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Gayle Greer

Cable television executive Gayle Greer was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 11, 1941. 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 2, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.038

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
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
Archival Photo 2
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

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/11/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

USA

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.