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Louis Carr

Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) president of media sales Louis Carr was born May 3, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents, Lillian Cheers Carr and boxing trainer Lewis Carr were members of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Carr attended Muhammad’s University of Islam, Bidler Elementary School, and J. Sterling Morton Junior High School, and graduated from Lane Technical High School in 1974. A high school track star, Carr was part of a world record-breaking mile relay team, despite a severe hamstring injury. Attending Drake University on a four-year track scholarship, Carr graduated with his B.A. degree in broadcast journalism in 1978.

Carr worked as a customer service representative for Bankers Life Insurance Company until 1980, when he joined New York Life Insurance Company. In 1984, Carr joined Johnson Publishing Company as a salesman. Soon after, Carr was invited to work for Black Enterprise magazine in 1985. Carr was recruited to work at BET. Carr worked to convince sponsors of the viability of the African American market. Carr is president of media sales for BET and is responsible for the strategic planning to generate revenue for BET, the company's flagship; BET J, their flanker network for a mature audience, and BET.com.

Carr is also CEO and president of TV, LLC, (Tweetie Ventures) which is a real estate company that owns and manages multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago. Additionally, he is chairman of the Louis Carr Internship Foundation, which provides paid internships for students of color. Carr serves on the Board of Directors of The Advertising Council, the American Advertising Federation, the Cable Advertising Bureau and Boys Hope Girls Hope.

Accession Number

A2006.160

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/11/2006

Last Name

Carr

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Lane Technical College Prep High School

Beidler Elem School

J. Sterling Morton Junior High School

Drake University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days

First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CAR10

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

Black Entertainment Television

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

No Matter What People Tell You, You're Not As Good As You Think You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/3/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Coconut)

Short Description

Media executive Louis Carr (1956 - ) was President of Advertising and Sales for BET. Carr was also the CEO and president of TV, LLC, a real estate company that owns and manages multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago, and chairman of the Louis Carr Internship Foundation.

Employment

Black Entertainment Television

Banker's Life

New York Life Insurance

Ebony Magazine

WBEE Radio

Black Enterprise Magazine

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis Carr's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis Carr lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis Carr describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis Carr describes his maternal grandparent's move from Hickman, Kentucky to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis Carr talks about his mother's upbringing in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis Carr talks about his father and the history behind his name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis Carr describes his father's boxing career and incarceration

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Louis Carr remembers his father's involvement with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Louis Carr describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Louis Carr talks about his father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Louis Car describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Louis Carr describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Louis Carr describes his early education at Muhammad University of Islam, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis Carr describes his early education at Muhammad University of Islam, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis Carr recalls how his character was strengthened by the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis Carr explains the message of The Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis Carr recalls transferring to public school from Muhammad University of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis Carr remembers the aftermath of Malcolm X's assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis Carr describes his experience at J. Sterling Morton Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis Carr recalls his admission to Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis Carr remembers the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Louis Carr recalls becoming a star athlete at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Louis Carr describes his challenges at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis Carr remembers his college prospects as a high school track star

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis Carr recalls setting the world record for the mile relay in 1974

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis Carr remembers receiving a scholarship to Drake University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis Carr describes his time at Drake University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis Carr recalls his decision to major in broadcast journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Louis Carr recalls leaving the insurance industry to work at Ebony magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Louis Carr describes working for John H. Johnson, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Louis Carr describes working for John H. Johnson, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Louis Carr recalls his start at Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Louis Carr remembers the early days of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Louis Carr explains what made him a successful salesman

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis Carr recalls building Black Entertainment Television's brand identity

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis Carr recalls Black Entertainment Television's intial advertisers

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis Carr remembers Black Entertainment Television's early programming

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis Carr explains the factors that determine BET's programming

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis Carr describes BET's relationship with Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Louis Carr talks about his pride in BET's accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Louis Carr describes the corporate culture at Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Louis Carr talks about the growth of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Louis Carr talks about Viacom's acquisition of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Louis Carr describes BET's responsibility to the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Louis Carr talks about the future of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Louis Carr discusses Black Entertainment Television's mission to incorporate young African American talent

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis Carr reflects upon the future of Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis Carr talks about the Louis Carr Internship Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis Carr describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis Carr describes his mentors and the importance of giving back

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis Carr reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis Carr reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Louis Carr talks about his faith

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Louis Carr talks about his wife, Diane Carr

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Louis Carr describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Louis Carr recalls lessons from his mentors

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Louis Carr recalls setting the world record for the mile relay in 1974
Louis Carr recalls his start at Black Entertainment Television
Transcript
What school did you choose?$$Well, a funny thing happened. We set the mile relay in the city--indoor city championships, the world record mile relay, and at three, nineteen, five on a Friday night. Then we went to Oak Park relays that Saturday and I tore my hamstring, and a severe tear. Matter of fact, it was so bad they said I would be lucky if I was able to walk without a limp again. So the night after setting the world record, you know, I'm on crutches. And that was like, I think, March 26, 1974. And so that--I saw everything just end right there, you know, prospect of college, everything else, done. Just--I was, I was finished. A very devastating time to be at the height of your life on one night and to be at the lowest the next night. And throughout April and most of May, I basically went to team practices [at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School; Lane Technical College Preparatory High School, Chicago, Illinois], tried to jog but it was always with a limp. And, so, I'll never forget we went down to the Illinois state trials for the Illinois state championship and my coach came to me and said, "We've talked as a team and we wouldn't even be in the position we're in if you hadn't been here so we want you to attempt to run tomorrow." And I looked at him like he was crazy. I'm like, "Man, you been seeing me limping around here", you know. How, how you think I'm gone run? And it was about ninety-nine degrees down at Eastern Illinois [Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois], he said, "Louis [HistoryMaker Louis Carr], we just want you to try, and if you can't finish, we're fine with that. But we think that we want you to do that and we're gonna make an announcement that you're gone anchor the relay teams tomorrow." And he said, "Now, be prepared, the media gone be all over you. 'Cause everybody knows you got hurt, everybody knows what people say about your career, but I'm gone make an announcement to the press tonight that you gone run tomorrow. So, don't freak out." And, surely enough, press was just all over me asking questions, "When did you know you were gonna run, what type of workouts you been doing, what have the doctors said", and, basically, it was just, "No comment," 'cause I didn't know what I could do. And the next day when I got that baton, I ran the fastest 200 meters in state that year. It was just a miracle. I mean, I call it a miracle; went on to anchor all of the, the relays, we set state records. Then the next day for the finals, you know, I was hurting real bad, right. (Laughter) 'Cause number one I wasn't in that type of shape; number two, the injury had really started to ache again. I think that the heat had just really loosened me up. We went on to tie East St. Louis [East St. Louis Senior High School, East St. Louis, Illinois] for the state championship, we got second in the 400 meter relay which I anchored, which you know, the tape shows that we probably got first but we ain't gone go there, and we went on to take second in the 880 relay and then our mile relay won the state championship. And we tied in points with East St. Louis. But all of the offers that I had got, still coaches said what, "We believe it was a miracle, we can't the chance because we saw you after the race, we saw them icing you, we saw the bandages and everything, and we saw you on a crutch when you left that track. So we can't take the chance."$You have a, you know, John Johnson's [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson] trying to get in touch with you and now Earl Graves [HistoryMaker Earl G. Graves, Sr.], you know. You must be doing something right.$$That goes back to another saying, what's for you is for you. All right. (Laughter) You can't even mess it up, all right. (Laughter) So, met with Earl, told me that, you know, he had talked to Mr. J. Mr. J told him I was ignorant and crazy, don't be bothered. But, so many people had mentioned my name he was willing to take a chance. Worked for Earl and he, he really liked me. Did a great job, was very successful. Then in May of '86 [1986], the same guy [Dennis Boston] who had told me about the job at Johnson Publishing [Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois], my same friend called me and said, "You gone get a call from a guy by the name of Bob Johnson [Robert L. Johnson]. Take the call, Louis [HistoryMaker Louis Carr]." I'm like, "Really? What is he doing?" "He got this little cable thing going and he want to talk to you about it." I said, "Okay, fine." I met with Bob at the Marriott Hotel on Michigan [Avenue] and thought he was a great guy, had a great dream, but I said, "I'm not your guy. I'm not the one. Just don't want no part of it, right." He said, "Fine." Then in June, I got a call from him again, said he was back in town and he said, "Can you just meet with me and maybe you can give me some recommendations." So I like him, so I met with him. And after I named a number of people, he said, "Well, Louis, that's not really why I called you." He said, "I'm trying to convince you to come work for me." And I'm like, "You know what, I appreciate that and I'm flattered and all that. I'm not trying do that." I said, "My--."$$So, you were still with Earl Graves, right?$$Right. I said my next move is gone be to a big white corporation. That's my next move. He said, fine. And this is now in June, in July I get a call from Bob, and he says, "I really want you to think about this, Louis. This is a great opportunity for you; your name came up again today." And now, now I'm starting to waiver, right. I'm like, okay, this guy's pressing me. He seems like he's a nice guy, you know, I done talked to people about this cable thing. Everybody's saying that the wave of the future, you need to be a part of it. But I, you know--and I always tease Bob. Bob had on sweat suits when I met him. I'm like, you know, ol boy just got on a sweat suit, you know. He ain't even got on a suit. I don't know if I should do this. So, I started thinking about it, and Bob called me. This is right after the Fourth of July--naw, I'm sorry, towards the end of July. And he says, "Louis, final call," and it was late one night. He said, "I'm not even trying to sell you, I'm just gone tell you one thing. Me and Earl are gone be successful without you. You just have to make a decision on what's the best opportunity for you. Don't think about me, don't think about him. What's the best opportunity for you." So that was Bob, you know, in retrospect, closing me, right. He was really closing me. So, at that point, I went and I talked to Earl. He just went nuts on me. Oh, he just went off on me, just telling me, you know, "How could you even be having a conversation, this is stupid, that ain't no real business," you know, I mean, he just really let me have it with both barrels. And that's when I said, "Now, that's what I'm gonna do," because one thing Earl never said to me is, "Make the best decision for you." He was saying, you know, "We need you, the company needs you," and like, okay, I got that. But let me make the best decision. So I did, and ended up making that move in August of '86 [1986] to BET [Black Entertainment Television] and I told Bob, "Three years, baby, that's all I'm giving you. 'Cause I see myself in a much bigger, much bigger company in a much bigger role." Well, that was in 1986.$$That's twenty years ago .$$That was twenty years ago (simultaneous)--