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Charles W. Cherry II

Publisher, radio station manager and lawyer Charles W. Cherry II was born in 1956 in Daytona Beach, Florida to Julia T. Cherry and Charles W. Cherry, Sr., founder of the Daytona Times and Florida Courier newspapers. In 1978, Cherry received his B.A. degree in journalism from Morehouse College, where he also interned for WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. He then went on to receive both his M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida in 1982.

Cherry had his own law firm for twenty-one years and served as a city prosecutor for Fort Lauderdale, Florida and as a state prosecutor in South Florida. He also served as general counsel for the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, where he worked closely with its former executive director, the late Dr. William H. Lindsay. In 1989, Cherry and his father purchased WPUL-AM 1590, a Daytona Beach-area radio station. From 1998 to 2000, he served as general manager of Greenville, South Carolina’s WCSZ-AM. In 2000, Cherry was named general manager of WPUL-AM and became host of the station’s Free Your Mind radio show.

In 2004, upon the death of his father, Cherry returned to journalism and newspaper publishing. In 2006, the Cherry family re-launched the Florida Courier as a statewide newspaper; Cherry became its publisher and his column, Straight, No Chaser appeared weekly. He also went on to write commentaries, editorials, and stories for his other family-owned newspaper, the Daytona Times. In addition, Cherry served as vice president, secretary and general counsel of his family’s Tama Broadcasting, Inc., as well as vice president of corporate communications for Global Health Professionals, Inc.

Cherry published Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student's Guide to Academic Excellence (1994), which has been used as a textbook in college-preparation classes and seminars. He was elected to the board of directors of the National Newspaper Publishers Association in 2009, and served on the Government Affairs Committee of the Florida Press Association. He also founded the Florida Black-Owned Media Coalition, Inc., a trade association representing Florida mass media owned by African Americans.

Charles W. Cherry II was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 7, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.230

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/7/2014

Last Name

Cherry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

William

Schools

Campbell Elementary School

St Paul's Catholic School

Father Lopez Catholic High School

Seabreeze High School

Morehouse College

University of Florida

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Daytona Beach

HM ID

CHE08

Favorite Season

None

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Africa or the Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow, For the Kingdom of Heaven Is Within

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

8/6/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Lauderdale

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Scallops

Short Description

Publisher, radio station manager, and lawyer Charles W. Cherry II (1956 - ) is the publisher of the 'Florida Courier' newspaper. He also served as vice president, secretary and general counsel of Tama Broadcasting, Inc, and as a city and state prosecutor in South Florida. He is the author of Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student's Guide to Academic Excellence.

Employment

City of Fort Lauderdale

State of Florida

Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

WCSZ-AM

WPUL-AM

Florida Courier

Tama Broadcasting, Inc.

Global Health Professionals, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles W. Cherry II's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his maternal African ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II describes his mother's childhood in Leslie, Georgia pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his mother's childhood in Leslie, Georgia pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his mother's college experience at Morris Brown College and her career as a home economics teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II describes the Barlow family, his father's maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's education at Morehouse College and Alabama State University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's various jobs and business ventures

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the two newspapers his father started, the Westside Rapper and the Daytona Times

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his likeness to his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's entrepreneurship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the roles he and his siblings play in the family business

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the "wade-in" to integrate the beach in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the march his father planned to protest the Apollo space missions

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his family being threatened with violence

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the impact of school desegregation on the African American community in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his first grade teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about reading the World Book Encyclopedia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his lack of religious upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about having a father who was an entrepreneur

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his experience at Seabreeze Senior High School in Daytona Beach, Florida pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his experience at Seabreeze Senior High School in Daytona Beach, Florida pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about transferring out of Catholic school to Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the impact of racism on mental health

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his interest in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about applying for college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the night before his high school graduation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's newspaper, the Westside Rapper, going out of print and where the word "rapper" came from

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his first semester at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his friend from Daytona Beach, Florida leaving Morehouse College due to sexual harassment

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his professor HistoryMaker Na'im Akbar at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his journalism internship at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his experience studying journalism at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about earning his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about receiving academic support from black students in graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about becoming a state prosecutor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the inspiration for his book, 'Excellence Without Excuses: The Black Student's Guide to Academics Excellence'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his father's newspapers, the Daytona Times and Florida Courier

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about being the outside counsel for the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about being the outside counsel for the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about ways to create safe public housing

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about changing the way he dressed after visiting Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about what he learned from purchasing his first radio station, WPUL

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about being general manager of WPUL

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about small local radio stations being pushed out of the market

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Tama Broadcasting

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his controversial radio talk show 'Free Your Mind'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the problems in Daytona Beach, Florida's black communities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about production and distribution of his newspapers, the Florida Courier and Daytona Times

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about the content within the Florida Courier

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's presidency

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about HistoryMaker U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about Florida's Stand Your Ground law

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about political trends in Florida's African American communities

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about adjusting his newspapers to the digital age and the books he is writing

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his business ventures in Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charles W. Cherry II reflects on what he would do differently in his career

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charles W. Cherry II talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charles W. Cherry II considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
Charles W. Cherry II talks about his journalism internship at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia
Charles W. Cherry II talks about what he learned from purchasing his first radio station, WPUL
Transcript
You were talking about your career trajectory in college you're majoring in journalism even though you were greatly influenced by psychology.$$Greatly influenced by, by psychology and [HM] Dr. [Na'im] Akbar but decided to go ahead and, and just make the media the main career and so we went over to Clark [later Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia]. All of, all of the media folks at, at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia] actually were taking classes at Clark. And which was a great thing because they had a top notch journalism, you know journalism and, and broadcast school there.$$Who was in charge of that? Or who was the main influence over there?$$My main influence was Nellie Dixon who was the, the journalism instructor and we had a, a Herb Eichelberger was over the, the, the broadcast school. And what happened was at that point in time, this was, this was, this was early in, in TV broadcast with regard to having black folks as part of, of, of there was a, there were issues in the TV in, in the TV industry in Atlanta [Georgia] because they had maybe one or two black, black reporters. And so we were told folks from--in journalism at the AU Center [Atlanta University Center, Atlanta, Georgia] so that was Morehouse, Clark, and Morris Brown [College, Atlanta, University] and Spelman [College, Atlanta, University]. We, they had a conference with those of us who were in journalism and broadcast and said, "all right we are going to take some of y'all 'cause and y'all gotta be top notch because we have told these white folk that we have some, some kids over here who can get the job done. We're gonna put, put some, we're gonna put some of y'all in some internships in some of these stations over here and here's what our expectations are of you. You will do well. If you can't do well, you know you're not gonna embarrass the AU Center, you're not gonna set this project back so tell us right now if you're not gonna be able to get it done." So I was one of those who volunteered and they, they gave me an internship at WAGA-TV which was Channel 5 in Atlanta for my last two and a half years at Morehouse. And that was, that was a great experience. I was a sports producer. On the weekends I did a certain part of the six o'clock news. So I wrote and produced small sections of the six o'clock news and 11 o'clock news on some week days and on the weekends. And they put me with Bill Hartman who was a guy who was a, a sports guy who's been there probably thirty years. And I, I functioned well. And [Bill] Hartman says I was the best intern that he had. He was hating to see me go but I tell you what happened?$$What?$$I decided to take the law school aptitude test my senior year did well on it. Again on a humbug decided to apply to the University of Florida. University of Florida came back with a full ride of, of grants not, not loans but grants and told me if I came that they, they'd make sure I got a grant as long as I could make it through the first year. So I decided to go to law school and not because, because of the money and at that point in time again, the University of Florida [Gainesville, Florida] was under the Consent Decree so they had to have black students. I knew I was gonna be coming back to Florida I figured that a law degree would probably be a pretty good thing. So I accepted that. But before I decided to actually go I had a conversation with the, the station manager because they offered me a job. So I, I was when I went to the meeting with the station manager, I expected that he was gonna say, "Well Charles you done a great job, you're, Bill Hartman, your boss likes you. You know the six o'clock news, the major producers like you. You know you done a great job. Gonna put you on salary X amount of dollars and you got a great career here." Well, he, what he told me was, "That what we're gonna do, we're gonna give you forty hours, but we're gonna extend that at the minimum wage that we're paying you as an intern right now." And I, I, I was flabbergasted. I was like, "I'm sorry, sir, but I worked here two and a half years. I done an excellent job as you, as you have told me and are you saying that I have a forty hour job but that even with a college degree and two and a half years of experience at this station, that I'm only gonna make minimum wage?" He said, "Yes." I was done. That was my media career.$Now let me go well, I'm gonna go to 1989 with the purchase of WPUL [-AM]. Your, your, your father [Charles Cherry, Sr.] and your brother [HM Dr. Glenn W. Cherry] were involved in this right?$$Yes, my father, my brother and a group, a group of my fraternity brothers from Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, University] we had established a venture capital fund so we got funds from Morehouse's venture capital fund and we got, got some, some friends and some family put some money together and bought that station in Daytona [Beach, Florida] that dad ran in conjunction with the Daytona Times for a number of years.$$Okay. Now was this a station that was black-oriented at the time you purchased it?$$Country western. So it was a country western station. We made the biggest mistake that we, that we made as radio owners which is a rookie mistake which is to change the format from country western to black, basically R&B and all of our, our white clients just, they, they just left. You know we thought that it doesn't matter what the format is and, and it did matter. Because we lost every dollar from the little country western bars and the, the, the, the saddle stores and the, the, the shoe shops and all the rest of that, that had put money into this so. If we had to do it over again, we would have left it alone. But I think at that point in time we, we were just so happy in Daytona Beach [Florida] to have our own station that could play Earth, Wind and Fire and Teddy Pendergrass and all that 24/7 that we just--it was a big, it was sort of a big juke box for us when we, when we first started.$$Okay. But did the advertising come?$$No. Well advertising came but it didn't come from there. So we when you are in a black format and once--that's one thing we've learned along the way that you pay a, you, you pay a disproportionate penalty for targeting black people in almost any business because you sort of, you sort of pigeon hole that white owned businesses or traditional or mainstream businesses. You have to sort of prove to them that you'll bring value that, that black people do consume and, and, and it's, it's, it's an uphill struggle for the most part, particularly post--post-desegregation. Again black folks can take their money anywhere. And so you have to prove your value to both your black consumers as well as everybody else. And that's sort of a double standard that I think that a whole lot of, of black businesses deal with. But unfortunately that, that's just of sort of where we are right now.$$Okay. Okay. So, where does your advertising revenue come from now?$$Well it comes from, from folks who, who--well let me, let me back up. What we decided to do particularly when we started having multiple stations is that we have multiple formats. So you have, you have a chance to go to multiple customer, customer bases. So we have a--you have a R&B format, you're looking at people who are targeting a black/urban audience. You know you have a, a Hispanic format. You have a jazz format. You have a religious format. You have a top forty format. So when we, when we got, where we had eleven stations, we sort of run the--ran the gamut in terms of the number of formats and so you have a better chance of, of, of having a, a much broader consumer base that you can, that you can serve and then you have different formats that you can sell to, to an advertiser.$$So, so you started, well you started with WPUL was that sort of like a testing ground for what you would do with the rest of your stations? 'Cause the other stations were purchased from what I understand from 2000 to--from 1998 to 2000,--$$Right.$$--I guess?$$Yep, yep.$$Okay.$$Un huh. Well we--I think we learned how to be broadcasters at WPUL. You know we, we learned, we learned how to, how to tell time 'cause radio time is very exact. You learn what people respond to and what they don't. You learn how to, how to, how to carve expense. I mean the whole issue of revenue and expenses in radio is, is different from, from other kinds of industries. You know you learn, you learn, so you learn it and it wasn't something that I think we did consciously originally to go and get bigger, but when we--what we saw, when we saw how daddy was having fun and he was making money, we looked at it from a, from a financial perspective that radio has value and that there are stations out there that we can get and we learned enough about radio to turn it around and a sort of get stations that may be undervalued or that maybe, that may have too many, too much expenses and then from a business perspective put 'em in a--shape, pick a format and then move, move it forward.