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John E. Oxendine

Media executive and entrepreneur John Edward Oxendine was born on January 20, 1943 in New York City, New York. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1959 and then received his B.A. degree in political science and sociology from Hunter College in 1965. Oxendine went on to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967 to 1973, and, in 1971, earned his M.B.A. degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was awarded the John Hay Whitney Fellowship.

Oxendine worked first as a teacher for the New York City Board of Education, and then as a management advisor for the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. In 1971, he became a management consultant for Fry Consultants in San Francisco, California, and in 1972, was hired as a senior associate by Korn Ferry Associates in Los Angeles, California. From 1974 to 1979, Oxendine worked as an assistant manager at the First National Bank of Chicago, and from 1979 to 1981, served as assistant chief in the Finance Assistant Division of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. Then, in 1981, Oxendine was named president and chief executive officer of Broadcast Capital Fund, Inc., a venture capital organization that provided assistance to minority controlled communications businesses.

In 1987, Oxendine founded and became chairman and chief executive officer of Blackstar Communications, Inc., a company that acquired, owned and operated commercial television stations. He then formed Blackstar, LLC with Fox Broadcasting in 1994, and purchased Broadcast Capital, Inc. in 1999. Oxendine went on to serve as chairman, president and CEO of both Blackstar, LLC and Broadcast Capital, Inc.

Oxendine served as interim CEO and a member of the board of directors of Equity Media Holdings Corporation from June 2008 until January of 2009. He also served on the boards of Paxson Communications Corporation; Lockhart Companies, Inc.; Medlantic Healthcare Group; Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C.; the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity; the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council; the Monterey Institute of International Studies; the National Capitol Area YMCA; HSN, Inc.; Black Student Fund; the Palm Beach International Film Festival; Adopt-A-Classroom; and the Palm Beach County Film and Television Institute. In addition, he has authored several articles on venture capital and media investing that have been published in the Bar Association Law Journal, Duke University Law Review, Journal of Minority Business Finance, and Sound Management.

Oxendine was inducted into the Hunter College Alumni Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame in 2001. He lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

John E. Oxendine was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/9/2014

Last Name

Oxendine

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Edward

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 46 Arthur Tappan School

Jhs 123 James M Kiernan

Bronx High School of Science

Hunter College

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Harlem

HM ID

OXE01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

1/20/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boca Raton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Media executive and entrepreneur John E. Oxendine (1943 - ) was founder, president and CEO of Blackstar, LLC, and owner, chairman and CEO of Broadcast Capital, Inc.

Employment

Blackstar

Broadcap

Federal Home Loan Bank

First National Bank of Chicago

Korn Ferry

Fry Consultants

Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John E. Oxendine's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his older brother, James Oxendine

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine recalls his childhood with his twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his two younger siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes New York City's Harlem community, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes New York City's Harlem community, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine talks about skipping the fifth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at P.S. 46 in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine describes his involvement in New York City's Sportsmen gang, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his involvement in New York City's Sportsmen gang, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes the role of religion in his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine describes the role of television and movies during his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes The Bronx High School of Science in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his childhood in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine recalls his enrollment at New York City's Hunter College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John E. Oxendine describes his coursework at Hunter College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his jobs upon dropping out of college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his decision to return to college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine remembers studying political science at Hunter College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine recalls his Peace Corps training in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes his time in Chile with the Peace Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his reasons for leaving the Peace Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his U.S. Marine Corps training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine remembers the 20th Interrogation and Translation Team, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine remembers the 20th Interrogation and Translation Team, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine recalls interviewing for a position at the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine recalls joining the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes his role at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his position at Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine recalls his mentor at Harvard Business School

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon image of African American entrepreneurs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his corporate apprenticeships

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine remembers joining Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine talks about the Minority Tax Certificate Program

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his investments in media properties

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon the impact of Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his decision to found Blackstar Communications Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine recalls buying his first two stations for Blackstar Communications Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes the stations acquired by Blackstar Communications Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine recalls his purchase of Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine remembers the financial collapse of 2008

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon the future of black entrepreneurs in media

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his career choices

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes his positions at Fry Consultants Inc. and Korn Ferry

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine shares his plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine describes his business philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his hopes and concerns in relation to African American access to media

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine shares his thoughts on the sale of BET

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine talks about his children

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - John E. Oxendine narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - John E. Oxendine narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at the Harvard Business School
John E. Oxendine recalls buying his first two stations for Blackstar Communications Inc.
Transcript
I want to go to Harvard [Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts] now. Who was, what was your, what was your reaction at Harvard? Who was there? Who were the, how many African Americans were involved in the M.B.A. program at Harvard when you got there and, you know?$$Well it was the beginning of us being at Harvard in any big numbers. I think there were seven hundred and fifty in a class at Harvard. I was the Class of '71 [1971]. I mean, you got there in '69 [1969], two years we graduate in '71 [1971]. So there's Section A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, I was in Section I, one of ten and I suspect out of the seven-fifty, maybe we had thirty or forty blacks and a good percentage of us graduated but it was an extraordinary experience because it was brand new. Yeah, when you first arrived there, instead of having one drink at a cocktail party, they gave you three. Wait a minute, you know. We didn't have to do the reverse, you know. We weren't invited at all and now we're over-invited, you know, and I think, and the attitude was, even among, I think, the faculty, we'll give them a gentleman C and that's it and we're going like, eh, you know what? We are the bell curve, most of us are probably okay, some of us are very bright and some of us are at the end. So our grades ought to reflect that. Don't, we're not looking for a gentleman grade C, and so that had to be changed, you know. Those of us who don't belong and others, those who are doing great, let us know, and those who are in the middle, let us know but don't--$$Just so you think, there's a preconceived notion--$$Yeah.$$--that you're all the same?$$Yeah, so that changed over the years.$$Okay.$$And I was fortunate enough to work for Larry Fouraker [Lawrence E. Fouraker], a Texan, dean of the school of business, took me under his wing. He was a mentor, too, and when he invited me up there, "Well young man, how you going to, where you going to sleep because we're pretty much full in terms of enrollment." I said, "Well in the Marines [U.S. Marine Corps], sir, I could sleep anywhere," and I really meant that. So he liked that, and he kind of took me on his own, he made me his bartender. So whenever there were any events where he had deans of all the schools come, I'd be tending bar, with a couple of other people, and I'd throw the football with his son and I'd get there early and stay late. When you go, "So John [HistoryMaker John E. Oxendine], what you think about today," (laughter) he'd be asking me all these questions. It was almost like 'The Butler,' I swear (laughter), I mean, because he didn't need me as his bartender, you know. He didn't need me to stay late but, but he meant to me, you know, and he was always a great guy. I felt very fortunate and I would ask him to speak to certain events that we had, the, you know, African American Student Union, stuff like that.$$So did the African American students form the student union?$$Um-hm.$$I've heard about that before and--$$Yeah, but sometimes we got a little bit too militant, I'm going like, you know what? You guys are going to have to be a little bit more respectful of Dean Fouraker. Now I'm going to get him to come here but this is not a time for you to be saying, "Yeah, right on brother and I want to," you know, give a plaque for this one for making the discus. Why do we, you know, you got, we got to honor the dean for even coming here, doing this. We can party later on our own, we don't need that here, but this is an opportunity, so it was a whole learning experience. And then, you know, the second year we started to boycott, you know, well that was the first year we decided. We were supposed to take, we played this game and there were like, as I said, ten classes, ten sections, and it'd be like thirty students to a section and so we created an all-black corporation to go against all the rest. We came out number two, though, out of all of them, and the dean's going like, "John, I don't know, man, you changed, you guys are changing things up here, I mean, this is really crazy, you know." The few blacks that are in Section A should stay in Section A, B, B and C, but we did make a difference. He said, "You don't have to do this, man, because your grades are good enough that even if you didn't take a final exam, you're going to be okay," but some of these people, if you mess up, you're not getting your M.B.A. So it was an extraordinary experience and now that I think about it, Dean Larry Foraker was, you know, one of the great mentors I had.$Now the first one, let's, let's start with the first one and just, just walk us through what happened with the first station.$$Okay, two stations (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) How you got it.$$Okay, Bud Paxson [Lowell "Bud" Paxson] had some television stations. He had one in Portland, Oregon, was really, then he wanted to sell it to me for five million [dollars] and he had another one, right up the street from here, WMOD [sic. WBSF-TV; WOTF-TV, Melbourne, Florida], that he wanted to sell for five million dollars. And I think he owned WMOD and he had the ability to, or he was, he could assign the other one in the Portland area to me. So we started a company called Blackstar [Blackstar Communications Inc.] and I started Blackstar and I said, let's name it after Marcus Garvey's steamship lines [Black Star Line] 'cause that's what we did to take us to freedom, even though it came out of New York [New York] port and sank, I liked the symbolism. So this is going to take me to freedom, and Don Thurston [Donald Thurston] said to me, "John [HistoryMaker John E. Oxendine], it's always good to have, row your own boat. You can go on a cruise ship, fantastic, got a lot of fun, the problem is that when the cruise is over, you've got to go home but if you row your own boat, you meet somebody you like, you stay and you say to the big, who are those people, bye, how you going to get home?" I said, "Well, it'll take me a little longer but I'll get there when I get there." Well, I like to paddle my own canoe and so this was a chance to paddle my own canoe and I thought that Marcus Garvey was showing us that with a big boat that sank. So, I put up $55,000 and he put up $45,000. I had 55 percent of the company, he had 45 [percent] and said, "What are we going to do now?" He said, "Well I'm going to put $5 million in as preferred stock, we got common stock, preferred stock is like common stock but it's preferred, it gets paid first. Preferred stock, 5 million at 14 percent, that's 700,000 a year, hm. If you get 10 television stations, only 70,000 per station, 10 times 70,000, so let's shoot to get 10 television stations but I'm going to give you this preferred stock, that's what you're going to pay me plus my 5 million back." "Okay, let me," I didn't like that number, 14 percent and I changed it eventually down to about 9 but I wanted to get in the game. So we had a company, 55, 45, I had 55, he had 45, we had 5 million. Then he said, "You need to get $5 million, 'cause this first $5 million I will buy, you can buy, the company will buy 1 of my stations but you need another 5," so, I said, "Why? Where am I going to get $5 million?" He said, "Go borrow it." "And why would they even lend me 5 million?" I said--he said, "Well 'cause, you're going to have $5 million that you own in one station and if they lend you 5, you can buy another. The bank will have 2 stations, 10 million bucks [dollars], and they only put up 5 million, and I, Bud Paxson, will give you a loan, I will give you an affiliation agreement for 5 years at X number of dollars that will cover your debt service, operations, et cetera." "Let's dance, that's a good deal." I went to the bank and I said, "Banker, could I have 5 million." They said, "Why would I want to give you 5 million?" And I told them the story, he said, "Okay." So I closed on one in '88 [1988] and shortly after the second one and then in '89 [1989], there was an opportunity to get one in Ann Arbor [Michigan]. The first two, WMOD, made that WBSF for Florida, Channel 43, and those in Daytona Beach [Florida] really covers Orlando [Florida], which is a bigger market. And then the one I got in Oregon was for $5 million. That was, you got a--that's a K, KBSP [KBSP-TV; KPXG-TV, Salem, Oregon], for Portland, for 5 million. I didn't think either one of them was worth 5 million when I looked at it but when I got the affiliation agreement from Bud, then it made it all right.