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Pluria Marshall, Jr.

Publisher and broadcasting executive Pluria Marshall, Jr. was born on January 17, 1962 in Houston, Texas. His father, Pluria Marshall, Sr., is a professional photographer and a civil rights activist in the media business. Marshall graduated from Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University, in 1984 with his B.S. degree in business administration and management.

In 1981, while attending Clark College, Marshall was hired at KLTV in Tyler, Texas, as a management-training intern. He spent the next two summers in Lufkin, Texas, and continued his management-training program. He then worked for WXIA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia and for Turner Broadcasting in 1982 and 1983. From 1984 to 1985, Marshall completed his management training and development position at WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1986, he served as the station manager and then as vice president of WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi. Marshall entered into an agreement to purchase WLBM in 1990, but the transaction did not consummate due to a suspicious fire at the facility in April of that same year. In 1992, he purchased The Informer & Texas Freeman in Houston, Texas. Then, in 1993, Marshall became general manager and owner of WLTH Radio in Gary, Indiana, and also purchased the KHRN radio station licensed to the Hearne, Texas, Bryan College Station radio market in 1994. He ran both the AM talk radio station in Gary and the radio station in Bryan College Station for several years.

In 1997, Marshall joined the board of the Wave Community Newspapers, and purchased a controlling interest in 1998. He then purchased the Los Angeles Independent in 2000. After the purchase of the Los Angeles Independent, Marshall merged both operations to form the Los Angeles Wave Publications Group. In 2013, he launched Integrated Multicultural Media Solutions; a media planning and buying firm that specializes in placing ads that target multicultural audiences.

Marshall has been a member of the National Black Media Coalition, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the National Association of Television Programming Executives. He has also served on the boards of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. Marshall is chairman of the board and president of the Watts Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club.

Pluria Marshall, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.295

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/15/2013

Last Name

Marshall

Maker Category
Schools

Clark Atlanta University

Lockhart Elementary School

Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School

James Madison High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Pluria

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

MAR17

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Don't Make Dollars That Don't Make Cents.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/17/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Broadcast executive, publisher, and newspaper publishing chief executive Pluria Marshall, Jr. (1962 - ) was the owner and publisher of the Houston Informer and Texas Freeman and the Los Angeles Wave Publications Group. He also operated WLTH Radio and Integrated Multicultural Media Solutions.

Employment

KLTV

WXIA TV

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

WLBM TV

WLTH Radio

KHRN

Informer & Texas Freeman

Los Angeles Wave Publications Group

Integrated Multicultural Media Solutions

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Pluria Marshall, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his father's civil rights activism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his paternal grandparents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his father' role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his father's accomplishments as a photojournalist

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his household

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls accompanying his father on photography shoots

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his neighborhood in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his early interest in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about the influence of his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his experiences of integration busing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers Johnston Middle School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes the racial demographics of James Madison High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his participation in athletics at James Madison High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his part-time position at KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers the black publications in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his father's relocation to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his decision to attend Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes the communications department at Clark College

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his college internships, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his college internships, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers the Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children cases

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about the historically black college experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his decision to major in business

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his training at WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his first impressions of Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his role at WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his management approach at WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers the programming on WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls the major news stories in Meridian, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers the fire at WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his sales position at KBXX Radio in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls acquiring WLTH Radio and KHRN Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers his partnership with Lorenzo Butler

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about the programming on WLTH Radio in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers the programming changes at KHRN Radio in Hearne, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his decision to settle in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about the Houston Informer and Texas Freeman

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his editorial philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his role at the National Newspaper Publishers Association

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls joining the board of Wave Community Newspapers, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes the history of Wave Community Newspapers, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his challenges at the Wave Community Newspapers, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes the Los Angeles Wave Publication Group's role in the community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his business strategy for Los Angeles Wave Publications Group

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. remembers filing for bankruptcy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about his hopes for African American broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. reflects upon his family

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. talks about the Black Media Preservation Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Pluria Marshall, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$11

DATitle
Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls his role at WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi
Pluria Marshall, Jr. recalls joining the board of Wave Community Newspapers, Inc.
Transcript
So you were there fif- fifteen months. What happened? Why did you, well why didn't you stay longer?$$Well, as you can probably tell by my, my history, I, I like to work, and there was really not a whole lot more for me to do. I mean I had been in three years--three summers of training, been at WLBT [WLBT-TV, Jackson, Mississippi] for, you know, a little over a year. And so Frank [Frank Melton] would, you know, we'd have board meetings, and he was, he'd allow me and my cohort to attend the board meetings, you know, for the exposure. And so, they would always talk about this little station [WLBM-TV; WGBC-TV] in Meridian [Mississippi]. They said, "Oh, man, that station's not making money." The guy would come, and he would have a song and dance every month. Why we're losing money, why we're doing this, why we're doing that or whatever. And so I said to Frank, you know, I'm twenty-two, twenty-three years old, I'm like, "Frank, come on, man, you know, if it's losing money, I mean, you know, give me a shot. Let me run it," you know, and I'm, yeah, as they say full of piss and vinegar. And so he said, "Well, hell, Pluria [HistoryMaker Pluria Marshall, Jr.], you know, you can't do any worse than what's going on there now. We're losing money." And so I said, "Okay, great." So he says, "All right, you can move to Meridian." And so, I said, "Okay, great." So we had to renegotiate my little package that I was getting paid and everything. And so he said--so I said, "So what do I do?" He said, "You make it make money." I said, "Okay, so how do I do that?" He said, "You cut your expenses, raise your revenue." I said, "Oh, okay, great. That's easy, you know." And so literally, I got there and the guy that ran the station, it was a guy named Glenn Rose. Glenn was a nice old guy, but he's just not really good at raising or selling ads and things of that sort. And he used to always say, "Pluria, you just, you're just too aggressive, you just, you know, you just, you gotta be patient." I said, "Dude, I have no patience, you know, I've gotta get this done." So--$$This sounds like a clash in cultures of--in Mississippi, they do, they move slower. They move slower.$$Oh, they do. They do.$$So I mean you're like, you know--$$Yeah, I (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) anybody watching this can see.$$Oh, yeah, yeah, I'm like, hey, guys, you gotta move. You know, I mean I'm, I can't sit here and wait, you know. So, finally, after probably about, you know, two or three months, you know, Glenn gave me, through Frank, he said, "All right let him be a--," I was a station manager. And so I'd go in, "I'm sorry, fine. We can fire this person. We need to do this. We're gonna raise the rates. We're gonna make the--," I did all the things that I was trained to basically do. And so ninety days after I got there, the station made money. And so, you know, I said, "Frank. I did it, all right? So make me the general manager," (laughter). And so he was like, "You know, you're being a little impatient, Pluria." I'm like, "Yeah, I am, you know." And so I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. And so finally Glenn said, you know--and Glenn was a little bit older and been around the business for quite some time. He said, well, he's gonna basically retire. And so I said, well, you know, the station's mine at that point. And so Frank, you know, put me in as the vice president and general manager. And it also helped that NBC was on its rise in the mid-'80s [1980s]. So we had 'The Cosby Show' and we had all this great programming. Although the station was a bit of a, less than a full powered station, it covered the Meridian area. But it wasn't as big as the station in Jackson [Mississippi]. And so, you know, I kept it, it never lost a dime as long as I ran it. It was always very profitable. And so I ran it from, essentially, '85 [1985], '86 [1986] until 1990.$$Okay, and you got a large black viewing audience down there, I would imagine?$$We do, we do. Yeah, the state's about 50 percent black.$$Right.$$Yeah.$$So anything you put in the air, there's gonna be a lot of black folks, at least by this time, having--with TV sets. They can check it out.$$Right, oh, yeah, definitely, definitely.$$And watching a lot of TV.$$Yeah, 'The Cosby Show' was a hit. It definitely was.$$Okay, okay, so you were there--you weren't there that--were you there very long? I mean--$$From, from, as I said, from about '85 [1985] to '90 [1990], roughly 'cause when I spent--I was in Jackson for about fifteen months. So, and that was from '84 [1984] to '85 [1985]. So, late '85 [1985] to 1990. So I was there about, you know, for five and a half years.$Is it now talk, time to talk about the Wave?$$Sure, sure, sure, sure.$$'Cause there's--$$(Simultaneous) So, so all right, so we segued, so we have Houston [Houston Informer and Texas Freeman]. We had Gary [WLTH Radio, Gary, Indiana], we had KHRN [KHRN Radio; KVJM Radio, Hearne, Texas]. I mean we got all these properties, and so as I said, when they, they deregulated radio, it made it difficult for me to one, find stations, two, acquire financing. And, and so our offices in Houston [Texas] were domiciled within the 610 loop [Interstate 610]. So Houston has a loop system. So 610 is the loop. So there was this company that was getting a fairly large bit of notoriety called Enron [Enron Corporation]. And, you know, I knew who they were. They were big. They were doing all kinds of things.$$That's the big energy company that--$$Enron, oh, yeah.$$--the big energy that got in trouble.$$This is the big one.$$Enron, all right.$$Enron, so, you know, as I'm out looking for money, I get a phone call from someone who says, "Hey, Enron company is looking to do things locally in a local community." And so they said, "Okay, so--," I'm like, "Great, that was good. How does that help me?" "Well, they have money to invest." I said, "Oh, fantastic." So they said, "One of the first requirements--," (laughter), which was you had to be within the 610 loop. I said, "Really?" I said, "As long as my business is inside the loop, I'd qualify for one of their possible loans?" And he said, "Yes. I said, "Wow, okay," I said, "that's great." So I'm involved with NNPA [National Newspaper Publishers Association] and I'm out scouting and talking to people and so, they, I get a call that there's this paper in Los Angeles [California] called the Wave. And so I said, "Okay, fine." So I went and did my research on L.A. There was a Wave, the Los Angeles Wave was a community paper. The Los Angeles Sentinel was a black paper. So I said, "Well, heck, let's just, you know, run the gamut and see what we can find out." I contacted the people over at the Sentinel, had a real difficult time getting to the owner, just never could get any traction there at all. So I talked to the, this gentleman that was running the Wave, C.Z. Wilson. And so, you know, I talked to him, and, he says, "Oh, yeah, man, we're doing great things. We got a bunch of people, and I'm taking over, and we're looking to acquire, had some challenges." And so I said, "Okay." He said, "Oh, I want you to come over and join my board [of Wave Community Newspapers, Inc., Los Angeles, California]?" I said, "Really?" I said, "C.Z., I mean, I know I'm a young, young guy," probably thirty-eight, thirty-nine years old, "but I'm buying businesses just like this. I mean I would buy this newspaper." He said, "Oh, don't worry about it--," he used to call me young buck, "Oh, don't worry about it, young buck. You come on in." So I said, "No, I'm gonna have my lawyer write you a letter to basically let you know that essentially, I'm a fox and you're a henhouse. And I like eggs," (laughter), you know. "So I want you to be very clear that if you add me to your board, there's a possibility that I would acquire, acquire this newspaper, you know, from you guys." And so, you know, he said, "Oh, fine." I said, "Okay, no worries. I'll come in, and I'll join the board."