To think that, you know, "No, son, I mean, Dr. King is gone, you're not gonna be Dr. King. You're not Dr. King." And, I had to catch myself too, to realize that no, I'm not the second coming of Dr. King. And, but, it was amazing how I could, without a whole lot of effort, just stand there, and if you didn't know he wasn't in the room, you'd think it was him. And, we were all--because Dr. King, at that time, he was, he was the inspiration that guided us all, you know. We had James Brown of course, 'Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud' those kinds of things. But, Dr. King being the, being the--he was the Moses of, of our time. And, even as young people, you know, we saw that and understood that. So, yeah, when he died it was a tremendous--$$Now, were there riots in New Orleans [Louisiana] when he, when he died?$$I don't recall that there were riots in New Orleans. Not like there were at some other places, no.$And, that was a good time in my life. And, then my news director at WLWI [WLWI Radio, Montgomery, Alabama] left that station and went to Birmingham [Alabama] as a producer. His name was Jimmy Carter [ph.]. Not to be confused with the President Jimmy Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] at the time. But, his name was Jimmy Carter. And, he went to work for WAPI [WAPI-TV] at the time, it's now WVTM [WVTM-TV], Channel 13 in Birmingham, and--as a producer. And, they were looking for more reporters to add on to their staff, so he recommend me. This is a TV station. I'd never done television before. But, I'm thinking, wow, you know, this might be a shot. So, I went up to WAPI and the news director--I made a resume tape of my voice work, gave that to 'em. But, they wanted to see what I could do on camera. So, I went up, they liked my resume, they sent me out on a story and--with another reporter who was gonna report for that day. But, they wanted me to do the same story so they could view it behind the scenes to see how I present it. I asked the guy, the reporter I was with, I said, "What's the hardest thing to do--?" About putting together a story. And, the reporter told me it was a stand up. He said his hardest thing for him to do is to stand in front of that camera and deliver a stand up. And, so, I thought to myself, okay, if that's the hardest thing to do, that's what I'm gonna do. So, I did my whole story straight stand up, wrote it, rememorized it, and did the whole thing stand up. And, then the editor, the photographer who was with us, he says, "Don't you wanna put some B-roll over that?" I said, "B-ro- ?" I didn't know what B-roll was. That meant cover shots, okay. Then I says, "Well, I suppose you could, yeah." Threw a little cover shots over there, put a sound bite in there, and then the news director said that's what he was impressed with. The fact that I was able to stand in front of the camera, with cars passing behind me, and I wasn't distracted, did the whole thing. Took me like two takes, but I did it. So, I got the job. And, I became a reporter there at W- WAPI, Channel 13.$$Okay. This is nineteen seventy--$$Seventy-nine [1979].$$--nine [1979]. Okay.