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Harry Boomer

Television broadcast journalist and radio personality Harry Boomer was born on September 4, 1953 in Turkey, North Carolina. He is the youngest of ten children born to George and Lucy Boomer. Upon graduating from high school, Boomer, the son of a Baptist minister, moved to Washington D.C. to pursue his interest in broadcast journalism. He studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting, Northern Virginia Community College, and Cleveland State University.

In 1971, at the age of seventeen, Boomer was hired as an emcee at the Mark IV Supper Club in Washington D.C. He then worked on a number of different major radio stations in D.C. until 1988, when a family friend asked Boomer to come to Canton, Ohio to work as a program director at the WBXT AM/900 radio station. While still working at WBXT, Boomer began volunteering at the WUAB television station in Cleveland, Ohio. The station soon hired him as a reporter and over his more than twenty years of dedication Boomer was promoted to morning and noon co-anchor/reporter of 19 Action News at the WOIO television station (an affiliate of CBS). In addition to his work at both WUAB and WOIO, Boomer hosted and helped produce the program “InfOhio After Nine,” at the time Ohio’s first and only statewide public radio newscast; he served as an award-winning reporter/producer and assistant news director for WCPN, Cleveland Public Radio; and has been a regular guest on the Emmy-winning WVIZ Cleveland Public Television show Feagler and Friends.

In recognition of his achievements, Boomer was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Cleveland Communicators' award for best single hard news story, the Cleveland Communicators’ award for public affairs service program, the Ohio Educational Telecommunications’ award for public affairs and special news, the Excellence in Journalism award from the Press Club of Cleveland, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fellowship award from the Multicultural Producers Forum.

Boomer has also been involved in many professional and civic organizations. He served as the president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and has been a member of the board of directors for the Ohio Associated Press, the First Tee Cleveland, the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, and the North East Ohio Health Services.

Boomer lives in Cleveland, Ohio and often serves as keynote speaker and the master of ceremonies at community and college events. He has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Harry Boomer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 10, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/10/2014

Last Name

Boomer

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Schools

Hargrove Elementary School

Union High School

Columbia School of Broadcasting

Northern Virginia Community College

Cleveland State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Harry

Birth City, State, Country

Turkey

HM ID

BOO04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago Jazz Fest

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Be Thought A Fool Than Open Your Mouth and Remove All Doubt

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/4/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Broadcast journalist and radio personality Harry Boomer (1953 - ) was an anchor at CBS affiliate WOIO television station in Cleveland, Ohio. He has served as president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

Raycom Media

Mark IV Supper Club

WBXT AM/900

WOIO Television Station, 19 Action News

WCPN, Cleveland Public Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97910">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry Boomer's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97911">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97912">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about his maternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97913">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer describes how his mother protected the family when his father was away from the home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97914">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about his paternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97915">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer describes his father's commute and life on the family farm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97916">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer describes his parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97917">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97918">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer talks about his neighbors in Turkey, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97919">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97920">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Harry Boomer talks about the role of church in his upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97921">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Harry Boomer talks about his grade school years at Hargrove High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97749">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about why his father did not serve in World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97750">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer remembers his grade school years at Hargrove High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97751">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer describes his participation in the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97752">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer describes his memories of the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97753">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer describes memorable teachers from Hargrove High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97754">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about integration at Union High School and race relations in North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97755">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his fascination with radio and television as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97756">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer recalls the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97757">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer describes his experience at Union High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97758">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer talks about HistoryMaker Benjamin Chavis and the Wilmington Ten</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97759">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Harry Boomer recalls the formation of The Black People's Voices in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99460">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about race relations at Union High School in Clinton, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99461">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer envisions his life without higher education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99462">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer recalls his attempt to enlist in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99463">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer talks about his decision to attend Columbia School of Broadcasting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99464">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer describes working as an emcee at the Mark IV Supper Club in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99465">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about radio personalities and musicians in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99466">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his early years in radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99467">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer talks about popular music in the 1970s and his family's reaction to his radio career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99468">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer talks about his favorite musicians and his parents' distaste for secular music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99469">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer describes his transition from music to news radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99470">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Harry Boomer talks about mixing beats as a disc jockey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97771">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about his ancestor, George Boomer, who served as a quartermaster in the Civil War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97772">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer talks about Chuck Brown and Experience Unlimited (E.U.)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97773">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about racial discrimination in the broadcasting industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97774">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer talks about the Harry Boomer Show</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97775">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about juggling multiple jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97776">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about his family life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97777">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his transition to WBXT 900 AM in Canton, Ohio and the station's demise</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97778">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer describes joining Cleveland Public Radio after the downfall of WBXT 900 AM</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97779">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer reflects upon finding his voice while juggling work responsibilities at 19 Action News, WCPN, and WUAB Channel 43</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97780">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer talks about his ascent from volunteer to weekly host at WUAB Channel 43</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97781">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer talks about the value of volunteering and internships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97782">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about "A Separate City: Race Relations in Cleveland"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97783">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer describes his television broadcast career at WOIO and WCPN</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97784">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about notable African Americans at WOIO including Romona Robinson, HistoryMaker Leon Bibb, Wayne Dawson, and Russ Mitchell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97785">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer talks about the National Association of Black Journalists and organizational burnout</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97786">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer talks about his award-winning shows on Cleveland Public Radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97787">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer recounts covering the Ariel Castro kidnapping story in Cleveland, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97788">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer describes his commitment to civic action in his community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97922">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harry Boomer describes his hopes and concerns for the Cleveland community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97923">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harry Boomer describes his career goals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97924">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harry Boomer talks about his level of social media engagement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97925">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harry Boomer reflects upon his life trajectory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97926">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harry Boomer talks about his daughter and his grandchildren</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97927">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Harry Boomer reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97928">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Harry Boomer describes how his parents would have viewed his accomplishments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97929">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Harry Boomer remembers his coverage of Barack Obama's presidential campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97930">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Harry Boomer talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97931">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Harry Boomer narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$9

DATitle
Harry Boomer describes his participation in the Civil Rights Movement
Harry Boomer reflects upon finding his voice while juggling work responsibilities at 19 Action News, WCPN, and WUAB Channel 43
Transcript
So, you were ten years old when the March on Washington took place, right?$$My father was at that March on Washington.$$Okay.$$And I was there twenty years later, in '83 [1983].$$Okay.$$For... when Stevie Wonder and everybody was pushing to make [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] Dr. King's birthday a national holiday.$$That's right.$$And I went down for the anniversary of Dr. King-- I think it was the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. And then I went, of course, to other events. I went, you know, to sort of stay in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, when I was in high school, my friend Dwight and I marched with Ben Chavis [HM] and the Wilmington Ten, from... they came from Wilmington [North Carolina], and marched into Raleigh [North Carolina], a 120 mile trek. We joined them in Clinton, which is a big town in our area, and about nine miles east of Turkey. And we joined them there, much to my sister Charity's [Boomer Morrisey] chagrin. She called my father on the phone in [Washington] D.C. and told him. And he's, "Well, when he gets back, have him call me." So, I did. He said, "Well, didn't I tell you... didn't your sister tell you not to go?" I said, "Yes sir." He said, "Why did you go?" I said, "I had to go." He said, "Okay." That was it. He understood I had to go. I could have gotten killed, like so many others could have gotten killed, but we didn't. That was an experience in itself.$$Okay. Now, we're getting ahead of ourselves, but we'll get to that again--$$Okay.$$--and follow-up a little bit more but--$Okay, okay. So, now, so, you also began working as a morning and noon co-anchor reporter for 19 Action News in 1990, right? Is that true?$$Yeah, I was--I don't think it was right in 1990.$$Okay.$$But over the years, I've been there for, this is my 24th year. I am the longest continuous on-air personality at both channels, 19 and 43, of those two stations. Now, there have been people who have been with one station a little longer, one with the other. But not continuous, with both. So, nobody's been there longer than I have, let's put it that way--on air.$$So, this is, this is simultaneous with--$$WCPN.$$Yeah.$$Yeah.$$So, you're working--$$I was working full-time radio--$$--radio.$$--part-time television, full time television, and part-time radio. And so, probably three or four or five years ago, when I just decided I needed to concentrate on television... I was now making enough money to survive, not getting rich, but enough to survive. So, and I wanted to find a way to use some other skills, and I started working myself to death. So--$$Now we, well, there's an article about you in your living room--about how hard you've worked, and how you always have worked--these four jobs going at once. It reminds me of Hal Jackson [HM] in New York, who had TV shows, I think, in New Jersey, New York City, and in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] at the same time--or radio shows. But, so, what was your day like in these days? What were you--well when you go to PBS, and when would you--?$$I'd go to the--depending upon when I was working at which one full-time. If I was doing WCPN, it was basically a 9 to 5. And then I would go to WUAB Channel 43 on weekends or evenings, after I got off work from the radio station. And then when I started working full-time television, I'd work on a freelance basis with WCPN doing reports and that. When I left, if my recollection is correct, I had won more awards than anybody in the history of the radio station to that date. That was at WCPN. I remember the general manager, Kit Jensen, saying to me one day, "Harry, I want to hear your voice. I want to hear what you have to say, in the confines of good public radio. But I want to hear your voice." That was such a liberating thing for me to hear, it opened up a whole new world for me. And that's when I did one of the programs that won me an award, "Black Power Redefined," where I went to highly placed African-Americans in Cleveland [Ohio]--the Mayor, the president of the local community college, other people of note in the community--and said, "Tell me, where were you when you heard "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud?" And how did that song, how did that song impact your thinking and your actions, to motivate you, if it did, to where you are today?" And that is how Black Power Redefined came out. And I remember Kit saying to me, she said, "Harry, I notice you didn't have any black, any white people, in Black Power Redefined. I said, "Well, Kit, it wasn't about white people, it's about black people." And I said, and she wasn't saying it in a negative sense, but just an observation. She said, "Well, you know, okay. See, it was hard to listen to, because it was just there. But I understand, and I appreciate what you're saying, you know. It was about where you were, and where you are now, and how that... What was the thread that got you there, the road that led to there?" And she said, "But, I'm glad you did it." And it ended up winning an award. It was important for me to find my voice, and she gave me that opportunity. I will always be grateful for that. And that stays in my brain, even today--not that my voice is some angelic kind of wisdom... I've been blessed in how I've been blessed, as we all have our own individual blessings. But just having somebody say, "I want to hear who you are," that's so-- it's such a liberating thing.