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Princell Hair

Broadcast executive Princell Hair was born on February 2, 1967 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hair attended Fort Lauderdale High School and graduated in 1985. That same year, he enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy, where he spent the next four years. Hair was then admitted to Florida International University in Miami, graduating two years later with his B.S. degree in broadcast journalism. He entered the world of journalism soon after, working as a writer and producer for WPLG-TV and WSVN-TV, ABC and Fox-affiliated stations, respectively. In 1993, Hair was hired as an executive producer for Chicago’s WSVN-TV. After two years, he was hired as an assistant news director for the CBS station WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida. Hair was then named news director for Hearst television station WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, where he served from 1998 to 2001.

In 2001, Hair was hired by Viacom to oversee thirty nine CBS television stations. After two years with Viacom, he was appointed general manager for the Cable News Network (CNN) and later promoted to senior vice president at Turner Broadcasting, Inc. After enrolling at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia, Hair obtained his M.B.A. degree in 2006. He was then named senior vice president of news operations for Comcast SportsNet, two years later; and, in 2012, was promoted to senior vice president of news and talent for NBC Sports Group, overseeing talent recruitment, negotiation and development.

Hair has served on the board of directors of the Radio and Television News Directors Association/Foundation (RTNDA/F), and the board of visitors at Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. He won a 1994 Emmy Award in Chicago as Executive Producer of "Our Future Crisis," a broadcast special about inner-city violence. He is a former member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Black MBA Association and the National Association of Broadcasters. He and his wife have five children.

Princell Hair was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 21, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.130

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/21/2012

Last Name

Hair

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Emory University

Florida International University

Fort Lauderdale High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Princell

Birth City, State, Country

Fort Lauderdale

HM ID

HAI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anyplace Warm and Tropical

Favorite Quote

Managers do things right, but leaders do the right thing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

2/2/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Broadcast executive Princell Hair (1967 - ) is an Emmy Award winning journalist and senior vice president for NBC Sports Group.

Employment

NBC

Comcast SportsNet

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

CNN

Viacom Productions

WBAL TV

WKMG TV

WMMB TV

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Princell Hair's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Princell Hair lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Princell Hair describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Princell Hair talks about his mother's education and her childhood aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Princell Hair describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Princell Hair reflects upon his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Princell Hair describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Princell Hair talks about moving around during his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Princell Hair describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Princell Hair describes the church he attended, the National Church of God in Christ

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Princell Hair talks about his experience at North Side Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Princell Hair talks about his neighborhood peers' fear of white people

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Princell Hair talks about the demographics of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Princell Hair recalls his mother's initiative in helping him get a good education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Princell Hair describes his mentors in elementary school and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Princell Hair talks about the demographics of his school classrooms

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Princell Hair talks about his brother's trouble in school due to his mental handicap

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Princell Hair describes the challenges of growing up in the projects while attending school in a more affluent neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Princell Hair talks about his musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Princell Hair documents his interest in television as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Princell Hair talks about competing in the state championship with his high school track team

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Princell Hair talks about the history of Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Princell Hair reflect upon a negative encounter with the Fort Lauderdale police

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Princell Hair discusses his high school extracurricular activities and early career ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Princell Hair talks about his high school heroes in journalism including Max Robinson and Dwight Lauderdale

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Princell Hair talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy after high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Princell Hair talks about being named Mr. Fort Lauderdale in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Princell Hair talks about why he joined the U.S. Navy and the reason he was discharged

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Princell Hair discusses his dropping out of Florida Community College in Gainesville, Florida after becoming a father

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Princell Hair talks about the end of his relationship and moving to South Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Princell Hair talks about how he met his wife, Jodie Hair

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Princell Hair talks about his internship and job offer while attending Florida International University (FIU)

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Princell Hair talks about one of his mentors, Joel Cheatwood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Princell Hair describes his journalistic philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Princell Hair talks about the coverage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Princell Hair talks about important skill sets needed in news productions

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Princell Hair talks about producing news in a crisis situation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Princell Hair talks about his job offer from WDIV in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Princell Hair shares a story about his move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Princell Hair talks about an employment offer from WBBM Chicago in 1993

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Princell Hair shares some of the news stories from WBBM in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Princell Hair talks about his decision to leave WBBM Chicago after his mentor, John Lansing, departed

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Princell Hair talks about his first opportunity to run a newsroom in Orlando, Florida in 1995

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Princell Hair talks about workplace tensions at his first news director job in Chicago, Illinois in 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Princell Hair discusses the backlash at WMAQ Chicago after they hired Jerry Springer

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Princell Hair talks about his decision to move to WBAL Baltimore in 1998 after WMAQ Chicago's staff overhaul

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Princell Hair remembers some of the major stories at WBAL Baltimore

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Princell Hair discusses having to think on your feet during live coverage

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Princell Hair talks about WBAL Baltimore's superior coverage of the 2000 mayoral election

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Princell Hair discusses the importance of understanding live reporting in the newsroom

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Princell Hair remembers some of his favorite reporters

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Princell Hair talks about leaving the Hurst Group for Viacom in 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Princell Hair talks about his opportunity to join CNN in Atlanta, Georgia in 2003

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Princell Hair talks about lessons he learned as CNN's Domestic News Director and workplace politics

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Princell Hair talks about his time at CNN in Atlanta, Georgia and his decision to move into sports

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Princell Hair talks about going into sports news with the Comcast Sports Group in 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Princell Hair describes Comcast Sports' news programs and coverage

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Princell Hair describes what it is like to work in local sports news

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Princell Hair talks about Philadelphia's sports fans

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Princell Hair talks about developing sports news based on regional preferences

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Princell Hair describes his expanded role with NBC Sports Group

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Princell Hair discusses hiring former athletes and how they fare on air

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Princell Hair talks about the most successful regional sports stations

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Princell Hair describes his goal in broadcasting to own a network

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Princell Hair discusses the impact of his M.B.A. on his career

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Princell Hair talks about what he might do differently

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Princell Hair reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Princell Hair talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Princell Hair describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Princell Hair talks about his favorite phrase

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Princell Hair talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

4$11

DATitle
Princell Hair describes the challenges of growing up in the projects while attending school in a more affluent neighborhood
Princell Hair talks about his time at CNN in Atlanta, Georgia and his decision to move into sports
Transcript
Now--so you're living in two different worlds basically--back and forth. You even have the social dynamic in the white world--$$Right.$$--going on sleepovers and things like that.$$Right.$$So how were you accepted in your own community? You know, with that kind of background, was it tough on you?$$Yeah, that's a great question. It was a little challenging at times; I spoke differently than the other kids in my neighborhood. They always told me I talk white or I think I'm white, or I'm an Oreo--black on the outside, white on the inside. I got all of those, you know, those kinds of comments growing up. A lot of kids in my neighborhood just didn't understand me and didn't understand why I was the way that I was and, you know, again, it was just--I was different; I was different than they were. You know, I, I found acceptance at church. I think that may have been why I gravitated; it was just a much more accepting environment but, you know, when you're out on the, on the playground or out on the, on the basketball court and, you know, I'm the only one that talks the way that I do, you get ridiculed 'cause people don't understand it--$$Okay.$$--or they're threatened by it, or whatever it is, you know.$$So you didn't make any attempt to try to change the way you talked when you were back home?$$No, I, I, I didn't because it just wasn't, it wasn't me; it wasn't true to me and no matter what I--no matter if I tried, you know, if that's not who you are, you know, people are gonna see right through that so I just dealt with the, with the ridicule; I just dealt with the jokes, you know, and just tried to, you know, laugh it off and, you know, not, not allow it to, to get me angry.$$Okay. Now I don't know if this is fair or not, but I got almost an even chance of speaking like you did in the projects in school--I guess, because you could have chosen to do that--$$I could have.$$--you know, but that probably wouldn't have been successful in school.$$Probably not, probably not--$$So--$$--and I don't know why, you know, I grew up--well, I do know why; because I spoke like the people that I was around most of the time, you know, growing up.$$Okay. So you spent most of your time in school?$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$It was a safe place for me--$$Yeah, okay.$$--'cause I was just as smart as the other kids, smarter than most of 'em, so there was this, there was this--even if it wasn't equal, there was a feeling of equality, and they would look at me and they would admire the fact that I was as smart as they were, so on some level, I was on their level, which made it easier to fit in.$So what you've experienced, it sounds like a book I heard of called "Swimming with Sharks," (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah, yeah, very similar.$$Yeah. So is this a typical experience in the news and the TV news world?$$I think it's a typical experience in the corporate world--the corporate news world; big organizations, big corporations that are, you know--have these, these intricate, you know, organizational structures and relationships are sometimes difficult for outsiders to navigate, and that's, that's what I experienced.$$Okay. So you were there for--$$I was running the Domestic News Operation [at CNN in Atlanta, Georgia] for fourteen months, and then I was moved into a position overseeing talent and programming across all of the different CNN platforms. I was in that job for about a year, and the fact of the matter is that's a job that really didn't have a lot of teeth because--the network heads, they wanna hire their own talent, you know, they don't really need me telling them who to hire; they got into that position because they know a little something about talent, so I found myself running up against walls with the various network heads who I was, you know, really liaising with because they had their own ideas of what their talent should be--as they should. So I went to, to Jim and Phil [Kent] and just said, "Look, guys, I'm happy to stay here and collect a paycheck and do this for as long as you want me to, but the fact of the matter is you're not really getting the value out of me; you're not really getting as much as you can out of me; I can do more, I'd like to do more." So they moved me into corporate strategy. It was a position that I was--or it was an area of the business that I didn't know, that I was interested in, and it also gave me an opportunity to go back to school and get my MBA, which is what I did at Emory [University, Atlanta, Georgia], so I was working full time while getting my MBA, and I was working on a project--we were going to take WTBS which is, you know, Turner[ Broadcasting]'s first station, and figure out what we were gonna do with that locally, and turn that into a--you know, there's the TBS Superstation and then there's a local station in the market--WTBS, and at the time, their programming was the same, but Phil Kent who's, who's running Turner at the time, wanted to turn that into something else--more of a local station, so that TBS could be a separate, completely separate station. So that was my project and, you know, amongst working on other things with the, with the, the strategy group--and at the end of that year, and after I got my MBA and had finished--completed the projects, I was ready to run something else; I was in a position now where I, where I was down two years removed from, from running something, and I went to Phil and said, "Hey, look, I'm ready to run something; you know, I can stay in corporate strategy as long as you want, but I'm really ready to run something." And, you know, "We don't really have anything for you to run," to which--I, I saw that as a sign that, you know, maybe it was time for me to, to move on and try something else, take some time off, which is what I did. I took about a year and a half off which, you know, fortunately, I was able to do to really figure out what I wanted to do next. I had been in news for now 20--20 years, and was really burned out with, with, with news. I didn't wanna really go back into a local news situation because it, it had changed so much, and resources had been drained from local markets, local news stations, and I wanted to try something, something different; and that is what led me to sports.