In conversation, the term the media generally refers to communication media or mass media, which are available to a plurality of recipients and are conceived collectively, as a single, all-encompassing and pervasive entity. Originally meaning an intermediary or a middle quantity, the word medium has been in use since the sixteenth century. By the 1700s, the term was used to refer to currency and a medium of exchange. In the nineteenth century, medium tended to indicate a material used in creative expression and a “channel of mass communication.” Since the early twentieth century, medium has referred to “any physical material … used for recording or reproducing data, images, or sound” (Oxford English Dictionary Online). The term media carries different meanings in various fields. In the field of natural science, a medium is a substrate, whereas in the arts it is a material with distinctive physical properties. In media studies and other social sciences, media typically refer to “the means of communication” (print or broadcast media) or “certain technical forms by which these means are actualized” (books, newspapers, television, radio, film, and now the Internet and video games) (O’Sullivan et al. 1994, p. 176).
Each medium—from the newspaper to the telephone to the personal digital assistant—has its own formal properties and preferred content, arises from distinctive political, economic, and cultural matrices, and holds the potential to influence individuals and society in varying ways. There are obvious limitations to regarding media only as technical devices for delivering content to receivers or audiences. The functions and impact of the media can be sufficiently understood only if broader social dimensions of communication are taken into account.
Today there is widespread recognition that the media have had significant impacts—both beneficial and deleterious—on individuals and societies through all stages of their development, playing key roles in socialization and education. They have been variously charged with watering down political debate while also opening up new political forums, and with debasing popular discourse while also facilitating more democratic access to educational resources.
Throughout the history of communication, each era’s predominant media have reflected the shape and character of the civilizations that created and made of use them. Harold Innis (1894–1952), a Canadian economic historian, regards media as “staples” allowing for the creation of monopolies of knowledge, and he explores the impact of the media on the spatial and temporal organization of power. Durable, or what he calls “time-biased,” media, like stone and clay tablets, make a society or empire tend toward longevity (e.g., the Egyptian civilization), whereas light, portable, “space-biased” media, like papyrus, allow for territorial expansion, as with the Roman Empire. In the latter part of the fourteenth century, block printing techniques, first developed in East Asia, reached Europe, where, by the 1450s, metal printing was developed by Johannes Gutenberg. Printing technology revolutionized religion and education in Europe by bringing the word, printed in vernacular languages, to the public. Print culture has been essential to the development of such aspects of Western modernity as rational individualism, scientific knowledge, the nation-state, and capitalism. The emergence of radio broadcasting in the 1920s ushered in a new era in the development of electronic communication media. The ability of radio to reach, simultaneously, unprecedented numbers of people was soon exploited by totalitarian regimes. The rise of film necessitated the creation of a massive industry and new communal exhibition spaces, forged new relationships between media makers and politicians (e.g., the Committee on Public Information), and provided a new form for addressing timely social issues. In the mid-twentieth century, television, through both its form and content, reinforced postwar consumerism and a turn inward, to the private suburban home and the nuclear family.
Not until recently have the media received sufficient critical attention in academic fields. Classical thinkers such as Karl Marx (1818–1883), Max Weber (1864–1920), and Emile Durkheim (1858–1917) neglected the role of the media in the development of modern societies. With industrialization, urbanization, and modernization, the growth of the media accelerated, as did scholars’ interest in it. Communication studies programs began appearing in Western universities in the early twentieth century. These early programs tended to focus on the use of media in public address—during the war years, for propaganda—and on media’s effects on its audiences. A critical analysis of the medium itself—and not on the process of communication or rhetoric—is a relatively new development, one that distinguishes media studies from communication studies. The various approaches to the media can be divided into three general categories, in accordance with their particular focus—though it should be noted that these are not mutually exclusive and are commonly applied in combination.
Media and Political Economics The political economics approach advanced studies of media in the mid-twentieth century. Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) studied the formation of public opinion through propaganda, while Harold Lasswell (1902–1978) conducted empirical analyses of communication, commonly through content analyses of propaganda in the two World Wars. Yet this early work tended to focus on the effects of a medium’s message on the audiences and paid little attention to the nature of the medium itself. Through his investigation of the transformation of the public sphere, Jürgen Habermas (b. 1929) critically examined the political role of the print media—such as the periodical press—during the transition from absolutism to liberal democracy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The conventional Marxist theory of the media is also one of the main schools of the political economic approach. More recent political economic media scholarship, including the work of Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) and Robert McChesney (b. 1952), focuses on ownership of media organization and argues that the consolidation of ownership in the hands of a few large media corporations limits the variety of ideas presented to the public. Theorists of this type also emphasize the institutional nature of media, focusing on the labor of media production (e.g., work in the newsroom or on the film set).
Media and Technology The technological approach focuses attention on the material substance of the media. This approach tends to examine the technological attributes, the form, of the medium, and the impact that those material qualities have on individual and social development. The famous dictum of Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980), “The Medium is the Message,” illustrates the importance of the technical form of media irrespective of their content. Understanding media as extensions of the human body, McLuhan argued that media technologies encourage distinctive modes of thought and perception, which has profound social consequences. Print, for instance, encourages rational, linear thinking, and portable books, which can be read in private, tend to promote atomization. He also devised the concepts of “hot” and “cool” media to describe how particular media forms encourage more or less participation in the communication process.
Media and Culture The cultural approach to media tends to examine the interplay between cultural production, identity politics, media representation, and reception, often in quotidian settings and situation. The theorists of the Frankfurt school made significant contributions to the early development of cultural analysis of the media in the 1930s and 1940s. Max Horkheimer (1895–1973) and Theodor W. Adorno (1903–1969) critically investigated the ideological function of communication media as a tool of social domination. According to them, the culture industry, a central characteristic of a new configuration of capitalist modernity, ultimately induced compliance with dominant social relations by utilizing mass communication. Compared to their overly negative view of mass media, Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) put more emphasis on the positive role of the media. Benjamin argued that while communication technologies such as photography and cinema have tended to destroy the authentic and unique character of artwork, they have also created new forms of media culture that provide the modern masses with the opportunity for aesthetic experience and thereby stimulate their critical political consciousness. More recently, scholars like Raymond Williams (1921–1988), James Carey (1934–2006), and those of the Birmingham school have conceived of communication as culture, and have endeavored to combine media studies with cultural studies. They examine how dominant ideologies are embedded in, and produce meaning in, popular culture by virtue of mass media. Rejecting elitist perspectives that regard audiences as inert masses engaging in passive reception, these scholars emphasize that media consumers actively produce meaning by accepting, negotiating, or rejecting a medium’s dominant meaning.
Electronic and digital media have indeed made their mark on contemporary societies around the globe, introducing new challenges and opportunities. Yet long-lived concerns, including the independence of media from government and corporate control, are extant not only in the postindustrial world, but particularly in developing nations. The role of the media, from the local to the international level, in contemporary political conflicts, from terrorism to political coups, has garnered much attention inside and outside the academy. Meanwhile, video games, often charged with promoting violence and encouraging sedentary lifestyles, are championed by some designers and educators as a revolutionary new tool for hands-on learning. Video cameras, when used as surveillance media, and Internet spyware have also raised political and ethical questions about the uses to which technologies are put: to protect children from potential sexual predators in online chat rooms, to monitor employees’ business-related correspondence, or to track people traffic in urban public places. Personal media technologies such as cellular phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players—many of which come equipped with global positioning technology—shape users’ conceptions of time and space, changing the way people schedule their daily activities, interact with friends and family, and navigate through space. These new media are influencing the way people learn, create personal identities and social networks, and engage in politics, and the way governments and economies evolve in response to global flows of capital and culture. Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007), a French philosopher, sees the emergence of cyberspace and new media technologies as creating what he calls simulation and hypperreality. In the age of postmodern society, he argues, the new media-saturated culture becomes predominant over the “real” world, replacing conventional social relations grounded in political economics.
Media—regarded either as a collective, encompassing, mass entity or as individual technologies with distinctive forms and unique political, economic, and cultural characteristics—interact with individuals and societies in ways that have attracted attention both within popular culture and across academic disciplines. And in what is regarded as an increasingly mediated world, their influence will undoubtedly continue to be subjected to scholarly examination and critique.
SEE ALSO Chomsky, Noam; Communication; Cultural Studies; Cyberspace; Frankfurt School; Habermas, Jürgen; Hall, Stuart; Information, Economics of; Internet; Journalism; Lasswell, Harold; Marxism; Medium Is the Message; Postmodernism; Public Sphere; Repressive Tolerance; Television
Benjamin, Walter.  2002. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility. In Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 3: 1935–1938, trans. Edmund Jephcott, Howard Eiland, et al., 101–133. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Carey, James W. 1989. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. New York: Routledge.
Habermas, Jürgen.  1989. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hall, Stuart, et al., eds. 1980. Culture, Media, Language. New York: Routledge.
Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. 1988. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon.
Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno.  1997. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. London and New York: Verso.
Innis, Harold. 1951. The Bias of Communication. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Lasswell, Harold D. 1938. Propaganda Technique in the World War. New York: Peter Smith.
Lippmann, Walter. 1922. Public Opinion. New York: Free Press.
McChesney, Robert W. 1999. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
McLuhan, Marshall. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill.
O’Sullivan, Tim, et al., eds. 1994. Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge.
Thompson, John B. 1995. The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media. Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press.
Williams, Raymond. 1962. Communications. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin.
Jae Ho Kang
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"Media." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/media
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See also 237. LANGUAGE STYLE ; 343. RADIO .
- 1. the practice among European newspapers of allowing space, usually at the bottom of a page or pages, for fiction, criticism, columnists, etc.
- 2. the practice of writing critical or familiar essays for the feuilleton pages. —feuilletonist , n.
- language typical of journalists and newspapers or magazines, characterized by use of neologism and unusual syntax. Also called newspaperese.
- 1. the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news.
- 2. the occupation of running a news organization as a business.
- 3. the press, printed publications, and their employees.
- 4. an academie program preparing students in reporting, writing, and editing for periodicals and newspapers. —journalist , n. — journalistic , adj.
- 1. a type of cathode-ray tube used in the reception of television images.
- 2. a recording of a television program on motion-picture film.
- an apparatus for projecting sound and pictures by a combination of a phonograph and a kinetoscope.
- an early apparatus for producing a moving picture. See also 226. INSTRUMENTS . Cf. kinetophone .
- a person who publishes or writes for a periodical.
- a form of journalism in which photographs play a more important part than written copy. —photojournalist , n.
- 1. the action, practice, or art of propagating doctrines, as in the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge.
- 2. the deliberate spreading of information or ideas to promote or injure a cause, nation, etc. —propagandist , n. —propagandistic , adj.
- 1. the act or process of reporting news.
- 2. an account of a current or historical event, not appearing in conventional news media, written in a journalistic style.
- the act of shocking or intent to shock, especially through the media; the practice of using startling but superficial efïects, in art, literature, etc., to gain attention. See also 248. LITERARY STYLE ; 312. PHILOSOPHY . —sensationalist , n.
"Media." -Ologies and -Isms. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/media
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Media (mē´dēə), ancient country of W Asia whose actual boundaries cannot be defined, occupying generally what is now W Iran and S Azerbaijan. It extended from the Caspian Sea to the Zagros Mts. The Medes were an Indo-European people who spoke an Iranian language closely akin to old Persian. Some scholars claim they were an Aryanized people from Turan. Since there are no Median records, Assyrian and Greek sources must be relied upon for Median history. The Medes extended their rule over Persia during the reign of Sargon (d. 705 BC) and under Cyaxares captured Nineveh in 612 BC; they were the first people subject to Assyria to secure their freedom. The dynasty continued until the rule of Astyages, when it was overthrown (c.550 BC) by Cyrus the Great and united with the Persian Empire. In the 2d cent. BC Media became part of the Parthian kingdom and was later ruled by the Romans.
"Media." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
"Media." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
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me·di·a1 / ˈmēdēə/ • n. 1. plural form of medium. 2. (usu. the media) [treated as sing. or pl.] the main means of mass communication (esp. television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively: [as adj.] the campaign won media attention. me·di·a2 • n. (pl. -di·ae / -dēˌē; -dēˌī/ ) 1. Anat. an intermediate layer, esp. in the wall of a blood vessel. 2. Phonet. a voiced unaspirated stop; (in Greek) a voiced stop.
"media." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/media-0
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"media." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
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1. the middle layer of the wall of a vein or artery.
2. the middle layer of various other organs or parts.
"media." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/media
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"Media." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
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"media." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/media
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"media." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/media
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Debra Newman Ham
By the early nineteenth century African Americans began to publish their own books, pamphlets, tracts and newspapers. Educated African Americans wanted to speak for themselves and meet the social and intellectual needs of their own communities. Many African Americans felt that racist writers gave such an inaccurate portrayal of blacks, that it was essential to write and publish their own materials to vindicate themselves. There have been more than 100 publishing houses started by African American churches, individuals, organizations, universities and cultural institutions dating back to this period. The publishing industry in the African American community managed to prosper regardless of the obstacles. Since the inception of African American book publishing, three types of publishers have emerged: religious, institutional, and trade publishers.
African American religious denominations established religious publishing enterprises in order to publish works that would provide religious instruction and assist the clergy and laity in recording denominational history. Some religious publishers also released books on secular subjects that celebrated some aspect of African American culture or documented African American history.
Prior to the Civil War, two African American religious publishing enterprises existed. The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) organized the AME Book Concern in Philadelphia in 1817—the first African American-owned book publishing enterprise in the United States. Publishing its first book in that same year, The Book of Discipline, the AME Book Concern published a host of classic religious and secular books until its operations were suspended in 1952 by the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1841, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church formed the AME Zion Publishing House New York City in 1940. Both of these denominations published devotionals, Biblical studies and commentaries, church histories and biographies, Sunday School materials and hymnals. The AME Sunday School Union and Publishing House, located in Bloomington, Indiana, began its work with literature for Sunday School students in 1882 and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1886.
In Jackson, Tennessee, the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME)—known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church—started the CME Publishing House in 1870. The CME Publishing House, which only publishes books on religious subjects, is located in Memphis, Tennessee. The Publishing House states that is fourfold purpose it to disseminate official CME proclamations, to publish and distribute denominational literature, to act as the “literary mind of the church,” to record the church‘s history, safeguard the CME doctrine and to increase loyalty to the church through a fuller knowledge and appreciation of the church’s history.
One of the most successful African American religious publishers to come into existence during the nineteenth century was the National Baptist Publishing Board (NBPB). Under the leadership of Dr. Richard Henry Boyd and the auspices of the National Baptist Convention, USA, the NBPB was organized in Nashville in 1896. By 1913, this well-managed firm, publishing religious and secular books, grew into one of the largest African American-owned businesses in the country. In 1915, however, a dispute arose between the National Baptist Convention, USA, and Dr. Richard Henry Boyd over the ownership of the NBPB. In a legal battle, the Tennessee Supreme Court decided in favor of Boyd. The NBPB—now R.H. Boyd Publishing Corp. in honor of its founder—is owned by the Boyd family. With over 100 years of publishing experience, R. H. Boyd continues to thrive as a religious enterprise by publishing hymnals, Bibles and Sunday School materials as well as books about family, education, and history.
Faced with the loss of the NBPB in 1916, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. established the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., in Nashville. Over the years, this firm developed into one of the largest African American-owned publishing enterprises, publishing religious and secular books and pamphlets.
In 1907, the Church of God in Christ established the Church of God in Christ Publishing House in Memphis. Restricting its publications to religious books and pamphlets, this publisher met the ever-expanding need for religious literature for one of the fastest-growing African American religious denominations.
During the post-Civil War decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century, educational, cultural, social, and political institutions published a variety of materials to meet the specific needs of African Americans.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Hampton Institute became the first African American educational institution to publish books when the Hampton Institute Press was established in 1871. An active publisher until 1940, the Hampton Institute Press published travel books, poetry, textbooks, songbooks, conference proceedings, and The Southern Workman, one of the leading national African American periodicals published between its inception in 1871 and its demise in 1939. Institutions like Hampton played a vital role in preserving primary and secondary resources related to the history of African Americans in general and these institutions in particular. For example, in 1927 the press published a volume edited by R. Nathaniel Dett entitled Religious Folk-Songs of the Negro as Sung at Hampton Institute.
In 1896, the Atlanta University Press entered the book publishing market with the release of Atlanta University Publication Series, which consisted of monographs reporting on the findings of studies conducted by the university’s department of sociology under the direction of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois. These works represented some of the earliest studies in urban sociology conducted in the South. The Atlanta University Press remained in operation until 1936. Du Bois was a pioneer not only in African American studies but also in the development of sociological methodology.
Industrial Work of Tuskegee Graduates and Former Students During the Year 1910, compiled by Monroe N. Work (1911), was the first book released by the Tuskegee Institute Press. With the publication of this book and other works by the press, Booker T. Washington sought to publicize the success of Tuskegee’s program to white philanthropists in the North as well as celebrated the achievements of the school‘s alumni. The Tuskegee Institute Press, which was active until 1958, published several other important works including John Kenny’s The Negroes in Medicine (1912) and Lynching by States, 1882–1958 (1958) by Jessie Parkhurst Guzman.
In 1910, another book publishing enterprise was launched on the campus of Tuskegee Institute - the Negro Yearbook Publishing Company. A partnership consisting of Robert E. Park, the famed white sociologist, Emmett J. Scott, secretary to Booker T. Washington, and Monroe N. Work, a sociology professor. This firm published the first edition of The Negro Yearbook in 1912. The most comprehensive reference book to appear to date on African Americans, The Negro Yearbook was highly regarded as the definitive work on statistics and facts on blacks worldwide. The enterprise experienced financial trouble in 1929. The Tuskegee Institute financed its operation until 1952. Between 1912 and 1952, The Negro Yearbook remained a classic model for most general reference works on blacks.
John W. Work’s The Negro and His Song (1915) was the first book issued under the Fisk University Press imprint. During the 1930s and 1940s, when Charles Spurgeon Johnson chaired the university’s department of sociology, Fisk University Press issued several important studies, including E. Franklin Frazier’s The Free Negro Family (1932); The Economic Status of the Negro by Charles Spurgeon Johnson (1933); and People versus Property by Herman Long and Charles Spurgeon Johnson (1947). The last publication released by the Fisk University Press was Build a Future: Addresses Marking the Inauguration of Charles Spurgeon Johnson (1949).
Although the board of trustees of Howard University approved the establishment of a university press on February 17, 1919, no university press existed at the university until 1974. Nonetheless, between 1919 and 1974, several books bearing the “Howard University Press” imprint were published, including The Founding of the School of Medicine of Howard University, 1868–1873 by Walter Dyson (1929); and The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D.C.: A Study in Human Ecology by William H. Jones (1929).
On April 8, 1974, the Howard University Press officially organized as a separate administrative unit within the university. It began with a staff of 12 professionals experienced in book publishing. Its mission remains to support the university by “providing leadership for America and the global community through the publication of noteworthy new scholarship that addresses the contributions, conditions, and concerns of African Americans, other people of African descent, and people of color around the world.” The Press publishes a variety of perspectives and disciplines that advance and deepen knowledge in its areas of focus. These include, but are not limited to: political, economic, and social sciences; history; health; education; communications; fine arts; science and technology; literature; and drama.
The Howard University Press’s inaugural list of 13 books included such titles as A Poetic Equation: Conversations Between Nikki Giovanni and Margaret Walker (1974) and Saw the House in Half, a Novel by Oliver Jackman (1974). A perpetually popular title is How Europe Under-developed Africa by Walter Rodney, originally published in 1982. Releases since 1999 included: Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory by Carol Pott and John A. Berry; Mordecai: The Man and His Message, The Story of Mordecai Wyatt Johnson by Richard I. McKinney; Black Writers and Latin America Cross Cultural Affinities by Richard Jackson; and The Black Seminole Legacy and North American Politics, 1693–1845 by Bruce Edward Twyman. Two of the press’s popular works which were the direct results of scholarly conferences are Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of History edited by Elinor DesVerney Sinnette, W. Paul Coates and Thomas C. Battle (1990) and Global Dimensions of the African Diaspora, edited by Joseph E. Harris, originally published in 1982 but now in its second edition, (1994).
With hundreds of books in print, the Howard University Press-the only African American university press still in existence-continued to flourish as one of the most viable university presses in the country. A popular 2002 volume edited by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis is First Freed: Washington, D.C. in the Emancipation Era. More recent works are A Right Worthy Grand Mission: Maggie Lena Walker and the Quest for Black Economic Empowerment (2003)and Dr. LeSalle D. Leffall, Jr., No Boundaries: A Cancer Surgeon’s Odyssey, (2005).
CULTURAL AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS
African American cultural and professional organizations and institutions have also developed publishing programs that include book publishing. The books published by these organizations document areas of African American history and depict various aspects of African American culture.
The need to demonstrate that blacks could excel in literature, arts and sciences led to the formation of the American Negro Academy on March 5, 1897 by Reverend Alexander Crummell, nineteenth century African American scholar, clergyman, and missionary. The American Negro Academy had as its major purpose the production of scholarly works; assisting youth in attainments reflecting higher culture; the dissemination of truth; and the “vindication of the Negro” through raising the level of intellectual pursuits. The Academy quickly organized a publishing program that embraced book publishing. The Academy, whose membership included many of the foremost African American intellectuals of the day, released 21 occasional papers as pamphlets and monographs. Some of these are Crummell’s “Civilization, the Primal Need of the Race,” (1897), Charles C. Cook, “Comparative Study of the Negro Problem,” (1899) and Archibald Grimke, “Ballotless Victim of One-Party Governments,” 1913. All twenty-two of the papers are available in print from Arno Press, (1969). The American Negro Academy ceased to exist in 1928.
The Association for the Study of African-American History (formerly Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History and, originally the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History-began publishing the Journal of African American History (originally the Journal of Negro History) in 1916 and started its book publishing program in 1918. By 1940, the association had published 28 books. After that year, the book publishing activities of the association declined until 1950, when its founder Carter G. Woodson died and provided in his will for the transfer of the Associated Publishers, Inc. to the association. The most enduring work of the press is probably, The Mis-education of the Negro published by Associated Press in 1933. One of Woodson’s famous quotes from the work is:
When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ’proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.
Howard University philosophy professor Alain Locke organized the Associates of Negro Folk Education in Washington, D.C., with a grant from the American Adult Education Association. The Associates published a series of seven books known as the Bronze Booklets from 1935 to 1940. Written by black scholars on various aspects of African American life and edited by Locke, some of the titles included: A World View of Race by Nobel laureate Ralph J. Bunche (1936); The Negro and Economic Reconstruction by T. Arnold Hill (1937); and Negro Poetry and Drama by Sterling Brown (1937).
CIVIL RIGHTS, SOCIAL WELFARE, AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS
In 1913, five years after its founding, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) launched its publishing program with three books: A Child’s Story of Dunbar by Julia L. Henderson; Norris Wright Cuney by Maude Cuney Hare; and Hazel by Mary White Ovington. In 1914, George Williamson Crawford’s Prince Hall and His Followers appeared, and in 1919, Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States, 1889 1918 was released. After 1919, the NAACP published few books, with the organization limiting its publishing to pamphlets, its annual reports, and Crisis, a bimonthly magazine.
Crisis, edited by W. E. B. Du Bois from its inception in 1910 to 1934, gained success was phenomenal popularity, Du Bois later wrote. Circulation rose from several thousand monthly to 50,000 by 1917, peaking finally at more than 100,000 in 1919. Many credit Du Bois and his editorship of the Crisis to the immediate popularity of the NAACP. Today the magazine remains dedicated to discussing critical issues confronting people of color, American society, and the world. In addition, it highlights the historical and cultural achievements of these diverse peoples. Through essays, interviews, and in-depth reporting, writers explore past and present issues concerning race and its impact on educational, economic, political, social, moral, and ethical issues. Each issue is also highlighted with a special section, “The NAACP Today,” which reports on the news and events of the organization on a local and national level.
In contrast, the National Urban League (NUL) has been a very active book publisher. The League first embarked on book publishing in 1927 when it published Ebony and Topaz, an anthology of Harlem Renaissance writers, poets, and artists edited by Charles Spurgeon Johnson. Through the years, NUL released numerous sociological and economic studies on the plight of African Americans, including Negro Membership in Labor Unions (1930), Race, Fear and Housing in a Typical American Community (1946), and Power of the Ballot: A Handbook for Black Political Participation (1973). In addition to these monographs, the organization began publishing The State of Black America in 1976. The State of Black America is the annual Urban League report that addresses the issues central to Black America in the current year. The publication is a barometer of the conditions, experiences and opinions of Black America. It examines black progress in education, homeownership, entrepreneurship, health and other areas. The publication forecasts certain social and political trends and proposes solutions to the community’s and America’s most pressing challenges. Newer works include Crime and Justice in Black America by Christopher E. Stone (1999); a special report entitled The Impact of Social Security on Child Poverty by Valerie A. Rawlston (2000); and The Urban League’s Assessment of the President’s Education Plan (2001) by Hugh B. Price, NAACP President and CEO.
The State of Black America 2006 report was compiled and analyzed against the backdrop Hurricanes Katrina and Rita The 2006 report stated that Black Americans continued to hover at 0.73 of the status of White Americans.
The publishing program of the Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League focused on the publication of its newspaper, The Negro World. The motto of the U.N.I.A. was “One God! One Aim! One Destiny.” The Negro World was a weekly newspaper founded in 1918 was published in French and Spanish as well as English. In it African history and heroes were glorified. The UNIA also published two volumes called The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, which were compiled and edited by Amy Jacques-Garvey from 1923 to 1925.
Until the 1960s, most African American commercial book publishing enterprises were short-lived. Two exceptions to this phenomenon existed, however: Broadside Press in Detroit and Third World Press in Chicago. Established by Dudley Randall in 1965, Broadside Press, which remains active, published poetry by African American authors-many of whom became icons later in life-such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Danner, Robert Hayden, Langston Hughes, Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Don L. Lee (Haki R. Madhubuti), Sonia Sanchez, Melvin Tolson, and Margaret Walker. Following in the footsteps of Randall, in 1967, Haki Madhubuti founded Third World Press. Third World Press is now the oldest continually-operating African American commercial book publisher in the United States. In 1969, Dempsey Travis founded Urban Research Press.
Over the years, African American publishers have learned that a sizable African American readership exists. Since 1970 several major African American publishers have emerged. In 1978, Black Classic Press was founded by librarian Paul Coates to publish obscure, but significant, works by and about people of African descent. In 1981, Open Hand Publishing Inc. was founded by Anna Johnson.
Inspired by the dearth of books for his courses, former Rutgers University African Studies instructor Kassahun Checole founded the Africa World Press in 1983 to publish material on the economic, political, and social development of Africa. By the end of the twentieth century, African World Press, which published nearly 60 titles annually, was the premier publisher of books on African, African American, Caribbean, and Latin American issues. Its sister company, Red Sea Press, established in 1985, was one of the largest distributors of material by and about people of African descent throughout the world.
Just Us Books, Inc., founded by writer Wade Hudson and graphic artist Cheryl Willis Hudson, publishes books and educational material for children that focus on the African American experience. The idea to start the company first came to Cheryl in 1976, when she was unable to find African American images to decorate her daughter’s nursery. Just Us Books published its first book in 1988—an alphabet book featuring African American children posed to create the letters. The company had sales of $1.6 million in its 2002 fiscal year. Diaspora Press of America, which publishes African American Diasporic folktales, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s stories; and Amber Books, which publishes self-help and career-guide books the 1995.
Independent African American-owned book stores have benefitted from a resurgence of African American authors and an abundance of titles, but major bookstore chains make competition stiff. Although African Americans’ book buying grew from $181 million in 1990 to $296 million in 1995, with the decline in hardcover sales, publishers were more cautious about placing books with specialty stores for fear that a book would lose mainstream appeal.
With the increasing demand for African American–oriented books, especially those written by African Americans, two diverging opinions arose from the African American literary community. Some believed that the creation of imprints like Strivers Row (Villard/Random House), Amistad (HarperCollins), Harlem Moon (Random House), and Dafina Books (Kensington) diminished the opportunity to showcase different genres. Furthermore, this faction insisted that African American books published by major white companies were too formulaic. Others believed that the abundance of African American books allowed for all kinds of literature; thus, ultimately increasing the number of African American authors published each year. Although the two groups disagreed on the quality of African American literature being published, both agreed that the proliferation of African American writers and the subsequent successful sales of their titles were most important, especially if they retain long-term marketability.
COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
In the 1990s, African American comics peaked in popularity. Once relegated to a form of children’s entertainment, comic books found an audience with young adults in their twenties to thirties. In fact, in 1990, Cable News Network (CNN) noted that sales of multiracial comics had jumped 9 percent, thus accounting for 10 percent of all comic book sales. One reason for the growth among the African American adult readership is collectibility-since most African American series are short-lived, each issue has the potential to become a rarity. Another reason is the fact that African American comics now better reflect the cultural and artistic concerns of the African American community.
African American characters of yore, often grotesquely drawn by whites, were either sidekicks or afterthoughts—never the stars. For example, Ebony, an African American character, paraded around with white superhero The Spirit in the 1940s. Meanwhile, Captain America had Falcon, his black version of the Lone Ranger’s Native American sidekick Tonto. Other African American characters were portrayed as ignorant, uneducated, and inept at worst. Blatantly stereotypical, most were created and drawn by white males who did not know much about the reality of African Americans. Over the years, the status of African American comic book characters evolved in the same negative ways that whites’ perceptions of blacks did. By the 1960s and 1970s, African Americans were depicted either as drug addicts or Uncle Toms.
True change did not occur until a few enterprising African Americans took matters into their own hands. By 1993, Africa Rising Comics, Afrocentric Books, Dark Zulu Lies, Omega 7 Comics, and UP Comics had created ANIA (the Swahili word for “serve and protect”) Comics under the leadership of Eric Griffin. The group’s goal was to become a major publishing force by pooling their talents. The mainstream comic book publishers responded by producing comic books that featured black characters to capitalize on the market that ANIA’s creators started. Disbanding soon thereafter, ANIA’s existence highlighted the growing line of non-white superheroes. Their titles included Brotherman, Malcolm 10, Heru, Zwanna, Purge, and Ebony Warrior.
In the mid-1990s, Big City Comics produced Brotherman, which revolved around a public defender who also fought crime as “the dictator of discipline.” Omega 7 Inc., founded by Alonzo Washington, a former member of ANIA, is based in Kansas City, Kansas. As of 2002, it was the largest independent African American comic book publisher. Omega 7 Inc. introduced fans to The Original Man, a champion of morality and supporter and protector of African American women; The Mighty Ace, with an anti-drug, anti-gang, anti-violence message; and Darkforce, a revolutionary African American hero. Other characters include Omega Man, Original Boy, Original Woman, and The Omega 7. Washington develops each comic and writes the storylines.
UP Comics offered Purge, which detailed the trials and tribulations of a man whose sole goal was to rid his city of evil. Lionheart, from Prophesy Comics, also emphasized morality. In a unique twist, Castel Publications came up with The Grammar Patrol, multiethnic heros with a penchant for knowing the rules of speech and writing. Geared towards children, it showed that the medium could be educational as well as entertaining.
Most of these companies were completely African American, from the owners and artists to the storywriters and marketers. Mainstream publishers entered the fray when industry giant DC Comics began distributing Milestone Comics in 1991 as part of their new imprint Milestone Media, formerly an African American-owned, independent publisher run by Derek T. Dingle. With a broad, full-process color system at hand, the company made history as the first major publisher to back African American creators. Among their titles have been Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Kobalt, Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, and Static, the latter featuring a teen hero who also became an animated television program.
Although the desire to read comic books with African American characters and the number of new African American comic books continued to increase, only between 25 and 30 percent of comic book buyers are minorities. Since the demise of ANIA and many other African American independently owned publishers, it became difficult for African Americans to produce their own publications. The two major comic book publishers, DC Comics and Marvel Comics, have both created several or more African American comic book characters and are not usually open to purchasing outside characters unless they can own them outright. In addition, some of the more popular African American comic book characters have been created by whites, for example, Spawn, Luke Cage, The Black Panther, The Falcon, and Blade (the inspiration for the movies starring Wesley Snipes). Therefore, aspiring African American comic book artists have two options: they can find an independent publisher or self-publish. Since both are usually difficult, many artists opt to work on more established characters, like Superman, Spiderman, or Batman, to ensure their financial stability with the goal of eventually saving enough money to publish their own characters. Two notable exceptions are Alex Simmons, creator of Blackjack and P. Skylar Owens, creator of Knightmare, Team Sexecutioner, and CyJax.
The African American press is heir to a great, largely-unheralded tradition. It began on March 16, 1827, with Freedom’s Journal in New York City, the first African American newspaper. It was edited and published by Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm. The editors wrote in the first issue: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the publick been deceived by misrepresentations, in things with concern us dearly. . . .” The North Star, the newspaper of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, first appeared on December 3, 1847. The masthead of the paper proclaimed, “Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.”
Many African American newspapers appeared in the nineteenth century, most of which did were not in print for long. By the 1880s, African Americans’ ability to establish a substantial cultural environment and the grous mistratment of subject relating to blacks by white-owned newspapers in many cities led to the creation of a new wave of publications including the Washington Bee, Indianapolis World, Philadelphia Tribune, Cleveland Gazette, Baltimore Afro-American, and New York Age. By 1900, daily papers appeared in Norfolk, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C.
Among famous African American newspaper editors were William Monroe Trotter, editor of the Boston Guardian, a self-styled “radical” paper that showed no sympathy for the conciliatory stance of Booker T. Washington; Robert S. Abbott, whose Chicago Defender pioneered the use of headlines; and T. Thomas Fortune of the New York Age, who championed free public schools in an age when many opposed the idea.
In 1940, there were more than 200 African American newspapers, mostly weeklies with local readerships, and about 120 African American magazines in circulation. The Pittsburgh Courier, a weekly, had readership of about 140,000 per issue, the largest at the time.
African Americans continue to gain influence as columnists, editorial page editors, assistant managing editors, and reporters on key beats. Although progress has been made in the newsroom, based on a 2002 report by the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), the prospects of African Americans assuming positions as managers are still low. Exceptions to this overwhelming reality include executive editors Ken Bunting at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Robert G. McGruder at the Detroit Free Press, who died in 2002; Bennie Ivory at the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and Karla Garrett Harshaw at the Springfield News Sun in Ohio. The
Denver Post became the largest U.S. newspaper (highest circulation daily) with an African American executive editor with the appointment of Gregory Moore, formerly the managing editor at the Boston Globe. Other African American editors include the managing editors at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Detroit News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Lansing State Journal, Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California, and News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware.
The 2002 ASNE report also stated that nearly 2,000 journalists left the newspaper industry in 2001. Despite the loss, however, there was an increase in the percentage of minority journalists working at daily newspapers. This was heartening after a decrease from 11.85 percent to 11.64 percent in the 2001 survey, which was the first decline since ASNE established the annual census in 1978. As it stood in 2002, African Americans comprised approximately 5.29 percent of the staff in U.S. newsrooms.
By 2006 minorities ASNE reported that minorities accounted for 11.2 percent of all supervisors in newsrooms up from 10.8 percent in 2005. Twenty percent of all minorities are supervisors, the same as last year. Sixty-six percent of the 377 newspapers with no minority professionals have circulations of 10,000 or less and serve small communities. The percentage of minorities working at newspapers with more than 500,000 circulation was down 16 percent, slightly from 18.4 last year. The percentage of minorities at newspapers from 250,001 to 500,000 circulation is now 24 percent, the same as last year; minorities at newspapers from 100,001 to 250,000 circulation now account for 25 percent, up from 23 percent.
The number of minority interns fell from 948 in the 2005 survey to 861 in 2006, reflecting the general belt-tightening in the newspaper industry.
The lack of minority representation in the newsrooms of mainstream publications has not hindered the rise of the ethnic press, which steadily built circulation and advertising revenue. Traditionally, the survival of the ethnic press depended on classified advertising and advertisements from local auto repair stores, grocers, and travel agents. Some of the more established African American newspapers have always attracted some mainstream advertising, but publications that serve smaller and diverse communities have begun to receive many of the larger billings. Among the largest advertisers were telecommunications companies, airlines, financial services companies, and health care corporations.
THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION
The National Negro Newspaper Publishers Association was founded in 1940 to represent African American newspaper publishers. The organization scheduled workshops and trips abroad to acquaint editors and reporters with important news centers and news sources. A result was a trend to more progressive and interpretive reporting. In 1956, the association changed its name to the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), but oftentimes is also referred to as the Black Press of America. In 1999, the association represented 148 publishers; by early 2007 it represented more than 200. NNPA Media Services claimed a readership of overh 15 million readers with a buying power of $572.1 billion.
In 2000, the NNPA launched NNPA Media Services—a print and web advertising-placement and press release distribution service. In 2001, the NNPA, in association with the NNPA Foundation, it began building the BlackPressUSA Network—the nation’s premier network of local Black community news and information portals. The BlackPressUSA Network is anchored by BlackPressUSA.com—the national web portal for the Black Press of America.
THE AMSTERDAM NEWS
Founded in 1909 by James H. Anderson, the Amsterdam News became one of the most well-known African American newspapers in the nation. It was first published on December 4, 1909, in Anderson’s home on 135 West 65th Street in New York City. At that time, it was one of only 50 African American “news sheets” in the country. The Amsterdam News had a staff of ten, consisted of six printed pages, and sold for two cents a copy. In 1935, the paper was sold to two African American physicians, Clilan B. Powell and Phillip M.H. Savory. In 1971, the paper was again sold to a group of investors, this time headed by Percy E. Sutton, Clarence B. Jones, and Wil-bert A. Tatum.
During the mid-1970s the Amsterdam News took militant positions on civil rights issues, but by the end of the decade it began to focus more moderately on social issues. In 1979, the paper’s format was changed from standard or broadsheet size to a tabloid. Following a second labor strike in 1983, the owner-publisher’s mantel was assumed by Wilbert Tatum in 1984. Under Tatum’s leadership, the paper gained a reputation as an intrepid African American voice on controversial local issues.
Over the course of the past 90 years, the best and brightest African American personages have written for the paper. They include T. Thomas Fortune, W. E. B. Du Bois, Adam Clayton Powell, Roy Wilkins, and Malcolm X. In 2007, Wilbert A. Tatums’s daughter, Elinor, sat at the helm of the paper.
AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
A number of newspapers that began publishing in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s have gone out of business, mainly
due to their inability to attract advertising, both locally and nationally, and because of a general economic decline. Nevertheless, in 2007, there were over 200 African American newspapers nationwide.
As early as the 1830s, African American magazines were published in the United States, but the first truly successful magazines did not appear until the 1900s. In 1910, the NAACP began publishing Crisis. In November 1942, John H. Johnson launched Negro Digest, and in 1945 he published the first issue of Ebony. The idea for the new magazine came from two Digest writers, and Johnson’s wife, Eunice, who contributed the magazine’s name. Its first print run of 25,000 copies sold out immediately. The success of Ebony led to the demise of Negro Digest, and in 1951 the Digest ceased publication. Ebony had circulation in 2002 of almost 2 million. In 2005, the year John H. Johnson died, Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., (JPC) was the number one African-American publishing company in the world. Ebony magazine boasted a circulation of 1.6 million, and JPC claimed annual overall sales of US$ 490 million. Johnson was the first African American to be listed on Forbes richest 400 African Americans list.
In 1950, Johnson launched the magazine Tan, and in 1951 Jet magazine. Similar to Ebony, Jet was an instant success, selling more than 300,000 copies in its first year. Tan, a woman’s magazine, later became a show business and personality monthly called Black Stars.
Since the founding of Ebony, several new and specialized African American magazines have appeared. In 1967, Black American Literature Review, a journal presenting essays, interviews, poems, and book reviews, was founded. In the same year, Project Magazines Inc. began publishing Black Careers. In 1969, the Black World Foundation published the first edition of The Black Scholar. Each Black Scholar issue focuses on different subjects. A 2005 issue focused on Cuban Actives and one in 2006 focused on black women.
In 1970, Earl G. Graves, a young businessman, embarked on a concept to publish a monthly digest of news, commentary, and informative articles for African Americans interested in business. Within a few short years, Black Enterprise was accepted as the authority on African Americans in business and as an important advocate for an active, socially responsive, African American middle class. In 2002, it had a monthly subscription rate of 400,000, and a readership of over 3.1 million. Essence, a magazine directed at black women, has gained in circulation since its inception in 1970. By 2006 Black Enterprise had a paid circulation of 500,000 with a readership of approximately 3.4 million. It is carried on board most major airlines, and can be found on newsstands nationwide. Featuring health and beauty, fashion, and contemporary living sections, Essence, which is part of the Essence Communications Partner conglomerate, is considered one of the top women’s magazines. As editor-in-chief for nearly 20 years, Susan L. Taylor was instrumental in the magazine’s success. In 2002 the American Society of Magazine Editors voted Taylor into the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame. Diane Weathers succeeded her as the editor-in-chief. Essence boasted a monthly circulation of more than 1 million in 2002, and a readership of 7.6 million, 29 percent of which was male. In 2005 Time, Inc. purchased Essence.
In 1980, Black Family, a magazine promoting positive lifestyles for African Americans, was founded. In 1986, American Visions: The Magazine of Afro-American Culture, the official magazine of the African American Museums Association, was first published. In 1989, Emerge, a political magazine that covered hard news, current events, and culture from an African American perspective, was introduced. Battling low circulation throughout its existence, it ceased publication in 2000, when Vanguarde Media, Inc. (VMI), a leading multicultural media company specializing in content aimed at, but not limited to, the urban audience, deemed it unprofitable. Vanguarde Media, Inc. was a division of BET Holdings, Inc., which was later sold to Viacom, Inc. VMI was not a part of the sale. Emerge was later replaced with Savoy, a lifestyle magazine.
In 2000, TV talk-show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey successfully launched O, The Oprah Magazine. The choice for the name was finalized after a series of focus groups were conducted. The overall theme and message of the magazine was to lead women down a path of personal growth. The magazine also offered advice, delved into spirituality, highlighted beauty and fashion, and emphasized health and fitness. By 2007 O had a won a variety of awards and had a circulation of almost 2.4 million.
By 2002, based on research conducted by a U.S. university, African American-owned magazines—such as Heart & Soul, VIBE, American Legacy, Honey, Upscale, and Black Child—continued to flourish in harsh economic times because most of their revenue came from subscriptions. Securing high-end advertising, however, remained a problem. Even though African American magazines have made significant progress in attracting automotive, tobacco, and liquor advertisements, whole categories such as fashion, travel, and technology were almost completely absent from their pages. With the increase of the African American middle class, advertising agencies believed that they could reach African Americans through mainstream advertising, in particular through television.
African American radio can be divided into three general periods of historical development: blackface radio (1920-1941), black-appeal radio (1942-1969), and black-controlled radio (1970). White performers who imitated black humor and music for a predominantly white listening audience was the trademark of blackface radio. During this period, African Americans were essentially outside of the commercial loop, both as radio entertainers and consumers. In the era of black-appeal radio, African Americans entered the industry as entertainers and consumers. The ownership and management of the African American-oriented stations, however, remained mostly in the hands of white businessmen. This situation impelled the development of independent African American radio stations. With the onset of the black-controlled radio era, African Americans began to own and operate their own radio stations, both commercial and public. Nevertheless, the percentage of African American-owned stations lagged far behind the percentage of African American listeners.
While early radio shows featured African American singing groups, they featured no African Americans talking. To Jack L. Cooper, this “was like taxation without representation,” and so, on Sunday, November 3, 1929, at 5P.M. Chicago’s white-owned WSBC premiered “The All-Negro Hour” starring Cooper and friends. Born was the concept of African American radio, and Cooper went on to become the nation’s first African American radio station executive, the first African American newscaster, the first African American sportscaster, and the first to use radio as a service medium.
Cooper wore many hats. He played second base for a semi-pro baseball team; he had been a singer, a buck-and-wing dancer, and an end man in a minstrel show; he fought 160 amateur boxing bouts; and he managed theaters. Between about 1910 and 1924, he worked as a journalist, writing for a number of African American newspapers including the Freeman, Ledger, and Recorder in Indianapolis; and the Bluff City News and Western World Reporter in Memphis. In 1924, he became the assistant theatrical editor of the Chicago Defender.
“The All-Negro Hour” was similar to a vaudeville revue on the air, featuring music, comedy, and serials. When it ended its run in 1935, Cooper continued with WSBC, pioneering the African American-radio format by producing several African American-oriented shows. Crucial to that format was local news and public affairs of interest to African Americans.
The first example of public service programming aired December 9, 1938, when Cooper launched the “Search for Missing Persons” show. Aimed at reuniting people who had lost contact with friends and relatives over time, it reportedly had reunited 20,000 people by 1950. According to Ebony magazine, Cooper also remodeled a van into a mobile unit to relay on-the-spot news events directly to four radio stations in the Chicago metropolitan area, including news flashes from the Pittsburgh Courier and interviews with famous personalities who came to town, such as boxer Joe Louis. Cooper also did play-by-play for African American baseball games from the van.
“Listen Chicago,” a news discussion show that ran from 1946 to 1952, provided African Americans with their first opportunity to use radio as a public forum. Following Cooper’s lead, between 1946 and 1955 the number of African American-oriented stations jumped from 24 to 600. News was a part of the explosion. “We have learned to do newscasts that answer the question, ’How is this news going to affect me as a Negro?,’” Leonard Walk of WHOD Pittsburgh said in 1954. “We have learned that church and social news deserve a unique place of importance in our daily Negro programming.” Yet by and large, these broadcasters were not trained journalists. African American stations did not begin to broadcast news in the modern style until the 1960s.
In 1972, the Mutual Black Network was formed for news and sports syndication under the auspices of the Mutual Broadcasting Network. By the end of the 1970s, the Mutual Black Network had just over 100 affiliates and 6.2 million listeners. The Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation, an African American-owned broadcasting chain based in Pittsburgh, purchased the Mutual Black Network in the late 1970s, renaming it the Sheridan Broadcasting Network. A second African American radio network, the National Black Network, was formed in 1973. In the 1980s, it averaged close to 100 affiliates and 4 million listeners. Among its regular features was commentary by journalist Roy Wood, which he named “One Black Man’s Opinion,” and Bob Law’s “Night Talk.” In January 1992, the American Urban Radio Network was formed, while the National Black Network has since gone out of business.
The networks were a mixed blessing. They provided their affiliates with broadcast-quality programs produced from an African American perspective. This relatively inexpensive access to news, sports, and public affairs features discouraged subscribing stations from producing their own local shows. News and public affairs staffs at the African American-oriented stations remained minimal. There were some notable exceptions, however, including New York’s WLIB-AM, which had an African American format that included a highly acclaimed news and public affairs department. A series of shows produced by the station on disadvantaged youth in the city won two Peabody Awards in 1970.
In Washington, D.C., the Washington Post donated its commercial FM radio license to Howard University in 1971. The new station, WHUR-FM, inaugurated “The Daily Drum,” a full hour-long evening newscast that featured special coverage of the local African American community, as well as news from Africa and the Diaspora. In 2007, it was rated one of the five most popular stations in the Washington, D.C. area.
Two major formats have dominated African American-owned commercial radio since the 1970s: “talk” and “urban contemporary.” Talk radio formats emerged on African American AM stations in the early 1970s and featured news, public affairs, and live listener call-in shows. By the same time, FM stations dominated the broadcasting of recorded music due to their superior reproduction of high fidelity and stereo signals. In 1972, Inner City Broadcasting initiated the move toward talk radio when it purchased WLIB-AM and the station became “Your Total Black News and Information Station,” offering more news and public affairs programming than any other African American-formatted radio outlet in the country.
A pioneer in both “talk” and “urban contemporary” formats, Catherine Liggins Hughes (Cathy Hughes), the founder and owner of Radio One, Inc., owns the largest African American-owned and operated broadcast company in the United States. Radio One’s 65 plus broadcast properties include stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, and Detroit. Radio One stations are recognized continually for their active community involvement, which is Hughes’s trademark. By 2004 Radio One included 68 stations worth three billion dollars.
In 1971, Hughes became a lecturer at Howard University’s School of Communication under the direction of Tony Brown. She was instrumental in creating a curriculum that would be accredited by academic associations around the world. In 1973, she began her transition into radio as general sales manager at WHUR-FM, eventually becoming vice president and general manager. Her skills in sales and marketing strategies turned the station into the university’s first profit venue in its 100-year history, increasing the station’s revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. In 1975, she developed the now widely-imitated format known as the “Quiet Storm.” She purchased her first station, WOLAM, in Washington, D.C., in 1980. In 2005, Radio One was the nation’s seventh largest broadcasting company.
Since the 1970s, the number of African Americans who have entered the public broadcasting arena has increased. In 1990, there were 32 public FM stations owned and operated by African American colleges around the country and another 12 owned by African American community boards of directors. These stations are not subject to the pervasive ratings pressures of commercial radio, thus giving them more latitude in programming news, public affairs, talk, and unusual cultural features. As a result, the growth of African American public radio has expanded the variety and diversity of African American programming now found on the airways, while also increasing the number of African Americans working in radio.
Until the late 1960s, most serious African American journalists were in print journalism rather than in broadcasting. An exception was Lionel Monagas who worked in the early 1950s as a director of CBS-TV network programs, such as Person to Person and Face the Nation. He had started out as a traffic typist with the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. In 1956, Monagas became the first African American professional at public station Channel 35 in Philadelphia, later known as WHYY-TV. At WHYY he produced several children’s programs including a ten-part series on The History of the Negro, narrated by Ossie Davis.
Mal Goode became the first African American network TV reporter in 1962 at ABC-TV. Goode reported that baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson complained to James Hagerty, an ABC vice president hired to set up a competitive news department, that the only two black people he had seen at ABC were “a lady with a white uniform in the lobby dusting and a Negro doorman. [Hagerty’s] face got red, and he said we intend to do something about that.” Goode was a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier at the time, but in 1949 Pittsburgh’s KQV Radio had given the newspaper two 15-minute slots to fill on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Goode read the news on the program. According to Goode, ABC chose him for the job after spending half a year interviewing 38 African American male candidates. One reason he was chosen, he said, was that he was dark enough to appeal to an African American audience, but light enough so that whites would not feel threatened. Goode went on to work for ABC for 11 years. He was its United Nations correspondent and covered the Cuban missile crisis, the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and the Poor People’s March on Washington.
Jobs similar to Goode’s were hard to find. In his memoir, Black Is the Color of My TV Tube, Emmy-winner Gil Noble of New York’s WABC-TV recalled being at WLIB-AM radio during this era: “We would sit in the newsroom and fantasize about earning $300 a week, but few of our number worked at that level. Pat Connell, a former disc jockey at Newark’s WNJR, known as “Pat the Cat,” was anchoring the CBS morning newscast. Mal Goode was reporting for ABC-TV news, as well as for the local station WABC. NBC didn’t have any blacks at that time, as far as I can recall, and in the mid-1960s, WNEW-TV had none, nor did WPIXTV or WOR-TV have any.” When Noble went downtown to audition for a major radio station job, he would intone in the ultimate radio voice—“a [Walter] Cronkite delivery that outdid the original”—only to get the familiar brushoff, “Thanks very much. You’re fine, but we already have a Negro on staff.”
Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant was an innovative show in New York City. Albeit short-lived on the air from 1968– 1970—it was the city’s first program written, produced, and presented by African Americans at a time when African Americans were largely unseen on television, except for news footage about protests, riots, or crime. Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant offered a unique look into an ignored African American neighborhood and, to a degree, African Americans. In 52 half-hour programs, it was filmed throughout the Bed-Stuy neighborhood, often outdoors. Attracting such major celebrities as singer/actor Harry Belafonte and musician Max Roach, the show mostly revolved around the ordinary people in the neighborhood.
Film scholars and social historians consider Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant a rare video time capsule, perhaps the only one of its kind, documenting an African American community. Its creator, Charles Hobson, announced the debut of the show two months after the federal government’s Kerner Commission issued a report on race relations, criticizing the media for failing to adequately cover African American communities.
A few African Americans made it onto the white-controlled airwaves. William C. Matney Jr., who had been managing editor of the Michigan Chronicle, an African American community paper, and a reporter for the Detroit News in 1963, became a TV and radio reporter for WMAQ-TV, the NBC-owned station in Chicago. He joined NBC-TV news in 1966. Veteran newswoman Norma Quarles was hired as a trainee at NBC News in 1966, moving a year later to the NBC station in Cleveland as a reporter and anchor, and ultimately to CNN. Lem Tucker, who died in March 1991, joined NBC News as a copy boy in 1965 and moved up to assistant bureau chief in Vietnam.
In 1967, a self-described “teacher moonlighting as a jazz disc jockey”—who also called play-by-play for basketball games and read the news—applied for a job at soon-to-be all-news WCBS radio in New York. Ed Bradley, who would later co-host CBS-TV’s most successful news show 60 Minutes, impressed a news director by refusing to write copy and record it because, he explained, “You won’t learn enough about me that way.” Instead, he borrowed a tape recorder, went out on the street, did an update of a story about an anti-poverty program, and got the job. In Portsmouth, Virginia, however, an audacious 25-year-old newscaster named Max Robinson was fired from a UHF station after he broke the rules by showing his face on camera. It was 1964, and only the word “News” was to appear on the screen. Many white viewers were enraged to see one of “those people” working in the studio. According to news director James Snyder, in 1971 Robinson became the first African American anchor in a major market, at WTOP-TV in Washington, D.C. Robinson later became ABC-TV’s first African American regular co-anchor.
It took the riots of the 1960s and a stern warning from a federal commission for the broadcast industry to undertake any concentrated hiring of African Americans. When American cities began to burn, African Americans held about 3.6 percent of TV news jobs. White news directors had to scramble to find African American journalists to cover the riots. In 1968, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission, concluded that “the world that television and newspapers offer to their black audience is almost totally white, in both appearance and attitude.” “Within a year,” wrote Noble, “many of us found ourselves working downtown at major radio and TV stations.”
In June 1969, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules prohibiting discrimination in broadcast industry employment and required stations to file annual reports showing the racial makeup of their workforce by job category. African American public affairs shows, such as Noble’s Like It Is, Black Journal hosted by Tony Brown, and Philadelphia’s Black Perspectives on the News, aired in nearly every city with a substantial African American population. Still, by the time Mal Goode retired in 1973, there were only seven African American reporters at the three networks.
In the 1990s, African Americans began breaking into broadcast management and ownership, yet the numbers remained small. TV general managers included Charlotte Moore English of KSHB-TV, Kansas City; Marcellus Alexander of WJZ-TV, Baltimore; Eugene Lothery of WCAU-TV, Philadelphia; Clarence McKee, CEO and chairman of WTVT-TV, Tampa, Florida; and Dorothy Brunson, owner of a small UHF station, WGTW-TV, Philadelphia.
Ronald Townsend, president of the Gannett Television Group, comprising ten stations, chaired the National Association of Broadcasters’ TV board. Jonathan Rodgers became president of the CBS Television Stations Division in August 1990, making him network television’s highest-ranking African American news executive. Bryant Gumbel, past co-host of NBC-TV’s Today, CBS News correspondent Ed Bradley, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey became three of the highest-paid and most recognized faces on television. ABC-TV’s Carole Simpson became a substitute and weekend network TV anchor. African Americans anchored local newscasts in markets around the country.
Another African American-owned broadcasting company that has made great strides in the industry is Granite Broadcasting Corporation. Operating in geographically diverse markets that reach more than 6 percent of the nation’s television households, the company’s station portfolio consisted of three NBC affiliates, two ABC affiliates, one CBS affiliate, and two major market WB affiliates. Granite is also recognized as an innovator in the development of new media services that combine television broadcasting and Internet platforms.
Still, African Americans, while 12 percent of the population in the 1990 census, represented only 9.8 percent of the television news workforce and 5 percent of the radio workforce. They held 4 percent of the news director positions at commercial TV stations and about 5 percent at commercial radio stations. Those heading news operations included Gary Wordlaw at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., and Will Wright at WWOR-TV in New York. According to an annual survey by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, most of the news on nightly network television shows continued to be presented by white males. African Americans accounted for only 5 percent of all field reports and anchor stories combined, its 1991 survey found. The most visible African American correspondent was George Strait, ABC-TV health reporter, who tied for 57th in the number of stories filed. Carole Simpson was in sixth place, based on the number of brief news reports read.
In 2001, the Center for Media and Public Affairs diversity survey reported that the proportion of stories covered by minorities fell from 14 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2000, a decline of 21 percent. In addition, minorities covered only 8 percent of ABC’s stories, their lowest level of representation since 1992; only 14 percent at NBC; and a slightly better 15 percent at CBS. Furthermore, the study noted that the dominance of white males in newscasts continued with only three minority correspondents appearing among the top ten reporters, the most in CMPA’s 11 years of tracking. Jim Avila (NBC) ranked 6th on the list of most often-featured correspondents, with Bill Whitaker (CBS) and Byron Pitts (CBS) ranking 7th and 10th, respectively. Only one other minority—ABC’s Ron Claiborne ranking 41st—was among the top 50 correspondents. According to CMPA President Dr. Robert Lichter, “Despite the networks’ recent commitment to diversity in prime-time entertainment, this attitude has apparently not reached their news bureaus.”
The number of African American television and radio owners has decreased because of the consolidation frenzy in the broadcasting industry compounded by the elimination of a federal tax credit that favored minority groups. According to a 1995 survey, of the 1,221 television stations, members of minority groups owned 37; of the 10,191 radio stations, 293 were minority owned. Although the numbers are small, they reflect a significant increase since 1978. That same year, the Federal Communications Commission agreed to grant tax credits to radio and television station owners who sold their properties to minority buyers. The objective of the tax credits benefit was to broaden broadcast ownership and promote more diverse viewpoints. The result effectively lowered the acquisition costs of a television or radio station for a minority.
One benefactor of the tax credit was Ragan A. Henry, an African American lawyer and founder of U.S. Radio. He used the tax break to assemble what had been the largest African American-owned radio group in the nation by 1996 with 25 stations. In 1996, Henry sold U.S. Radio for $140 million to Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio. His financial backers were unwilling to put up more money to buy increasingly expensive stations. It was expected that minority owners would continue to sell their broadcast holdings to white-owned companies as station prices escalated.
Refusing to follow the trend of selling to larger white-owned entities, Ross Love, founder of Blue Chip Broadcasting Ltd., which was established in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, became a part of the Radio One family in 2001. At the time of acquisition, Blue Chip Broadcasting had 15 radio stations in 5 markets—Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The radio stations owned by Blue Chip in Lexington, Kentucky were sold separately to another party. Additionally, Radio One agreed to operate WDBZ-AM, a Blue Chip urban talk station located in Cincinnati, under a local marketing agreement. Ownership of WDBZ was supposed to transfer to a new company owned principally by Ross Love, Blue Chip’s founder and chief executive. In conjunction with this acquisition, Ross Love was nominated to serve on Radio One’s board of directors. In the press release announcing Radio One’s purchase of Blue Chip Broadcasting, Love expressed his belief that the acquisition would benefit the business’s employees and investors by expanding into new markets. Love added, “We share a core expertise in the Urban lifestyle formats and we share a commitment to bettering the communities which we serve.”
The tax credit was eliminated in 1995 when Congress swept aside affirmative action policies. The program came under attack because of its use by Viacom to escape $600 million in taxes in a proposed sale of its cable television properties. Viacom had arranged to sell its cable systems to an African American entrepreneur whose company received financial backing from Tele-Communications Inc., the nation’s largest cable operator. Since the elimination of the tax credit, the number of minority-owned stations declined slightly.
Although no longer required to adhere to the affirmative action guidelines established by the FCC, the four major networks and several of the largest owners of radio stations agreed to continue to follow them in their outreach and recruitment efforts. The demise of the affirmative action guidelines came about when it was declared unconstitutional—naysayers believed it would lead to quotas—by a federal court in the spring of 1998.
The list of companies that agreed to continue following the affirmative action guidelines set by the FCC include ABC, CBS, NBC, the Fox network, Time Warner Inc.-which includes CNN, the Tribune Company, and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., the owner of 183 radio stations and 18 television stations. Cox Communications, the Cablevision Systems Corporation, the TCI Group, and Comcast Corporation—all cable outlets—have also agreed. According to BIA, a company that monitors revenues in broadcasting, all of these companies earn roughly one-third of the annual advertising revenue in the broadcast industry.
One of Cathy Hughes recent ventures is TV One, Inc., launched on January 19, 2004, in partnership with Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-television provider. TV One caters to the adult lifestyles of African Americans offering quality programming such as “B. Smith with Style,” and an array of original programming. Hughes who serves on the board of TV One, is the Executive Producer of “The Gospel of Music with Jeff Majors,” and also hosts TV One’s interview show, “TV One on One.” According to Black Enterprise, TV One, launched in January 2004, grew by 39% from December 2005 to December 2006, and can now be seen in 33.8 million households.
RADIO AND TELEVISION ADVERTISING
A study conducted in the late 1990s by the U.S. broadcast regulators found that advertisers discriminate against minority-owned radio and television stations or stations that target African American audiences. Furthermore, a recent FCC-sponsored report determined that minority stations earned an estimated 63 percent less in advertising revenue per listener than similar non-minority stations. Many advertisers believed that they could reach African American listeners by sticking to mainstream radio.
It is a general belief that the lack of advertising dollars allocated to African American-formatted stations is due to the lack of minority representation at advertising firms. To remedy this situation, many advertising firms have stepped up their recruitment of minorities. In 1998, minority professionals comprised 11 percent of employees at the nation’s 25 leading advertising agencies, up from 7.6 percent in 1995.
Begun in the early 1950s, public television failed to realize the hopes of many African Americans for most of its short history. Tony Brown’s Black Journal, later Tony Brown’s Journal, was well-received by African American viewers as the only national African American public affairs series on television, but it was constantly threatened with cancellation. After complaints about its anti-administration attitude, the show stayed on the air after it secured underwriting from Pepsi Cola. In its 29th season as of 2002, Tony Brown’s Journal continued to provide commentary, timely documentaries, and issues of special interest to the African American community.
In 1975, the only African American FCC commissioner, Benjamin Hooks, joined the critics accusing public broadcasters of “arrogance” and of concentrating their efforts on cultured, white cosmopolitans. A 1975 review of public broadcasting stations showed that 108 of 184 public radio licensees (59%) and 52 of the 160 public television licensees (33%) had no minority staff in the top three job categories (officials, managers, and professionals).
In the early 1990s, the highest-ranking African Americans in public television were Jennifer Lawson, who joined PBS in November 1989 as its first executive vice president for national programming and promotion services; Donald L. Marbury, director of the Television Program Fund of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and George L. Miles Jr., executive vice president and chief operating officer of WNET-TV New York. Lawson obtained and commissioned the programs that PBS provided to its member stations as well as the promotion of those programs. Marbury managed the $45 million television program fund, which furnished financial support for major series in public television, such as Frontline.
The most visible African American journalist on public television has been Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former national correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, formerly the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. A former New York Times reporter noted for her in-depth reporting, Hunter worked for PBS from 1977 to 1997, for NPR from 1997 to 1999, and since 1999 as the Johannesburg (South Africa) Bureau Chief and correspondent for CNN. As of 2002, other African American journalists on television were: Kwame Holman, a Washington correspondent, and Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent and host of Washington Week, both on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; the host of Life 360, Michel Martin, a correspondent on ABC News Nightline; and Karen Gibbs, co-host of Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE.
One of the most acclaimed pieces of African American journalism on PBS was Eyes on the Prize, a history of the civil rights movement produced by Henry Hampton, which aired in 1987, with a sequel in 1990. A Huey P. Newton Story, which was based on the life of assassinated co-founder of the Black Panther Party and produced by Spike Lee, won the George Foster Peabody Award. Produced by Avon Kirkland, Ralph Ellison: An American Journey explored the life and work of the influential author whose landmark novel, Invisible Man, won him a lifetime of awards and honors; it was nominated for a Literacy In Media Award.
Other programs of note produced by African Americans on PBS between 2000 and 2002, included: Africa, A Special Presentation of Nature, which was the first television series to explore the African continent through the eyes of Africans; Great Performances—Free to Dance, which chronicled the crucial role that African American dancers and choreographers played in the development of modern dance as an American art form; and American Experience—Marcus Garvey, a program that examined the rise, fall, and global influence of the African American leader.
In 1980, Howard University launched WHMMTV, becoming the first licensee of a public TV station on an African American campus and the only African American-owned public television station in the nation. In 1998 the station changed to WHUT-TV. The station has won numerous Emmys and other awards. On August 31, 1991, San Francisco’s Minority Television Project went on the air with KMTP-TV, which became the nation’s second African American-owned public television station. One of the principals was Adam Clayton Powell III, son of the late Harlem congressman, Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Before 1967, there were only two African American educational outlets in the country; by 1990 there were 40 African American public radio stations. Many of them were community radio stations, owned and operated by nonprofit foundations, controlled by a local board of directors, and dependent on listener donations. Others were on college campuses. One of the most successful was WPFW-FM, a 50,000-watt outlet launched in 1977 by the Pacifica Foundation.
Stations such as WCLK-FM at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, WBVA-FM in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and WVAS-FM at Alabama State University in Montgomery, tailored news and public affairs programming to their local African American audiences. WVAS was used as a broadcast journalism lab by students majoring in the field. In the 1990s, on National Public Radio, African American journalists Phyllis Crockett, Vertamae Grosvenor, Cheryl Duvall, and Brenda Wilson won awards for reports on South Africa and issues involving African Americans. Although Crockett and Duvall are no longer with NPR, two new African American journalists, Cheryl Corley and Phillip Davis, have joined the station. Corley’s honors include a Chicago Association of Black Journalists award in 2000 for Excellence in Radio (news) and several in 2001, for news, documentary feature, and sports; a Peabody Award as part of the NPR team covering the September 11 attacks; and the Distinguished Service Award (2002) from the American Psychiatric Association Alliance. The National Association of Black Journalists conferred its Award in Excellence to NPR’s team coverage of the “UN Conference on Racism,” to which Cheryl Corley and Phillip Martin—NPR’s former Race Relations Reporter—were a part.
The 1980s saw the explosion of cable television and the decline of television networks. Black Entertainment Television (BET), founded by former congressional aide Robert L. Johnson, made its debut in 1980 and established a news division by the end of the decade. That division produced the weekly news show BET News and Lead Story, a talk-show featuring African American pundits.
In 2000, however, the African American community lost control of one of its largest communications companies when BET became a new property of Viacom Inc., an internationally respected media giant. Johnson drew $1.6 billion out of the package, becoming the first African American billionaire.
In a $3 billion deal, Viacom purchased the BET brand—the core cable channel, BET on Jazz and BET International. For the first time in 20 years, BET’s development in these areas will not be controlled by African Americans. Viacom also purchased BET.com and BET’s Arabesque Books, the publishing division. The magazine arm, BET’s Movies/Starz, BET’s Soundstage, jazz club, and other restaurants were not part of the deal. Notably, the company had turned its daily operations of its leading magazines, EMERGE and BET Weekend, over to new partner, Vanguarde Media Inc., owned by former VIBE publisher Keith Clinkscales. Clinkscales discontinued both magazines.
The biggest development in cable journalism, however, was the spectacular growth of Ted Turner’s Cable News Network (CNN), which went on the air in June 1980. By the time of the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf, CNN had established itself as the station to watch in a crisis. Transmitted across the globe, it became a medium for world leaders to communicate with one another. Until the launching of MSNBC in 1996, CNN had no competition. MSNBC, a massive joint venture between the NBC television network and Microsoft Corporation, was the only service of its kind, combining TV, cable, and the Internet. This news empire claimed an immediate reach of over 25 million households.
Veteran journalist Bernard Shaw, principal Washington anchor, was one of three CNN reporters who captivated the world’s audiences with their continuous coverage of the bombing of Baghdad on January 16, 1991, the first night of Operation Desert Storm. Shaw concluded his career as a full-time CNN anchor on Inside Politics in 2001. Other African Americans who have worked at CNN include Jay Suber, vice president and executive producer, news features, CNN Newsroom; Graylian Young, Southeast bureau chief; CNN anchors Andrea Arceneaux, Leon Harris, and Joe Oliver; Cassandra Henderson, anchor for CNN Newsroom; Lyn Vaughn and Gordon Graham, Headline News anchors; and sports anchor Fred Hickman. Correspondent Norma Quarles has been with CNN since 1988. She joined the station after serving 21 years with NBC News and its affiliates.
African Americans were cruising the information super-highway-a vast electronic communications network comprised of telephones, computers, and televisions-in growing numbers during the late 1990s. An increasing number of African Americans—5.6 million, according to a 1999 Nielsen-CommerceNet study—were using the Internet at home, work, school, and at libraries. This represented an increase of more than 50 percent from 1998. Two years later, Forrester Research, a technology research firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, indicated that the popularity of the Internet had not waned within the African American community. More specifically, at that time, approximately 12 million African Americans used the Internet with an estimated 1 million more expected to go on line each year. Furthermore, this study stated that African American households were getting wired and going online at a faster rate than the country as a whole. Therefore, it was little surprise that an African American was one of the key spokespeople for cyberspace-related equity issues.
Branded “The Net’s Conscience,” Larry Irving was director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Far from being the only person of color with clout on the Net, though, Irving was one of many experts working in the burgeoning industry to provide access to a wide array of information for educational, business, and entertainment purposes. Other high-ranking African Americans included Andrew C. Barrett, the only black commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); Ray Winbush, director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University—a network linking black colleges, students, and professors; Jimmy Davies, who partnered with Apple Computer to establish a national electronic bulletin board service for blacks called the African American Information Network; Eugene and Phyllis Tucker Vinson Jackson, founders of the World African Network, a 24-hour, pay cable television network for blacks; and Cleo Manago, founder of the Black Men’s Xchange, an Afrocentric national communications clearinghouse.
The World Wide Web comprises a major component of the “highway.” Many African American news-oriented Web sites are mentioned below, as well as in the newspaper, magazine, and journal listings in this chapter. Some of the most popular African American Web sites offering information on the various subjects covered in this reference work, can be found in the Bibliography in the back of the book.
SELECTED WEB SITES
www.aawc.com (African American Web Connection) A gateway to Afrocentric Web sources for the African American community. Topics include art & poetry, black authors, businesses, churches, entertainment, history, organizations, resources in Africa, and publications.
www.abouttimemag.com Online version of About Time magazine. It includes selected full-text articles from recent issues, with archives planned as far back as 1994.
www.Africana.com Covers African and African American history, current and past politics, music, books, movies, and education on a worldwide scale.
www.africanamericanyearbook.com (The African American Yearbook) The African American Yearbook is published annually both on line and in print. It includes an up-to-date list of black-oriented websites, publications, and radio and TV stations. The database also includes African American population statistics, a list of African American Mayors, names of prominent African Americans, African American conventions and events and other useful information.
www.Afronet.com A Web portal for information about the African and African American experience. Topics include legal services, entertainment, health, sports, trading, beauty, and business.
www.BET.com Online version of the cable station, Black Entertainment Television. Areas of interest include news, music, entertainment, books, food, health, and much more. Highlights about the company and its televised programs are also featured.
www.BlackAmericaWeb.com A Tom Joyner promoted Web portal targeting African Americans. It features news, business, careers, books, technology, health & fitness, travel, sports, entertainment, and entrepreneur opportunities.
www.black-collegian.com Online version Black Collegian, a national career opportunities magazine. It focuses on education and career information for African American students, as well as providing commentary by leading African American writers, lifestyle and entertainment features, general information on college life, and news on college campuses.
www.blackenterprise.com Online version of Black Enterprise. It offers information about entrepreneurship, technology, personal finance, and other minority business issues.
www.blackfacts.com An online searchable database for African American history facts.
www.blackhistorypages.com Provides a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics about people of African descent. With links to other Web sites, topics include Black Indians, civil rights, education, entertainment, genealogy, inventors, lynching, and much more.
www.blackmind.com Features history, culture, politics, philosophy, and economics all from an African American perspective. Specific topics include shopping, travel, health, insurance, fitness, home, and sports.
www.blackpgs.com (Internet Black Pages) A listing of African American businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and events in black communities around the world.
www.BlackPlanet.com Enables African Americans to cultivate meaningful personal and professional relationships, stay informed about the world, and gain access to goods and services that will allow them to do more in life.
www.BlackPressUSA.com The only national Web site featuring news exclusively from African American journalists and community publications.
www.blackquest.com An African American history resource established by C. Arthur Blair, the creator of the game, Black Quest—The Griot, an educational and heritage game that introduces and reinforces the experiences, achievements, and contributions of African Americans.
www.blacktalk.com Offers online discussion of numerous topics open to all people.
www.BlackVoices.com Features a variety of topics, most of them geared toward the African American community, such as national and world news, sports, arts & entertainment, business, health, travel, and an automotive section. Other areas of interest include a career center, chat rooms, and message boards.
www.BlackWebPortal.com A Web portal to find black businesses, Web sites, and events. It also features discussion boards, chat rooms, weather, and eCommerce. BlackWebPortal is the only site that is 100% African-American owned.
www.blackworld.com Provides information on a myriad of topics (business & economy, real estate, society & culture, government, health, travel & tourism, education, recreation, sports, etc.) from places around the world with people of African descent (Africa, the Carribbean, France, and the United Kingdom). General topics of interest such as the lottery, horoscopes, soap opera updates, art, music, car rental, and airline reservations are also included.
www.ebony.com Online version of Ebony magazine. Offers an abbreviated version of the articles and features in the current issue only.
www.essence.com Online version Essence magazine. Targeted toward African American women, topics range from relationships to beauty & style to wellness to food to finance. The site also features ESSENCE by Mail, ESSENCE at the Mall and ESSENCE Gifts. Although ESSENCE still is geared to the black female audience, it is no longer owned by African Americans.
www.heartandsoul.com Online version of Heart and Soul, a healthy lifestyle magazine. It features beauty, video, music, and much more.
www.honeymag.com Online version of Honey magazine. It features entertainment news, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle issues aimed at young urban women.
www.jetmag.com Online version of Jet magazine. It features selected stories from the current issue, as well as information on black history, beauty, and movies.
www.MelaNet.com (The Uncut Black Experience) Dedicated to the intellectual, economic, and spiritual expression of peoples throughout the African Diaspora.
heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/pub/README.html (Minority Affairs Forum) Created by Professor Norman Matloff in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California at Davis, this site contains articles on minority related topics including immigration, affirmative action, bilingual education, and race relations.
www.montelshow.com Online version of the Montel Williams Show. It features the schedule for upcoming shows and highlights from past shows. There is also an opportunity to learn more about the host, to search for topics of special interest, to submit show ideas, and to pose questions to the show’s resident expert.
www.netnoir.com One of the first African American Web sites. Topics of interest include folks & culture, news & information, entertainment, business, education, music, politics, and online shopping.
www.niaonline.com One of the premier Internet destinations for African American women. Topics include world news, parenting, health, money, relationships and careers. Top African American opinion-makers and well-known columnists like Jill Nelson, Jewel Diamond Taylor and Harriette Cole also serve as contributors of information.
www.Oprah.com Online version of the Oprah Winfrey Show. It also features information on O, The Oprah Magazine, “Oprah’s Angel Network,” and “Oprah’s Book Club,” as well as a wide range of other topics of interest to women.
www.savoymag.com Online version of Savoy magazine. It provides cultural news and lifestyle information for African American adults.
www.SeeingBlack.com Portal focusing on “black opinion, reviews and voice.” It provides current articles on film, the visual arts, politics, media and music reviews, as well as chat rooms, subscription services, and a commercial store with specialty merchandise.
www.SOHH.com (Search online Hip-Hop) Geared towards the hip-hop music industry. Also features entertainment,lifestyle,sports,travel,health&fitness,andtechnology.
www.soulofamerica.com The doorway to Afrocentric treasures throughout the nation. Areas of interest include the arts, cultural sites, churches, historic sites, black-owned restaurants, nightclubs, radio stations, and shopping.
www.tavistalks.com Features all things related to Tavis Smiley, former host of BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, political commentator for the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show (ABC Radio Networks) and host of Tavis Talks on NPR (National Public Radio).
www.tjms.com Online version of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which is aired in over 100 U.S. markets. It features segments from the show, as well as news, entertainment, weather, health, and education.
www.topblacksites.com Provides a list of the most highly trafficked African American Web sites.
www.upscalemagazine.com Online version of Upscale magazine. Areas of interest include style & beauty, entertainment
& arts, and travel & living. Highlights from the current issue and a career corner are also available.
www.vibe.com Online version of VIBE magazine. Loaded with graphics, advertisements, illustrations, and articles on youth-oriented music and culture.
(To locate biographical profiles more readily, please consult the index at the back of the book.)
ROBERT S. ABBOTT (1870–1940) Newspaper Publisher
A native of St. Simons Island, Georgia, Abbott studied at Beach Institute in Savannah, and later completed his undergraduate work at Claflin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Migrating to Chicago, he attended Kent Law School and took a job in a printing house until he completed his law studies in 1899.
Abbott returned to Chicago and published the first edition of the Defender on May 5, 1905, which he initially sold on a door-to-door basis. After Abbott’s death, the Defender was handed over to his nephew, John H. Sengstacke, who introduced a daily edition of the paper in 1956.
TYRA BANKS (1973– ) Talk show host, supermodel, actress
The Tyra Banks Show is an American daytime talk show hosted by former supermodel and America’s Next Top Model creator Tyra Banks. It premiered on September 12, 2005, and is filmed in front of a live audience at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. While the show covers a variety of topics, there is a significant focus on current issues facing women. The show is aired in many countries. Banks, who began her career as a model at age seventeen, has posed for many upscale magazines and has appeared in several movies. She was born in Los Angeles, California.
WILLIAM BANKS (1903–1985) Broadcasting Executive, Attorney, Minister
Born in Geneva, Kentucky, in 1903, William Banks relocated to Detroit as a young man and, after earning a law degree, became a Baptist minister during his forties. Long active in numerous African American community organizations in the city, Banks founded the International Free and Accepted Masons and Eastern Star in 1950 and, under his guidance, the growing group soon became a financially-sound and charity-driven fraternal organization. He continued to work as an attorney in private practice until well past the age of retirement.
In 1964, the Black Masons made their first venture into media ownership with a Detroit FM radio outlet that mixed R&B music and religious broadcasting. Banks’s business savvy helped make the station a financial success in the same way that the Masons’s other ventures—such as vocational training schools—also caused the organization to thrive. His ties to the Republican community eventually brought him to U.S. President Richard Nixon’s White House as a guest in the early 1970s, and the chief executive helped him obtain the first television station license granted to an African American in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission.
The UHF television outlet that Banks and the Masons went on the Detroit airwaves with in 1975 was called WGPR, or “Where God’s Presence Radiates.” Its first years in operation were shaky, since many members of Banks’s team—employees that included his wife, Ivy Bird, and daughter Tenicia Gregory—had little media experience. Within a few years, however, the station gained ratings and financial health. More importantly, WGPR-TV served as a training ground for a legion of African American on-air and behind-the-scenes technical personnel, a group of young people who would eventually go on to figure prominently in Detroit media. Banks died in 1985 at the age of 82. The Black Mason organization that Banks founded owned the station until 1994, when it was purchased by CBS as a local affiliate.
DONALD H. BARDEN (1943– ) Communications Executive
Born on December 20, 1943, Donald Barden struggled in a number of low-wage jobs as an adult, dreaming of one day working for himself in some sort of entrepreneurial venture. A nest egg of $500 helped him to open a record store, then launch a record label, then a public relations firm in Lorain, Ohio. The capital Barden accumulated through these ventures was later parlayed into real estate deals. By the early 1970s, the executive had become a dynamic member of Lorain’s business community, owning a newspaper, holding a seat on the city council, and hosting a talk show on Cleveland’s NBC affiliate.
Barden’s interest in and familiarity with cutting-edge media evolved into his most lucrative undertaking. Foreseeing the rise of the cable industry—and the lack of African American representation within it—Barden invested in Lorain’s new cable television provider and used the remunerative rewards to begin his own cable company, Barden Cablevision. He researched and found that African American communities were entertaining franchise offers from giants in the industry and offered them a socially conscious alternative. One of the first cities to award Barden’s company a contract was Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. His success in wiring the city for cable service and the obvious financial soundness of his company paid off when the city of Detroit awarded Barden Cablevision its much-coveted contract.
Barden launched cable television in Detroit with the help of Canadian financing and began wiring the city in 1986. Always looking into what was on the forefront of the communications industry, Barden’s next venture was in the realm of personal communications services, a new messaging technology that would allow small devices to transmit faxes, voice messages, and computer data. He planned to bid on several of the licenses when they were auctioned off for the first time by the Federal Communications Commission in 1994. That same year, he sold his interest in Barden Cablevision for a reported $100 million, reaping a dramatic profit from the company he had started with only a few thousand dollars. In early 1995, it was announced that Indiana authorities had granted Barden a riverboat casino operating license, one of two to be established in the city of Gary.
With the success of his riverboat casino in Indiana, Barden expressed an interest in obtaining a license for one of the three casinos earmarked for Detroit. When Mayor Archer rejected his bid, Barden recruited celebrity Michael Jackson to help him campaign for a contract in the hopes that Detroit voters would overturn Archer’s decision. His billion dollar casino proposal was to be called the “Majestic Kingdom” and included plans for an 800-room hotel, botanical gardens, nightclubs, restaurants, and the Michael Jackson Thriller Theme Park, which would have incorporated advanced technology enabling it to operate regardless of the weather. Despite Barden’s vigorous campaigning, Detroit voters rejected his proposal on August 8, 1998.
Barden recently entered into a contract with General Motors to establish an automotive plant in Namibia and South Africa. He, along with his business partner Michael Jackson, took several trips in 1998 to central and southern Africa to investigate other business opportunities in Namibia, Angola, and South Africa. In May 1999, it was announced that Barden has reached a deal to invest in Sengstacke Enterprises, Inc., owner of several African American newspapers in Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Memphis.
In 2002 Barden’s dream of actually owning a permanent casino came true as he established the Majestic Star casino in Gary, Indiana as well as purchasing three other casinos in Mississippi, Colorado, and Las Vegas. Barden is the first African American to completely own and operate a casino.
HALEY W. BELL (c.1895–1973) Broadcasting Executive
Pioneer, humanitarian, and entrepreneur are just a few of the words that have been used to describe Haley W. Bell. Although a dentist by profession, he was most recognized as the co-founder of the Bell Broadcasting System, which was established in 1955. The other co-founder was his son-in-law, Wendell Cox. The system included WCHBAM in Inkster (its owners’ initials) and WCHD-FM in Detroit, Michigan. Bell’s other interests included ownership of a finance company, a tool and die firm, a cemetery, a restaurant, an insurance company, two trade schools, and a funeral home.
As the first African American to ever directly receive a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate a radio station, Bell’s stations were the first black-built radio stations in the country. As such, both stations served as training grounds for many local and national media personalities who broke into the airwaves through the black-owned stations. Included among those who once worked at the Bell Broadcasting System were NBC newsman William Matney; Ofield Dukes, a former assistant to Vice President Hubert Humphrey; Trudy Haynes, Detroit’s first black weathergirl; Frank Seymour of Seymour & Lundy, a public relations firm; and Martha Jean “the Queen,” eventually an announcer on WJLB-FM, but later the owner, president and general manager of WQBH-AM in Inkster, Michigan.
Initially staffed by 23 experienced employees whom Bell admittedly lured away from previous jobs by offering more lucrative wages, the stations adopted the slogan “The Voice of Progress.” In accordance with this slogan, the programming on both stations reflected the music, aspirations and accomplishments of Detroit area blacks. While most of the airtime was dedicated to news, religious programs and music (ranging from blues to symphonies), community organizations were also granted a generous hearing.
Often referred to as the “father of Detroit black radio,” Bell maintained his dental office in Hamtramck, Michigan until his retirement in 1960. Known for his generosity from both within and outside of the company, Bell believed that if you kept a part of what you earned, you would always be able to give a part of what you had. His belief was further emphasized by the engraved plaque that appeared in his office with the words, “a part of all you earn is yours to keep.”Organizations that benefited from Bell’s benevolence included Meharry Medical College, from which he graduated in 1922, the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, the United Foundation, the Parents Association of Jewish Residential Care, Catholic Charities, Plymouth United Church, and numerous other groups that cut across racial lines.
Born in Brunswick, Georgia, Dr. Haley W. Bell died on March 12, 1973, nine days before he was to be honored by the Detroit Cotillion Club for “his many contributions to charitable and public concerns, including personality-sponsored scholarships for students across the nation.”
ED BRADLEY (1941–2006) Television News Correspondent
Born on January 22, 1941, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edward R. Bradley received a bachelor of science degree in education from Cheyney State College in 1964. From 1963 to 1967, Bradley worked as a jazz host and news reporter for WDAS radio in Philadelphia. He then spent four years at WCBS radio in New York. His first television assignment was in September of 1971, when he joined CBS as a stringer in the Paris bureau. Within a few months he moved to the Saigon bureau, where he remained until he was assigned to the Washington bureau in June of 1974. From 1974 until 1978, Bradley served as White House correspondent for CBS.
Bradley worked as an anchor for CBS Sunday Night News from 1976 until 1981 and as principal correspondent for CBS Reports. In 1981, he replaced Dan Rather as a correspondent for the weekly news program 60 Minutes. In 1992, Bradley became host of the CBS news program Street Stories. An avid jazz and blues aficionado, Bradley also is the host of Jazz from Lincoln Center. He has hosted the show since 1991.
Due to his outstanding coverage of issues both nationally and internationally, Bradley has received 11 Emmy Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for broadcast journalism, a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, a George Polk Award, and an NCAA Anniversary Award. In 1992, he won an Emmy for his 60 Minutes segment “Made in China.” The National Press Foundation presented Bradley with the Sol Taischoff Award in 1993.
In October of 1995, Bradley filed a report called “The Other America” on 60 Minutes. In that piece, he examined shantytown homes—known as “colonias”—in the Texas desert along the U.S.-Mexico border. The colonias were designed for low-income, mainly Hispanic families. The woman who built the shanties claimed that Bradley’s report wrecked her reputation and falsely accused her and other members of her family of unethical business and political practices. She sued for defamation. However, in late 1997, a Texas jury cleared Bradley of libel in the investigation.
Bradley continued to make a name for himself in the field with his weekly reports on 60 Minutes as well as other news programs. In 2000, he was inducted into the Deadline Club Hall of Fame run by the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
JAMES BROWN (1951– ) Sports Anchor
James Brown was born on February 25, 1951, in Washington, D.C. He has served for over ten seasons as co-host of Fox NFL Sunday, America’s most watched, and Emmy Award-winning, pregame show, Brown also served as co-host of NHL on Fox studio segments. Brown joined Fox Sports in June of 1994 and is widely recognized as one of the most versatile and multitalented on-air personalities in television.
Prior to entering the communications field, Brown received a bachelor of arts degree in American government from Harvard University in 1973 and then was drafted in the fourth-round by the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. He officially began his broadcasting career in 1984 with WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., and WUSA-TV (1984–1990). He also served as an analyst for the NBA’s Washington Bullets local television broadcasts (1978–1983) and co-hosted two weekly Washington area sports programs. At one time, he even hosted a midday program on all-sports radio WTEM in the nation’s capital.
In 1984, he joined CBS Sports as a college basketball analyst and co-host of the NCAA basketball championship (1984–1994). Other host roles for CBS included the weekday program during the 1992 Winter Olympics, the Heisman Trophy Award show “CBS Sports Saturday/Sunday” anthology series, and the Emmy Award-winning special Let Me Be Brave: A Special Climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Not one to limit himself, in addition to college basketball and NFL play-by-play, Brown has served as a reporter for CBS Sports’s coverage of the NBA Finals and Pan American Games. He also delved into other sports areas. He served as commentator of freestyle skiing for CBS at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics and hosted four Fox Saturday Night Fight programs, as well as several pay-per-view boxing events.
Brown is a contributor to the sports magazine program Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, which premiered on HBO in April of 1995 and served as a moderator for a roundtable discussion of the documentary “Hoop Dreams: A Reunion” on PBS. In 2002, Brown joined Sports News Radio to host the the James Brown Show. Brown’s hard work over the years paid off in fall 2001 when he received the prestigious Sportcaster of the Year Award from the Quarterback Club of Washington for his “outstanding contribution to the world of sports.” Beginning with the 2006 NFL season, Brown hosted The NFL Today on CBS, and returned to play-by-play of CBS coverage of NCAA basketball.
LES BROWN (1945– ) Motivational Speaker, Talk Show Host, Author
As a renowned motivational speaker, author, and television personality, Les Brown—born Leslie Calvin Brown along with his twin brother Wesley on February 17, 1945—rose to national prominence by delivering a highly charged message that instructs people on how to shake off mediocrity and live up to their potential.
Brown and his twin brother were born in low-income Liberty City, Florida. They were adopted at six weeks of age by Mamie Brown, a single woman with a heart of gold but little education or money. As a child, Brown lacked concentration, especially in reading. His restlessness and inattentiveness, coupled with his teach-ers’s failure to recognize his real potential, resulted in him being labeled as a slow learner. Although this label damaged his self-esteem and stayed with him for many years, he was finally able to overcome it through perseverance and the realization that he was responsible for his destiny. His mother’s unyielding belief in his greatness, along with support from a speech and drama teacher in high school, aided him in this journey of discovery.
Brown received no formal education past high school. However, through sheer will, initiative, and persistence, he prides himself on being self-educated. This fact has distinguished him as an authority on human virtue. Brown’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and hunger to succeed allowed him to rise from a hip-talking radio announcer to a broadcast manager; from a community activist to a community leader; from a political commentator to three-term legislator; and from a banquet and nightclub emcee to a prominent motivational speaker.
In 1986, Brown entered the public speaking arena on a full-time basis and formed his own company, Les Brown Unlimited, Inc. The company provides motivational tapes and materials, as well as workshops and personal/professional development programs aimed at individuals, companies, and organizations. He is also the author of Live Your Dreams and It’s Not Over Until You Win. The former host of The Les Brown Show, a nationally syndicated daily television talk show that focused on solutions rather than problems, Brown continues to mesmerize audiences with his customized presentations that teach and inspire.
In 1989, Brown was the recipient of the National Speakers Association’s highest honor: The Council of Peers Award of Excellence (CPAE). In 1990, he recorded his first in a series of speech presentations entitled You Deserve, which was awarded a Chicago-area Emmy. This program eventually became the leading fund-raising program of its kind for pledges to PBS stations nationwide. In addition, in 1992, he was selected as one of the World’s Top Five Speakers by Toastmasters International and the recipient of the Golden Gavel Award.
In 1997, Brown resigned from his radio show at WBLS in New York in order to devote more time to his motivational speaking and battling his prostate cancer. In 1998, Brown’s speaking engagements and television appearances brought in about $4.5 million annually. His Detroit-based firm continued to serve high-profile clients such as Chrysler, 3M, and Xerox Corporation. In addition, Brown branched out to train future public speakers, concentrating on promoting the field to more minorities. By 2007, Brown continued to work as speaker along with a group of other African American men who could also be booked through his agency.
TONY BROWN (1933– ) Talk Show Host, Producer, Columnist, Author, Film Director
William Anthony Brown, born in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1933, is probably best known as the producer and host of the longest-running minority affairs program in history Tony Brown’s Journal. The show was selected in the New York Daily Times as one of the top ten television shows of all time that presents positive African American images. In 1991, the show was also nominated for the NAACP Image Award for outstanding news, talk or information series/special.
Brown received his bachelor of arts degree in sociology in 1959 and his master’s of social work in 1961 from Wayne State University in Detroit. Brown took a job with the Detroit Courier as drama critic. During this time he began to be active in the Civil Rights movement, helping to organize the 1963 “March to Freedom” with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit. After leaving the paper, where he had been promoted to the position of city editor, Brown landed a job with the local PBS station, WTVS, where he became involved in television programming and production. At WTVS, he produced the station’s first series aimed at a black audience, C.P.T. (Colored People’s Time). He joined the New York staff of the PBS program Black Journal in 1970 as the show’s executive producer and host; in 1977 the show’s name was changed to Tony Brown’s Journal and can still be seen on PBS.
In 1971, Brown founded and became the first dean of Howard University’s School of Communications. He continued in that post until 1974. While in this position, he initiated an annual careers conference that is still in place today because of his concern for the lack of African American representation in the communications industry.
Brown has been an advocate of community and self-help programs. In 1980 he organized a “Black College Day,” designed to emphasize the importance of historically African American colleges and universities. In 1985 Brown organized the Council for the Economic Development of Black Americans and launched the “Buy Freedom” campaign (now known as the “Buy Freedom Network”), which encourages African American consumers nationwide to patronize African American-owned businesses.
Brown wrote two powerful books: Black Lies, White Lies: The Truth According to Tony Brown in 1995 and Empower the People: A 7-Step Plan to Overthrow the Conspiracy That Is Stealing Your Money and Freedom in 1998. Although both books address problems that cannot be ignored, they also focus on the future and on solutions. Offering innovative plans for making America more competitive through Brown’s Team America Concept, the books strive to solve the country’s race problem through cultural diversity.
Brown has written, produced, and directed the film The White Girl, appeared as a commentator for National Public Radio, and is a syndicated newspaper columnist. He is also host of a radio talk show Tony Brown on WLIB in New York, which was to be syndicated nationally. He is a member of the National Association of Black Television and Film Producers, the National Association of Black Media Producers, the National Communications Council, and the National Black United Fund. Brown is the recipient of a Black Emmy Award, an NAACP Image Award, the Educator of the Year Award, and the Communicator of the Year Award from the Academy’s national board of trustees. He is president of Tony Brown Productions in New York. In addition to producing movies and television programs, the company also offers a videotape duplication service and markets videos from a collection called The Library of Black History.
EDWARD J. CASTLEBERRY (1928– ) Broadcast Journalist
Born July 28, 1928, in Birmingham, Alabama, Castle-berry spent two years at Miles College. His career in radio broadcasting includes many stations in the United States. He started as a disc jockey at WEDR and WJLD in Birmingham, Alabama (1950–1955), and has worked in the various capacities of program host, program director, and news personality at WMBM in Miami (1955– 1958), WCIN in Cincinnati (1958–1961), WABQ in Cleveland (1961–1964), WVKO in Columbus (1964– 1967), WHAT in Philadelphia (1967–1968), and WEBB in Baltimore. He then became an anchorman and entertainment editor at the Mutual and National Black Networks.
Castleberry was named Newsman of the Year in 1980 by both the Coalition of Black Media Women and Jack the Rapper Family Affair and received the Outstanding Citizen Award from the Alabama House of Representatives in 1983. In 1985 he was honored by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Later, Castleberry was awarded the World War II Victory Medal for his service in the United States Navy.
SPENCER CHRISTIAN (1947– ) Television Weatherperson
Born in Newport News, Virginia, in 1947 and a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, Spencer Christian received his bachelor of arts degree in English from Hampton University in 1970. Upon graduation, he taught English at the Stony Brook School in Long Island, New York before launching his television career.
In 1971, Christian went to work for WWBT-TV in Richmond as a news reporter; from 1972 to 1975 he served as the station’s weatherperson. In 1975, he moved to WBAL-TV in Baltimore, where he hosted Spencer’s World, a weekly, half-hour talk show. He also produced and narrated the Emmy Award-winning, five-part report on declining verbal skills entitled Does Anyone Here Speak English? In 1977, he moved to New York’s WABC-TV. Christian joined the Good Morning America team on ABC in 1986 as weather forecaster. He left the show in 1999 to join a local television station in San Francisco. Most recently, Spencer has been pulling double hosting duties, appearing on the shows Spencer Christian’s Wine Cellar for the Home and Garden Network and the PBS series Tracks Ahead.
During 1988, he was the ABC Television’s official on-air spokesperson for the “Readasaurus” campaign, which was part of the company’s overall Project Literacy U.S., promoting interest in reading among young children. In 1993, Christian hosted the Triple Threat game show on Black Entertainment Television and was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. Later in the same year, he was named Virginian of the Year by the Virginia Press Association. He published Spencer Christian’s Weather Book, Spencer Christian’s Geography Book, and, most recently, Electing Our Government, a light and lively refresher course on how the United States electoral procedure works. He also co-hosted an experimental, late night series on ABC called Day’s End, which aired in 27 markets across the country from March through June of 1989.
In 1996, Christian worked on a public education campaign, in conjunction with Everready, that focused on weather emergency preparedness. In addition, he wrote a brochure that contains helpful weather emergency tips. It is available through Energizer and endorsed by the National Weather Service. Christian is now the host of the popular PBS series Tracks Ahead, a program about model and real trains. Tracks Ahead 6 was released in 2006 and the seventh season is scheduled to be released in 2008.
Christian worked with a variety of charities in New York and New Jersey. They include Up With People, The March of Dimes, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, Special Olympics, Big Brothers, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and many others. His affiliation with the March of Dimes dates back to 1979 when he served as honorary chair of the North New Jersey chapter.
XERNONA CLAYTON (1930– ) Broadcast Executive
Clayton was born Xernona Brewster on August 30, 1930, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She received a bachelor of science degree from Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University (now Tennessee State University) in 1952 and later pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago. She also attended the Ru-Jac School of Modeling in Chicago.
Clayton was the first African American woman to have her own television show in the South when she became host of the Xernona Clayton Show at WAGATV in Atlanta. She has also been a newspaper columnist for the Atlanta Voice, taught public school in Chicago and Los Angeles, and dabbled in photography and fashion modeling.
Clayton was active in the Civil Rights movement. Her first husband, now deceased, was the public relations director for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Clayton came to the attention of Atlanta officials and was appointed to the position of community relations director of the Model Cities Program. She has also raised funds for sickle cell anemia research and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthplace Memorial Restoration Committee.
In 1968, Clayton won the Outstanding Leadership award given by the National Association of Market Developers and a year later the Bronze Woman of the Year in Human Relations award given by Phi Delta Kappa sorority. She is also the recipient of the Georgia Associated Press award for Superior Television Programming 1969 1971. In 1987, Clayton won an Emmy Award for a documentary on juvenile justice. She was named Media Woman of the Year in 1989.
Clayton is the founder of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of Media Women and a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Press Women. She is also a member of the Urban League’s board of directors. She co-starred in a major motion picture, House on Skull Mountain. Clayton married Paul L. Brady, a federal administrative judge, after the death of her first husband. She became the executive producer of Turner Broadcasting’s long-running Trumpet Awards show, which honors the achievements of minorities around the world and is broadcast during Black History Month on Turner’s flagship network, TBS Superstation.
DON CORNELIUS (1936– ) Broadcasting Executive
Don Cornelius, the creative mind behind the hit African American dance show Soul Train was born in Chicago on September 27, 1936, and grew up on the city’s predominantly African American South side. At the age of 30, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a radio announcer when he landed a part-time job as an announcer with WVON in Chicago. Acting as an all-around substitute became too exhausting, however, and he moved to the small UHF television station, WCIU-TV with the seed for Soul Train already in mind. Although he initially had trouble convincing sponsors to take a chance on an “ethnic” show, Cornelius was able to get the financial backing he needed, and the first episode of Soul Train aired in Chicago on August 17, 1970. The show was essentially a dance party that featured African American performers and dancers and aired once a week.
The inexpensive program, hosted and produced by Cornelius, went national a little over a year later. Cornelius attributed the speed of Soul Train’s success to the overall absence of entertainment television programs for African American audiences. The show spawned a record label, Soul Train Records, in 1975, although the label folded after three years. The Soul Train Music Awards proved to be a more enduring spin-off; created in 1986, the awards program was the first to be dedicated exclusively to African American musicians. By 1992 Soul Train had become the longest-running music program in the history of syndication. Cornelius retired in 1993 as host of the show but he continues to stay active in the television business. In 1995, Cornelius hosted and produced The Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall Of Fame Special. He continues to produce Soul Train as well as
three award shows a year: The Soul Train Awards, the Lady of Soul Awards, and the NAACP Image Awards.
SAMUEL E. CORNISH (1795–1858) Newspaper Publisher
Samuel Cornish was born in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1795. Ordained as an evangelist by the Presbyterian Church, Cornish acted as an advocate for African Americans through the mouthpiece of the newspaper he co-founded with John Russwurm, Freedom’s Journal. The paper, which began printing in March of 1827, countered racist propaganda and served as a means of communication for African Americans. He changed the paper’s name to Rights of All in May of 1829, and the newspaper ceased publication later that year.
Cornish continued editing after the demise of the publication, serving as editor of the Weekly Advocate (later changed to Colored American) from 1837 to 1838. He was also involved with the African Free Schools, the Negro Convention movement, the American Anti-Slavery Society, and the American Missionary Society. Cornish died on November 6, 1858, in Brooklyn, New York.
DAVID E. DRIVER (1955– ) Book Publisher, Writer, Social Activist, Investor
David E. Driver was born on October 17, 1955, and grew up on Chicago’s West side. Because of his excellent grades, he attended Lindblom High School, an exceptional public trade school. From there, he earned a bachelor’s of arts from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and after he passed the CPA exam, he joined Arthur Young & Company as a staff accountant. In 1978, Driver took a job at the International Hospital Supply Corporation. Until 1980, Driver worked as a finance manager, specializing in foreign currency markets. He moved on to Merrill Lynch Capital Markets where he was promoted to vice president in 1982. While working in stock and bond futures, he received his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1984.
In 1988 with $250,000 and one book that he had written himself—The Good Heart Book: A Guide to Volunteering—he founded the Noble Press. Within three years, he had a staff of five, a renovated loft for office space, and books receiving critical attention. The book that earned the Noble Press its reputation was the 1993 release Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience by Janet Nelson, that sold 40,000 hardcover copies. Driver sold the paperback rights to Penguin for whom it became a national best-seller and earned an American Book Award in 1994.
By 1993, Noble’s annual sales reached the million mark and its distribution outlets grew to number 6,000. Driver founded the Black Literary Society, a book club that posts reading lists on the Internet. Driver also started Young Chicago Authors, a workshop program for aspiring teenage authors. In addition, Driver wrote Defending the Left: An Individual’s Guide to Fighting for Social Justice, Individual Rights and the Environment, published in 1992. He has served as secretary of the Society of Illinois Book Publishers and is a founding member of the National Association of Black Book Publishers.
TIMOTHY THOMAS FORTUNE (1856–1928) Newspaper Publisher
Born on October 3, 1856, in Marianna, Florida, Timothy Thomas Fortune was one of the most prominent African American journalists involved in the flourishing African American press of the post–Civil War era. The son of a Reconstruction politician, Fortune was particularly productive before his thirtieth year, completing such works
as Black and White: Land, Labor and Politics in the South and The Negro in Politics while in his twenties.
Fortune attended Howard University for two years, leaving to marry Carrie Smiley of Jacksonville, Florida. The couple went to New York in 1878, with Fortune taking a job as a printer for the New York Sun. In time, Fortune caught the attention of Sun editor Charles A. Dana, who eventually promoted him to the editorial staff of the paper.
Fortune also edited The Globe, an African American daily, and was later chief editorial writer for The Negro World. In 1900 Fortune joined Booker T. Washington in helping to organize the successful National Negro Business League. His later activity with Washington gained him more notoriety than his earlier writing, although his written work is more vital in affording him an important niche in the history of African American protest.
In 1883, Fortune founded the New York Age, the paper with which he sought to “champion the cause” of his race. In time, the Age became the leading black journal of opinion in the United States. One of Fortune’s early crusades was against segregation in the New York educational system.
Fortune was later responsible for coining the term “Afro-American” as a substitute for Negro in New York
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newspapers. He also set up the Afro-American Council, an organization which he regarded as the precursor of the Niagara Movement. In 1907 Fortune sold the Age, although he remained active in journalism as an editorial writer for several African American newspapers. He died on June 2, 1928.
MALVIN R. GOODE (1908–1995) Television News Correspondent
Malvin Russell Goode had been with the Pittsburgh Courier for 14 years when in 1962 he joined ABC to cover the United Nations. His first test was the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which Goode distinguished himself with incisive TV and radio reports during the long hours of United Nations debate.
Goode was born in White Plains, Virginia, in 1908; educated in the public schools of Homestead, Pennsylvania; and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1931. He worked for 12 years as a laborer in the steel mills while in high school and college and for five years after graduation. In 1936, he was appointed to a post in juvenile court and became boys work director of the Centre Avenue YMCA, where he led the fight to eliminate discrimination in Pittsburgh branches of the YMCA.
Goode served with the Pittsburgh Housing Authority for six years and in 1948 joined the Pittsburgh Courier. The following year he started a career in radio with station KQV, doing a 15-minute news show two nights each week. In 1950, he started a five-minute daily news program on WHOD.
Goode became news director at WHOD in 1952. He and his sister, the late Mary Dee, had the only brother-sister team in radio for six years. He was the first African American to hold membership in the National Association of Radio and TV News Directors and the first African American correspondent on TV network news.
For two months, in 1963, he joined with three colleagues to conduct courses in journalism for 104 African students in seminars at Lagos, Nigeria; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
On September 12, 1995, Goode died of a stroke in Pittsburgh.
ED GORDON (1960– ) Television Anchor and Host
Born Edward Lansing Gordon III in Detroit, Michigan, the future journalist was inspired to achieve in part by his schoolteacher mother and Olympic gold medalist father, who unfortunately passed away when Gordon was 11. After graduating with a degree in communications and political science from Western Michigan University in 1982, Gordon moved back to Detroit to launch his career in broadcasting.
Taking an unpaid internship with the city’s public broadcasting affiliate in 1983 eventually landed him a job as host of its Detroit Black Journal a few years later. During that time, he also began freelance reporting from his hometown for an upstart cable network called Black Entertainment Television (BET). In 1988, the Washington, D.C.-based channel hired him as an anchor and chief correspondent for their weekly news program BET News. Gordon left BET in 1996 to join NBC News as host of the Saturday edition of Internight, a one-hour talk and interview program on MSNBC. He also serves as a daytime anchor for MSNBC and contributing correspondent for Dateline NBC.
Gordon became an increasing presence on the well-regarded alternative to traditional network news, interviewing prominent African Americans on his Conversations with Ed Gordon show and hosting programs of special interest such as his Black Men Speak Out: The Aftermath, which aired in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. During his tenure on Conversations with Ed Gordon, he interviewed the last two sitting presidents and South African President Nelson Mandela, as well as more outspoken figures, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. He also hosted the BET staple Lead Story, anchored several BET News specials on a wide range of topics, and hosted the critically acclaimed interview series Personal Diary. Though the demands of the job at BET were arduous, Gordon derived a special satisfaction from his work in journalism when young African American males point out to him that they never were interested in news programs before his began airing.
In 1996, Gordon broke out of the mold of cable television news when he was selected as the first journalist to interview O.J. Simpson after Simpson was found not guilty of killing his wife and her lover. This boosted Gordon’s overall image as a journalist and showed the public and executives at more prominent news organizations what he was capable of. Later in 1996, NBC hired Gordon on with a three year $1.5 million contract. Gordon continues to work part time at BET and still does BET News specials when time permits.
EARL G. GRAVES (1935– ) Publisher and Media Executive
In the 1970s, Earl Graves emerged as one of America’s leading publishers and exponents of black entrepreneur-ship. Within a few short years his magazine Black Enterprise was accepted as the authority on African Americans in business and as an important advocate for an active, socially responsive, African American middle class. Yearly sales of the magazine exceeded $17 million in 2002. Black Enterprise has a circulation of 250,000 and a readership of more than two million.
Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Graves graduated from Morgan State College in 1958 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. In 1965, he was hired to a position on the staff of Robert Kennedy, then senator from New York. In 1968, he organized Earl Graves Associates, a firm which serves as a consultant on urban affairs and African American economic development and publishes Black Enterprise. Graves is also president and chief executive officer of Earl G. Graves Ltd., Earl G. Graves Marketing and Research Co., and Earl G. Graves Development Co. In December of 1998, he named his eldest son president of Earl G. Graves Publishing Company.
Graves wrote his autobiography, How to Succeed without Being White, in 1997. His other interests include being president of EGG Dallas Broadcasting, Inc., which operates KNOK-AM and KNOK-FM in Fort Worth, Texas. Graves is also chairman and president of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C.
In 1998, Graves started Black Enterprise Unlimited, a service that focuses on the business, financial, and lifestyle needs of the African American businessman or woman. The service provided the opportunity for African Americans to access certain areas or products that had formally been unavailable to them. It also sponsored extra-circular activities open to African Americans such as golf and ski outings. In 1999, Graves was honored by the NAACP with the Springarn Medal for his outstanding career in business and commitment to education and support of civil and human rights issues. In 2007, Graves continued to be an active leader and developer of the African American business community. He also supported the wider community through scholarships and and community service.
BRYANT GUMBEL (1948– ) Television Anchor
Bryant Gumbel, the popular newscaster who gained fame as co-anchor of the Today show, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on September 29, 1948, but grew up in Chicago. He received a liberal arts degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 1970.
Before embarking on his career in television, Gumbel was a sportswriter. After submitting his first piece to Black Sports magazine in 1971, he was given additional freelance assignments and was soon hired as a staff writer. Within eight months, he was elevated to editor-in-chief.
Gumbel began his broadcasting career in October of 1972 when he became a weekend sportscaster for KNBC, the NBC station in Burbank, California. Within a year, he became weekday sportscaster and was appointed the station’s sports director in 1976. He remained in that post until 1981. Gumbel made regular sports reports with NBC Sports as host of pre-game programming during coverage of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and other sports broadcasts. Gumbel debuted as host of HBO’s Real Sports program on April 2, 1995.
In January of 1982, Bryant Gumbel was named co-anchor of the Today show on NBC opposite Jane Pauley, selected as a replacement for Tom Brokaw. In 1997, at the height of the show’s ratings, he relinquished his position after 15 years. During his tenure, he distinguished himself as a steadfast anchor, gifted interviewer, and role model for minority journalists. A bidding war for his services erupted between all major networks in the ensuing months following his departure. In the end, Gumbel signed a five-year contract with CBS News that netted him $5 million a year, his own prime-time news magazine Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel, which was canceled in 1998, three specials each year, and his own company for syndicated programming development—not to mention CBS stock options. Early in 1999, CBS announced that Gumbel agreed to anchor This Morning beginning in the fall of 1999.
In 2000, Gumbel returned to morning television as co-host of the CBS television news show, The Early Show. Two and a half years later, Gumbel announced that he was leaving CBS when his contract expired in May of 2002. He continued to host Real Sports for HBO. At the end of 2005 he became play by play announcer for the NFL.
GREG GUMBEL (1946– ) Radio and Television Sportcaster
The older brother of Bryant Gumbel, Greg Gumbel was born on May 3, 1946, in New Orleans, Louisiana. With his friendly face and affable disposition, Gumbel has graced the airways for over 20 years. He has covered local sports for WMAQ-TV in his hometown of Chicago, hosted ESPN’s SportsCenter, done play-by-play for the Madison Square Garden Network, and served as host for CBS’s The NFL Today.
Currently employed as a sportcaster at NBC, Gumbel has worked with some of sports television’s biggest names including Terry Bradshaw, John Madden, Mike Ditka, Joe Montana, Bill Walton, and Joe Morgan. He has also worked on many large-scale sports events: Super Bowls, World Series, NBA and NCAA basketball championships, and the Olympics, both summer and winter. In 2006, he became a play–by–play announcer for the NFL.
Having addressed students at schools across the country, various chambers of commerce and town hall gatherings, as well as Boy Scout organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, and March of Dimes groups, Gumbel entertains and motivates audiences of all ages and types with his comments and videotaped sports highlights.
RAGAN A. HENRY (1934– ) Broadcast and Newspaper Executive
Ragan A. Henry is president of Broadcast Enterprises National Inc. and former publisher of The National Leader, an African American national newspaper launched in May of 1982, both headquartered in Philadelphia. Henry was also founder of U.S. Radio, the largest African American-owned radio group in the nation with 25 stations. In 1996, it was sold for $140 million to Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio, Texas. He is a partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Wolf, Black, Schorr, and Solis-Cohen.
Henry was born in Sadiesville, Kentucky, on February 2, 1934. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Harvard College in 1956 and his L.L.B. from Harvard Law School in 1961. He also attended Temple University Graduate School in 1963. Prior to joining his current law firm, he had been a partner in the Philadelphia firm of Goodis, Greenfield, Henry, and Edelstein from 1964 to 1977.
Henry was a lecturer at LaSalle College from 1971 to 1973 and has been a visiting professor at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications since 1979. He serves on the boards of directors of Continental Bank, Abt Associates, Inc., National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (president of the board), LaSalle College, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been chairman of the John McKee Scholarship Committee Fellowships of the Noyes and Whitney Foundation.
Ragan continues to be active in the community. In 1999, he was elected Vice Chairmen of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. In the late 1990s, Ragan was honored by the Broadcasters’ Foundation Board of Directors with an American Broadcast Pioneer award, for making an enormous contribution to the broadcasting industry and his community. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council awarded Henry its Everett C. Parker award in 2006.
CHERYL WILLIS HUDSON (1948– ) Publishing Executive
Cheryl Willis Hudson, publisher, and Wade Hudson, president and chief executive officer, founded Just Us Books, Inc. in 1988 to publish children’s books and learning material that focus on the African American experience.
Just Us Books, Inc. is now one of the leading publishers of African American interest books for young people. More than three dozen titles have been published with millions of copies in print. The company has garnered a number of awards and honors including The Parents’ Choice Award, the Ben Franklin Award, the Multicultural Publisher’s Exchange Award and the American Booksellers Association/Blackboard “Best Seller of 1994.” Hudson is not only the founder of Just Us Books, Inc., but she is also an author herself. Her works include: Bright Eyes, Brown Skin (1990); Good Night, Baby (1992); Good Morning, Baby (1992); and Hold Christmas in Your Heart: African-American Songs, Poems and Stories for the Holidays (1995). She continues to publish numerous books for children. A 2006 work is entitled Construction Zone.
A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, Cheryl Willis Hudson graduated (cum laude) from Oberlin College in 1970. She also studied at Northeastern University, the Arts Students League, and Parsons School of Design. Prior to founding Just Us Books, she worked as an art editor and designer for several publishers including Houghton Mifflin, MacMillan Publishing, Arete Publishing, and Paperwing Press/Angel Entertainment.
WADE HUDSON (1946– ) Publishing Executive
Wade Hudson is the president and chief executive officer of Just Us Books, Inc., a company that he co-founded with Cheryl Willis Hudson in 1988 to publish children’s books and learning material that focus on the African American experience.
A native of Mansfield, Louisiana, he attended Southern University and has worked with numerous civil rights organizations including CORE, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Society for Opportunity, Unity and Leadership, which he co-founded. He also has worked as a public relations specialist for Essex County and Kean colleges in New Jersey.
As publishing professionals and advocates of diversity in literature, he and his wife conduct workshops and make presentations and appearances on panels across the country. They address topics such as: exploring books for the African American child; entrepreneurship in publishing; the nuts and bolts of building a publishing company; creative packaging of Afrocentric children’s books; and publishing multicultural books for children and young adults. After almost twenty years Just Us Books is now a million-dollar company.
CATHERINE LIGGINS HUGHES (1947– ) Radio Personality, Broadcasting Executive, Owner, Founder
Born in Omaha Nebraska on April 22, 1947, Catherine Liggins Hughes (Cathy Hughes), formerly Catherine Elizabeth Woods, defines success in terms of the number of African Americans she has given jobs, in particular women, and not in terms of the number of radio stations under her company, Radio One, Inc. As founder and owner of the company, today, Hughes, along with her son Alfred C. Liggins, III, the president and CEO, work side by side running the largest African American owned and operated broadcast company in the nation. Hughes’s son is from her first marriage. Headquartered in Lanham, Maryland, Radio One is the first African American company in radio history to dominate in several major markets simultaneously—Atlanta, Baltimore, the District of Columbia, Detroit and Philadelphia—and the first female-owned radio station to have ranked number one in any major market.
Upon taking the company public in 199, Hughes became the first African American woman to head a firm publicly traded on a stock exchange in the United States. Radio One’s value is currently in excess of $2 billion. In 2000, Black Enterprise named Radio One, “Company of the Year,” Fortune rated it one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and it was inducted into the Maryland Business Hall of Fame.
In August 2000, Radio One purchased KBBT “The Beat” in Los Angeles for $430 million and put actor and comedian Steve Harvey at the helm of the morning slot. The decision to bring on Harvey was carefully researched. After studying the L.A. market, Hughes determined that he was one of the few individuals capable of turning the urban radio market around. Furthermore, she knew that advertisers had begun to realize that urban listeners were consumers with considerable spending power. Her hard work and knowledge about the urban market played a major role in the success of Harvey’s show, which is currently one of the top-rated morning shows in the L.A. market.
Moving to Washington, D.C. in 1971 after a successful stint with KOWH, a black ratio station in Omaha, Hughes became a lecturer in the newly established School of Communications at Howard University. She began working for the University’s radio station, WHUR-FM, in 1973, as general sales manager and is noted for increasing station revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. In 1975, she became the first female vice president and general manager of the station. During her tenure, she created the romantic evening radio format known as the “Quiet Storm”—the most listened to nighttime radio format now heard in over 50 markets nationally. Purchasing her first station with her second husband, Dewey Hughes, in 1980, WOL-AM in Washington, D.C., she pioneered yet another innovative format, “24-hour Talk from a Black Perspective.” As creator of the first 24-hour talk radio station to cover news from an African American perspective, Hughes championed black causes. Outspoken, opinionated and oftentimes controversial, as host of her own program on WOL-AM for 14 years, Hughes criticized utility companies for their shut-off policies, encouraged listeners to buy black art and to donate money to charitable causes, and lead on-air protests against negative portrayals of blacks in the media. She also vehemently spoke out on such topics as the loss of black-owned farms, the adoption of black children by non-blacks, and equal pay for women. Her program, which she stopped hosting in 1995, is still one of the most popular talk shows in Washington, D.C.
Hughes’s dedication to minority communities, entrepreneurial spirit, and mentoring of women are evident in every aspect of her work and life. As such, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and The Seventh Congressional District Humanitarian Award. She has been granted the Ron Brown Business of the Year Award by the Department of Commerce, the Baltimore NAACP’s Parren J. Mitchell Award, the Mayor’s Recognition Award, and the Everett C. Parker Award. In 2001, she received the National Association of Broadcaster’s Distinguished Service Award and the Silver Medal Award from the Ad Club for “having furthered the advertising industry’s standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern.” Remaining steadfast to her decision to purchase black-owned radio stations that are threatened by industry consolidation, Hughes purchased the Bell Broadcasting System based in Detroit in 1997 and Blue Chip Broadcasting Ltd. based in Cincinnati in 2001. With these purchases, Radio One, now known as a company that can quickly turn around under-performing stations, employs over 1,500 people, owns more than 60 stations that are a mixture of urban contemporary, gospel and talk in nine of the top 20 markets for African Americans across the nation, and reaches over 18 million black listeners daily.
Although the company has grown tremendously over the years, Hughes has said that the foundation of Radio One, Inc. is still based on the spirit of a family that strives to serve as the heart of the community, as well as the pulse of urban radio.
One of Cathy Hughes recent ventures is TV One, Inc., launched on January 19, 2004, in partnership with Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-television provider. TV One caters to the adults. One of Cathy Hughes recent ventures is TV One, Inc., launched on January 19, 2004, in partnership with Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-television provider. TV One caters to the adult lifestyles of African Americans offering quality programming such as “B. Smith with Style,” and an array of original programming. Hughes who serves on the board of TV One, is the Executive Producer of “The Gospel of Music with Jeff Majors,” and also hosts TV One’s interview show, “TV One on One.” According to Black Enterprise, TV One, launched in January 2004, grew by 39% from December 2005 to December 2006, and can now be seen in 33.8 million households.
According to Black Enterprise, TV One, launched in January 2004, grew by 39% from December 2005 to December 2006, and can now be seen in 33.8 million households.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT (1942– ) Journalist
In 2007, Charlayne Hunter-Gault was serving as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio. Before this she was based Johannesburg, South Africa, from 1999 to 2005, where she served a bureau chief for CNN. Charlayne Hunter-Gault staked her claim as one of the leading journalists in the United States, having won many of the top honors in her field for excellence in investigative reporting. One of the springboards into her career came when she was the subject of a journalistic investigation at the height of the Civil Rights era. In 1961, she was one of two black students who first broke the color barrier at the University of Georgia. She later went on to receive a bachelor of arts degree from this institution in 1963.
Prior to joining the MacNeil/Lehrer Report in 1978 (subsequently the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer), Hunter-Gault held positions with the New Yorker, WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and the New York Times. She was the program’s first woman anchor. In addition, her personal memoir In My Place was published in 1992.
Born on February 27, 1942, in Due West, South Carolina, Hunter-Gault built a reputation as a keen investigator of social injustice, especially among African Americans. Until 1997, she was the national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the hour-long evening news program broadcast nightly on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). She also anchors Rights and Wrongs: Human Rights Television, a weekly half-hour newsmagazine on PBS that incorporates news investigative reports, interviews, features, and cultural segments to examine human rights issues worldwide.
She left PBS in the summer of 1997 to join her husband, Ronald Gault, managing director of J.P. Morgan, S.A., and to serve as the South Africa-based correspondent for National Public Radio. In 2000, she became the Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cable News Network.
Hunter-Gault is the recipient of numerous awards including two national news and documentary Emmy awards and two prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for her work on the NewsHour’s Apartheid People series on contemporary life in South Africa as well as her coverage of South Africa’s move toward a black government with National Public Radio. She was also honored in 2001 by the University of Georgia who named the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building in rememberance of her work to end segregation at the University.
EUGENE D. JACKSON (1943– ) Broadcast Executive
With over 25 years of experience in communications technology, Eugene D. Jackson began his entrepreneurial career in 1971 by raising $1 million to launch the Unity Broadcasting Network, parent company of the National Black Network (NBN). It is the first hourly news service that is distributed via satellite to over 125 African American-oriented radio stations. He is past president of Unity Broadcasting Network and four radio stations: WDASAM and WDAS-FM in Philadelphia and KATZ-AM and WZEN-FM in St. Louis.
Jackson was born in Waukomis, Oklahoma on September 5, 1943. He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1967 and a master of business administration from Columbia University in 1971.
Jackson was an industrial engineer for Colgate-Palmolive from 1967 to 1968 and a production and project engineer for the Black Economic Union in New York City from 1968 to 1969. From 1969 to 1971, Jackson directed major industry programs for the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity in New York City.
Jackson serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters, the Council of Concerned Black Executives, Freedom National Bank, and Trans Africa (1977–). He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1978 and on the board of governors of the International Radio and Television Society from 1974 to 1976.
Jackson divested his interest in broadcasting to develop and invest in cable television, the cellular telephone business, and the Internet. In 1993, he formed the World African Network of which he is chairman and chief executive officer. He is the vice chairman and the largest single shareholder in the Queens Inner-Unity Cable System (QUICS), the $63 million cable system that serves the borough of Queens in New York, as a joint venture with Time Warner, Inc.
JOHN H. JOHNSON (1918–2005) Publisher, Media Executive
One of America’s foremost businessmen, John H. Johnson sits at the head of the most prosperous and powerful African American publishing company in the United States. Beginning with Negro Digest in 1942 and following with Ebony in 1945, Johnson built a chain of journalistic successes that now also includes Jet, EM: Ebony Man and most recently, Ebony South Africa, which marked the company’s foray into international publishing.
Throughout the development of the above publications, he bought and sold three radio stations, started a book publishing division, and produced the former syndicated television show Ebony/Jet Showcase. He also created two beauty care lines—Supreme Beauty Products and the world-renowned Fashion Fair Cosmetics—as well as the Ebony Fashion Fair, a spectacular traveling fashion show. In addition, he produces the annual American Black Achievement Awards for television, which first aired in 1978.
Born in Arkansas City, Arkansas, on January 19, 1918, Johnson, at age six, lost his father, a mill worker, and was raised by his mother and stepfather. He attended local segregated schools until the family moved to Chicago. Johnson attended DuSable High School in Chicago, excelling academically and in extracurricular activities, while writing for the yearbook and school paper.
After graduation, an insurance executive heard a speech delivered by Johnson and was so impressed that he offered him a partial scholarship at the University of Chicago. After two years, however, Johnson quit classes and entered the Northwestern School of Commerce in 1938, studying for an additional two years before joining the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. While running the company’s house organ, it occurred to Johnson that a digest of weekly or monthly news items of special interest and importance to the African American community might achieve a wide African American readership. The idea resulted in the creation of Negro Digest, a periodical containing both news reprints and feature articles. Of the latter, perhaps the most beneficial to circulation was Eleanor Roosevelt’s contribution to the feature “If I Were a Negro.” Buoyed by success, Johnson decided to approach the market with yet another offering, a pictorial magazine patterned after Life. The first issue of Ebony sold out its press run of 25,000 copies and soon became a permanent staple in the world of journalism as large companies began to advertise regularly in it.
In addition to serving as publisher and chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., Johnson is chairman and chief executive officer of Supreme Life Insurance Company, chairman of WJPC-AM in Chicago and president of Fashion Fair Cosmetics. He has served on the boards of directors of the Greyhound Corporation, Verex Corporation, Marina Bank, Supreme Life Insurance Company, and Zenith Radio Corporation. Johnson also serves as a trustee for the Art Institute of Chicago and United Negro College Fund; on the advisory council of the Harvard Graduate School of Business; as a director for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States; on the advertising council of Junior Achievement and Chicago USO. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from numerous colleges and universities and many honors and awards from civil and professional organizations.
In 1989, Johnson wrote Succeeding Against the Odds: The Autobiography of a Great American Business. He has also received a number of awards including: The Medal of Freedom; the Against All Odds award; the Making History award; and the Trumpet award. He has been inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.
ROBERT L. JOHNSON (1946– ) Cable Television Executive, Publisher, Businessman
Born on April 8, 1946, in Hickory, Mississippi, Robert L. Johnson graduated from the University of Illinois in 1968 and earned a master’s degree in public administration in 1972 from Princeton University. He worked for the Washington, D.C.-based Urban League, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and as a press secretary for the Honorable Walter E. Fauntroy, congressional delegate from the District of Columbia, before joining the National Cable Television Association in 1976.
While serving as vice president of government relations for the association, Johnson came up with the idea of creating a cable channel aimed at African American viewers. In 1979, he took out a $15,000 personal loan to start Black Entertainment Television (BET), a component of the parent company BET Holdings, Inc. As the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer, Johnson molded the station into an extremely popular 24-hour cable station with shows that cater to the interests of African Americans. It reached over 50 million homes.
Under Johnson’s leadership BET Holdings, Inc. also operated four other major cable channels: BET On Jazz: The Cable Station; BET On Jazz International, a 24-hour jazz program service that reaches more than two million domestic and one million international subscribers; BET Movies, the first 24-hour, all-black movie channel; and BET Action pay-per-view, which reaches ten million subscribers.
BET Holdings, Inc. has also ventured into other businesses outside of the cable industry including a publishing division responsible for the following publications: Emerge: Black America’s News Magazine; BET Weekend, the nation’s third largest black publication with more than 1.2 million readers; Heart & Soul, a health, fitness and beauty magazine; and Arabesque Books, the only line of original African American romance novels written by African American authors. Other businesses include: MSBET, an interactive Web site based upon a joint venture with Microsoft Corporation; BET Sound-
stage, a new music theme restaurant; BET Soundstage Club, a joint venture with Walt Disney World Resort at Disney’s Pleasure Island in Orlando, Florida; and BET On Jazz Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant specializing in new world cuisine.
In 1998, Johnson announced that he would soon be starting a venture to make low-budget films with African American stars, financed and produced by African Americans, and largely aimed at the African American urban market. His initial plans included showcasing three motion pictures and ten made-for-television films a year based on the Arabesque books. Johnson also continued to diversify his investments, buying up DC Airlines in 2000, making him the first African American to own a commercial airlines. In 2001, Johnson served on a federal commission to change the Social Security System.
In addition to running BET, Johnson served on the board of directors of US Airways, the Hilton Hotels Corporation, the United Negro College Fund, the National Cable Television Association’s Academy of Cable Programming, the American Film Institute, and the Advertising Council. He has received the following major awards: the Business Leader of the Year award from the Washingtonian magazine (1998); Broadcasting & Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame Award (1997); the Business of the Year Award by the Washington, D.C. Chamber of Commerce (1985); and the Pioneer award by the Capitol Press Club (1984). Other awards include an NAACP Image Award, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Princeton University, and the President’s Award from the National Cable Television Association.
According to the January 2001 issue of Black Enterprise magazine Johnson sold BET to Viacom for $2.33 million and the company’s assumption of almost six million dollars in BET debt.
CLARENCE B. JONES (1931– ) Publishing Executive
Born in Philadelphia in 1931, Jones graduated from Columbia University and Boston University Law School and then practiced as an attorney, specializing in civil rights and copyright cases for a New York City law firm. During this period, he was counsel for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1968 and again in 1972, he served as a delegate from New York State to the Democratic Convention. Jones was also an observer at Attica prison during the uprising there in 1971. Jones, as head of Inner City Broadcasting, in 1971 led a group of investors in the purchase of the New York Amsterdam News, the nation’s largest African American newspaper. Inner City Broadcasting also owned radio station WLIB and has full ownership of WBLS-FM.
In 2005 Jones was Executive Advisor to Marks Paneth & Shron (“MPS”), a financial services firm headquartered in New York. He is a member of the MPS Strategy Group and Principal in MPS’s Africa Strategy Group. In additional areas, he is Senior Partner of Clemensen Capital Company, an investment banking boutique specializing in cross border finance for Korea; President & CEO of CBJ Multimedia Associates, Inc., specializing in media and telecom; and CEO of CBJ Associates, Inc., a boutique investment banking and consulting services company specializing in governmental, financial and corporate services. In 2006 NPR interviewed Jones about his work with Martin Luther King, Jr.
STAR JONES. SEELAW CHAPTER.
TOM JOYNER (1949– ) Radio Personality and Announcer
The jingle “oh, oh, oh, it’s the Tom Joyner Morning Show” can be heard in more than 100 markets on the four-hour syndicated radio program the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Debuting in January of 1994 and hosted by Joyner, it is estimated that over ten million listeners tune in daily. In addition, his show reaches more African Americans in the country than any other electronic media. Known as the “Fly Jock, the hardest working man in radio” because he simultaneously hosted the morning show on KKDA in Dallas and the afternoon show for WGCI in Chicago in the 1980s, Joyner keeps audiences captivated with his educational and entertaining material.
Regular program highlights include: “Little Known Black History Facts;” the “It’s Your World” soap opera; “Melvin’s Lovelines;” comedy bits and news from his co-hosts J. Anthony Brown, Myra J., Ms. Dupree, and Sybil Wilkes; political commentary by Tavis Smiley, host of BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley; and the “Old School Breakfast Mix,” a music medley of soul classics tailored to Joyner’s baby-boomer audience. In addition, there are the “Thursday Morning Mom” and “Real Fathers, Real Men” segments in which people can send in a tribute to an exceptional parent and win that person $500.
Entering radio by accident, Joyner received a job as a newscaster at an African American-owned station in Montgomery, Alabama, not too long after graduating from Tuskegee University. While employed at the station and under the tutelage of Tracy Larkin, he learned that radio needs to be involved in the community. One example of the power of community radio occurred in the early 1970s when Joyner took to the airways to let people know that civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael and his South African wife, Miriam Makeba, needed a ride to a rally in Selma, Alabama. The next day, an entire local entourage was ready to escort them. A more recent example of Joyner’s community activism would include the voter registration drive that he and Tavis Smiley coordinated in 1996 that attracted approximately 250,000 African Americans. Through this effort, both gentlemen believe that these additional voters helped to reelect U.S. House members Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi after redistricting put them in political jeopardy.
As a graduate of a historically black university, Joyner recently teamed up with the United Negro College Fund and established the Tom Joyner Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to award scholarships throughout the school year to college students in need of financial support to complete their education. Each month, he announces the college or university that will be the beneficiary.
Joyner is the first African American to be elected to the Radio Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1998. Shortly after, in 2000, Joyner married fitness guru Donna Richardson in Jamaica. Joyner continued to benefit the community when he created an album with various artists, called the “Tom Joyner Allstars,” in 2001. All of the proceeds from the album went to the Tom Joyner Foundation.
In the Fall 2005, a nationally syndicated television show, The Tom Joyner Show was launched with Joyner as emcee of a one-hour comedy/variety show, combining sketch comedy featuring the “Tom Joyner Show Players” (his co-hosts from the radio show), talent contests, and musical performances. In May, 2006, affiliates learned that Joyner has decided not to continue due to the high production costs involved. Re-runs are shown on TV One.
DELANO LEWIS (1938– ) Business and Broadcasting Executive
Born in Arkansas City, Kansas on November 12, 1938, Delano Eugene Lewis grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. He received his bachelor or arts degree in political science and history from the University of Kansas in 1960 and a law degree from the Washburn University School of Law in 1963. Fresh out of law school, Lewis became one of only ten African American attorneys in the U.S. Department of
Justice in Washington, D.C. After two years, he took a post with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and after only one year, in 1966, he volunteered for the Peace Corps and went to Nigeria and Uganda. Returning from Africa in 1969, Lewis worked as legislative assistant to various senators and congressmen and donated his time to advisory boards and community service organizations.
In 1973, Lewis left government and entered the private sector. He joined the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company (C&P), a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic, as a public affairs manager in 1973. Subsequently, he held positions of increasing authority and responsibility, culminating in his election as president in July of 1988. In January of 1990, he became the chief executive officer. He then vaulted from the top of the telephone company to the role of president and chief executive officer of National Public Radio (NPR) in 1994. NPR, a membership organization of nearly six hundred public radio stations nationwide, produces and distributes the award-winning programs All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Weekend Edition, and NPR’s Performance Today. His goal was to make NPR “the leading provider of high quality news, information and cultural programming worldwide.” During his tenure, he focused on three areas: top quality programming, financial strength, and customer service.
At the invitation of Vice President Al Gore, Lewis served as a co-chair of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIIAC) from 1994 to 1996. Its members consisted of business, industry, academic, and local government leaders. The NIIAC provided recommendations to the Clinton Administration on how best to develop America’s communications network for full citizen participation by 2000.
After a four-year stint as the president and chief executive officer of NPR, Lewis resigned on August 1, 1998 to pursue other interests including teaching, lecturing, and writing a book about his experiences. In 1999, Lewis was chosen by President Clinton to become the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. He focused his efforts on behalf of the United States to such problems as the HIV epidemic, continued integration, and air travel. He served as Ambassador until 2001 when he became a director at the Colgate Palmolive Company in New York City.
Lewis serves on many boards of directors Black Entertainment Tonight, Hallburton, and Guest Services, Inc. He is the chairman of the board of the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, an honorary member of Mainstream, a national board member of Africare, and an emeritus member of the board of the Washington Performing Arts Society. He was named “Man of the Year” by the Greater Washington Board of Trade in 1992, named “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian magazine in 1978, named to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 1987, and was awarded the President’s Medal from Catholic University in 1978.
EDWARD T. LEWIS (1940– ) Magazine Publisher, Businessman
Edward T. Lewis, who was born on May 15, 1940 in Bronx, New York, is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Essence Communications Partners (ECP), the corporation that publishes the largest magazine for black women, Essence. However, as of June 28, 2002, he and his partner, Clarence O. Smith, ended their 32-year business partnership. It is believed that this unexpected change in management may be a result of the merger that took place between Essence Communications, Inc. (ECI) and Time, Inc., the nation’s largest publisher and a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc., in 2000.
This historic partnership was forged to broaden the horizons of both companies. For Essence, the venture represented a step toward its global initiative to broaden the scope of its brand. For Time, the new relationship served as their entree into the burgeoning minority market, more specifically, African American women, a fast growing, but relatively uncharted area. Retaining 51 percent ownership, Lewis remarked that he saw this partnership as “a bright moment in the history of Essence” because it would “enable the company (Essence) to strengthen its brand in the global marketplace and open the doors to numerous media opportunities, while continuing to provide the best information and inspiration to African American women and people of African ancestry around the world.”
A New York banker by profession, Lewis yearned to be on his own. He was just looking for the right opportunity. It arrived in the form of a seminar for aspiring African American entrepreneurs in 1969. At this seminar, someone suggested that a black women’s magazine might have potential because it was an untapped market. Knowing nothing about the publication of magazines and even less about black women, Lewis and his four partners, one of which suggested the idea, were intrigued by the prospect. As such, they decided to proceed with the project by creating a magazine that promised, in its May 1970 inaugural issue, to “delight and to celebrate the beauty, pride, strength, and uniqueness of all Black women.”
Success did not come as easily nor as quickly as the partners had assumed. The other three partners, all of whom had also attended the seminar, left within four years of the magazine’s debut. However, their departures did not deter Lewis and Smith from striving to reach their goal. In actuality, it made both of them more determined because they both believed that the magazine was “right” for the market. They were just waiting for advertisers to realize that African Americans were viable consumers. (The first issue of Essence contained only 13 pages of ads out of a total of 100 pages; the next two issues each had only five pages of ads. Today, most profitable magazines aim for at least 50 percent.) Maintaining their unwavering resolve to be the publisher of a premier magazine targeted toward African American women paid off because Essence finally broke even in 1976.
In 2002, Essence had a monthly circulation of more than 1 million, and a readership of 7.6 million, 29 percent of which was male. Essence, whose readers tend to be between 18 and 50 years old, circulates primarily by subscription. In addition, 35 percent of the readers have a household income of at least $35,000 and 43 percent have attended or graduated from college.
Prior to merging with Time, Inc., Lewis, along with Smith, had expanded the company into a diversified media corporation that included Essence Entertainment, the Essence Music Festival, the Essence Awards television program, Essence Travel, Essence-By-Mail, Essence Art Reproductions, Essence Books, the essence.com Web site, and a host of other ventures.
Having served on numerous arts and educational boards throughout his illustrious career, Lewis’s business accomplishments have been recognized by Black Enterprise magazine, the National Association of Black Journalists, the American Advertising Federation (Diversity Achievement Role Model Award), the United Negro College Fund (Lifetime Achievement Award), the Democratic Women’s Political Caucus (Good Guy Award), the Black Women’s Forum (The Men Who Dare Award), Ernst & Young (Entrepreneur of the Year), and many others.
SAMUEL LOGAN JR. (1933– ) Newspaper Publisher
As the former publisher of the oldest and largest African American newspaper in Michigan, the Michigan Chronicle, Samuel Logan Jr. was born on August 31, 1933, in Louisiana. Initially having worked in the cotton fields of Louisiana, Logan moved to Detroit where he found employment in a factory. During the Korean War, he volunteered as a paratrooper with the United States Army, 82nd Airborne Division. After four years of service, he was honorably discharged in 1956. Upon his return to the United States, three men influenced his life: Frank Seymour, who eventually became his role model, Tom Cleveland, and Robert Leatherwood, both owners of Detroit’s first African American advertising agency. Logan applied for a position with Cleveland and Leatherwood’s agency and was hired to work as a “boy Friday” for $32 a week.
Seymour eventually sold his share of his business to Logan, whose performance had been impressive, which made him a full partner. Later on, he worked as a sales representative with radio stations WCHB-AM and WCHD-FM, founded by another African American pioneer, Dr. Haley Bell. His next move occurred when he joined the Michigan Chronicle as assistant to then-advertising manager, the late Tremaine Shearer. Rising steadily through the ranks, he held the following positions over the years: advertising manager, advertising director, vice president of marketing, and general manager. On his way to the top, Logan took time to acquire a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Detroit, now the University of Detroit-Mercy, in 1973.
The Michigan Chronicle was eventually purchased by by Sengstacke Enterprises, whose headquarters are in Chicago. The company also produced the daily Chicago Defender, the New Pittsburgh Courier, and the Tri-State Defender in Memphis, Tennessee. Logan worked closely with John Sengstacke, owner of Sengstacke Enterprises, and shortly before Sengstacke passed away in 1997, the shareholders of Sengstacke Enterprises voted Logan in as the new president of the company. However, Logan did not formally take over before Sengstacke’s death and Norman Trust, John Sengstacke’s trustee refused to acknowledge Logan’s right to the company. He instead passed on the title to Sengstacke’s children who were left with a great deal of stock in the company. Logan was so angered that he not only stepped down from the presidency, but he left the Michigan Chronicle as well to pursue his own newspaper. In 2001, Logan began African American-oriented Front Page which is still published in the Michigan area.
During his time as general manager, the Michigan Chronicle was voted the best African American newspaper in the country several times by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. In addition, Logan is a member of the NAACP, the Urban League, the Michigan Historical Commission, and the Central Michigan University Scholarship Fund. He has received awards from the Metropolitan Youth Foundation, The Optimist Club of Central Detroit, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the State of Michigan-Minority Enterprises, and a host of others. In 1993, he was also voted “Publisher of the Year.”
ROBERT C. MAYNARD (1937–1993) Journalist, Newspaper Editor, Newspaper Publisher
The youngest of six children, Robert Clyve Maynard was born on June 17, 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. Reared in a family that stressed higher education, only Maynard chose not to pursue a college career. Instead, he cut his high school classes to spend his time at the editorial offices of the New York Age, which published his first articles. Although no longer in existence, the newspaper consumed all of Maynard’s attention and by the age of 16, he had dropped out of school.
In 1961, Maynard’s first big opportunity occurred when Jim Hicks, editor of York (Pennsylvania) Gazette and Daily, hired him as a police and urban affairs reporter. Covering a variety of stories, he was eventually assigned to the civil rights movement in the South. Hicks also persuaded him to apply for a one-year Nieman Fellowship for journalists at Harvard University. Maynard was selected for the prestigious award. His second big break occurred at the end of his fellowship. Noticing the broad range of talent that Maynard demonstrated throughout the fellowship program, Ben Bradlee, former editor of the Washington Post, hired him, in 1967. As a result, Maynard became the Post’s first black national correspondent.
Maynard became an immediate success at the Post, had a wide range of contacts, and free rein to report local and national news. He originated and wrote a powerful five-part series on the growing black militancy, which was published in September of 1967. In 1972, he helped to cover the Watergate scandal—the illegal break-in of Democratic party offices by the Republican campaign committee during Richard Nixon’s presidency—as well as it consequences.
While at the Post, Maynard developed a strong interest in developing training opportunities for minority journalists. In 1972, he and Earl Caldwell, a black reporter for the New York Times, co-directed a new summer training program in journalism at Columbia University that was funded by the Ford Foundation. When the program was discontinued two years later, Maynard took a leave of absence from the Post in 1977 to found a similar program known as the Institute for Journalism Education at the University of California, Berkeley.
Shortly after he founded the Institute, the Gannett newspaper chain hired Maynard as an affirmative action consultant. In 1979, Gannett also appointed him as editor of its newly acquired Oakland Tribune, making him the nation’s first black director of editorial operations for a major daily newspaper. In spite of his ambitious efforts, the paper struggled financially. When Gannett decided to sale the newspaper in order to pursue other media opportunities, Maynard purchased the Tribune. The deal was made possible because of two bank loans and a long-term promissory note to Gannett. As president of the board and owner of 79 percent of the paper’s stock, he became the first black in the United States to have a controlling interest in a major, general-circulation city daily.
Though Maynard failed to make the Tribune a financial success—primarily because of Oakland’s dragging economy and its proximity to prosperous San Francisco and the booming South Bay—his style permeated the newspaper. A symbol of racial pride under Maynard’s leadership, the Tribune won a multitude of awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for its photographic coverage of the 1989 Bay Area earthquake. For a short time, Maynard was able to sustain the paper with loans and assistance in erasing the original debt from Gannett. However, eventually, matters worsened and he became terminally ill. Consequently, he sold the paper in 1992 to William Dean Singleton, owner of several newspapers in the Bay Area.
Active in many civic organizations, Maynard served on the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Pacific School of Religion, the Bay Area Council, the Associated Press, and the Pulitzer Prize Committee. He was a member of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists. He held honorary doctorate degrees from York College in Pennsylvania and the California College of Arts and Crafts.
Upon selling the paper, Maynard kept a busy schedule during his last year of life. He became a faculty member at the Institute for Journalism Education, wrote a syndicated column, and served as a commentator on television news shows. After his death on August 17, 1993, his life was celebrated in both the Bay Area and Washington, D.C.
ROBERT G. MCGRUDER (1942–2002) Journalist, Newspaper Editor
A champion of diversity, Robert. G. McGruder, former executive editor of The Detroit Free Press, began his distinguished newspaper career in 1963 with the now-defunct Dayton Journal Herald. Three months later, he joined the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The only black reporter in the newsroom, McGruder once said that this was “both a high and low point” in his career. In 1964, he was drafted. After serving in the army for two years in Washington, D.C., he returned to the Plain Dealer where he worked as a reporter, city editor, and managing editor.
While at the Plain Dealer, McGruder covered Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of a major city and a colorful political character not unlike Coleman A. Young, Detroit’s first black mayor. McGruder’s aggressive coverage of Stokes’s leadership was the impetus for some of the legendary battles that occurred between Stokes and the Cleveland media. He once traveled to the Bahamas with another reporter to investigate rumors that Stokes was involved in shady business. They found nothing. Eventually, McGruder and Stokes resolved their differences. Later, McGruder helped him write his 1973 autobiography, Promises of Power. In another fact-finding mission, he and another reporter examined city financial records and wrote that Cleveland was going broke. Many residents and officials ignored their conclusion, but before long Cleveland became the first big American city to declare bankruptcy.
Before McGruder became an editor at the Plain Dealer, he was a labor activist, serving as a negotiator for the Newspaper Guild in its talks with management. He also was one of the leaders of a lengthy strike. As city editor in 1978 and managing editor at 1981, the Plain Dealer won numerous local, state and national awards, including two from the National Press Club and one from the Overseas Press Club.
McGruder arrived in Detroit in 1986. It had taken Neal Shine, the longtime managing editor and publisher at the Detroit Free Press, more than a decade to hire him. Initially hired as deputy managing editor, he was promoted to managing editor of news in 1987, to managing editor, the second-ranking editor, in 1993, and in 1996, he became the first black executive editor at the Free Press. In 1995, while managing editor at the Free Press, McGruder became the first black president of the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME), an association of U.S. and Canadian editors whose newspapers are members of the Associated Press. Since 1931, the organization has been dedicated to the improvement, advancement and promotion of journalism through their newspapers and relationship with the Associated Press.
In each of his positions at the Free Press, McGruder talked frequently about the need to diversify newspaper staffs so they could do a better job of covering their constantly evolving communities. He even led a task force for Knight Ridder, the parent company of the Free Press, which resulted in major editing hires across the company. Taking his message to the national boards on which he served, McGruder once said that the best moments of his career were the opportunities to promote a number of African Americans to jobs that had never been held by black people.
When McGruder assumed the position of executive editor, the newspaper was in the midst of a bitter strike. Having been a former labor activist, McGruder quickly learned about the other side of the picket line. Maintaining his equilibrium throughout this stressful period, the strike did not end until 2000, McGruder remarked that “the strike was easily the most painful time in his life.” Part of his pain was caused by the absence of many of the minorities he had worked so hard to hire over the years.
In 2001, McGruder won the John S. Knight Gold Medal, the highest honor given to an employee of Knight Ridder. “I stand for diversity,” he said when he accepted the medal. “I represent the African Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, Asians, Native Americans . . . and all the others we must see represented in our business offices, newsrooms and newspapers if we truly want to meet the challenge of serving our communities.” At the time of the award, Heath Meriwether, publisher of the Free Press, called McGruder “a giant in our profession” and praised his leadership at the Free Press and nationally as president of APME, as well as in his role as a member of the board of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). Today, many of the people that McGruder hired and nurtured hold important positions at newspapers across the country.
McGruder was a member of the 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, and 1998 nominating juries for the Pulitzer Prizes and a 1991–92 Knight Ridder/Duke University Fellow. He also served as director of the Michigan Press Association, as a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Minority Journalists at Wayne State University, and as a member of the Accrediting Committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Graduating from Kent State University in 1963, McGruder was born on March 31, 1942 in Lousiville, Kentucky. After a 20-month battle with cancer, he died on April 12, 2002. Upon his death, Knight Ridder established the Robert G. McGruder Scholarship Fund in his memory. The Fund will support promising journalism students enrolled at Wayne State University’s Journalism Institute for Minorities. The company agreed to match all contributions, dollar for dollar, with a minimum grant of $50,000 to a maximum of $100,000. The Free Press also contributed $10,000 to the fund.
CARL J. MURPHY (1889–1967) Journalist, publisher, civil rights leader, educator
Carl James Greenburg Murphy was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 17, 1889, to John Henry Murphy Sr. and Martha Howard Murphy, and was educated at Howard University (1911), Harvard University (1913) and at the University of Jena in Berlin (1913). He served as professor of German and chairman of the German department at Howard University between 1913 and 1918, and in that year joined the staff of The Afro-American. He became the editor-publisher of the paper following the death of his father in 1922 and developed it into one of the largest circulated black newspapers in the nation.
Carl Murphy helped build the Maryland NAACP into one of the largest in the country. Murphy soon became a figure of national stature. As the head of an influential newspaper, he stood with publishing colleagues across black America, including Robert L. Vann at the Pittsburgh Courier, C.B. Powell and Phillip M.H. Savory of the Amsterdam News, and Robert S. Abbott of the Chicago Defender as the most visible blacks to whom white politicians and civic leaders often turned when confronted with African American concerns. Murphy’s uncompromising stances on racial and social justice led the Federal Bureau of Investigation to monitor him closely in the 1940s, though no charge was ever brought against him.
Following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954), Thurgood Marshall publicly acknowledged a debt of gratitude to Murphy. For his efforts on behalf of civil rights, the NAACP awarded him its highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1955. Morgan State University, on whose board Murphy had served as a trustee for decades, named its Fine Arts Center in his honor. Carl Murphy died on February 26, 1967. He died on February 26, 1967.
JOHN HENRY MURPHY (1840–1922) Publisher
John Henry Murphy was born a slave in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1840. He became superintendent of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and founded the Sunday school newspaper, the Sunday School Helper. In 1892 he purchased the Baltimore Afro-American for $200. By 1922, the Afro-American had reached a circulation of 14,000, becoming the largest African American newspaper in the Northeast.
At first, Murphy set the paper’s type himself, having acquired this skill in his forties. Throughout, he insisted that his paper maintain political and editorial independence. Murphy died April 5, 1922.
CLARENCE PAGE (1947– ) Columnist, Author
As a syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services since 1987, Clarence Page began writing his local column for the Chicago Tribune in the mid-1980s. His column, which addresses education, politics, economics, prejudice, housing, hunger and crime, now appears in about 150 papers and in 1989, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Based in Washington, D.C., since 1991, Page also does twice-weekly commentary on WGN-TV in Chicago.
Originally joining the Tribune as a reporter in 1969, his time with the newspaper was brief because he was drafted into the military. He then rejoined the Tribune in 1971 and resumed his journalism career in a variety of beats, including police, rewrite, religion and neighborhood news, with freelance assignments as a rock music critic for Tempo at night.
Page eventually became a foreign correspondent in Africa in 1976, an assistant city editor, and an investigative task force reporter in 1979. Growing restless, in 1980, he delved into television by becoming the director of the community affairs department at WBBM-TV, a CBS-owned station. At various times, he also assumed the role of documentary producer, reporter, and planning editor.
The highlight of those years occurred when he was assigned to the protests in 1982 that evolved into the Harold Washington mayoral campaign. As that history-making story rose in prominence, locally and nationally, so did Page’s career. Soon thereafter, he was recognized as a “political expert.” In 1984, he returned to the Tribune as a columnist and a member of the editorial board.
Over the years, Page’s writing has been published in Chicago magazine, the Chicago Reader, Washington Monthly, New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, and the defunct magazine, Emerge. His first book, Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity, was published in 1996 and soared to the middle of the best-seller list in Chicago. His television appearances include being a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer—to which he also contributes essays. He has hosted several documentaries on the Public Broadcasting System and served as a commentator on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday.
Page’s other awards include a 1980 Illinois UPI award for community service for an investigative series titled The Black Tax and the Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting of a 1976 series on the changing politics of Southern Africa. Page also participated in a 1972 Chicago Tribune Task Force series on vote fraud, which won the Pulitzer Prize. The Illinois and Wisconsin chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union bestowed awards on him for his columns on civil liberties and constitutional rights, and in 1992, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. He continues to write insightful articles. One March 2007 article about the NAACP related to his view of the organization’s loss of focus in solving problems in the African American community.
Born on June 2, 1947, in Dayton, Ohio, Page earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1969. Since that time, he has received honorary degrees from Columbia College in Chicago, Lake Forest College in Illinois, Chicago Theological Seminary, and other institutions of higher education, including his alma mater.
NORMA QUARLES (1936– ) Television News Correspondent
Born in New York City in 1936, Norma Quarles is an alumna of Hunter College and City College of New York. She first worked as a buyer for a New York specialty shop before moving to Chicago where she became a licensed real estate broker.
In 1965, she began her broadcast career in Chicago at WSDM Radio, working as a news reporter and disc jockey. She later returned to New York where she joined NBC in 1966 for a one-year training program. After three years with WKYC-TV in Cleveland, she was transferred to WNBC-TV in 1970, anchoring the early local news broadcasts during the Today show. In 1978, Quarles moved to NBC News as a correspondent based in Chicago, in addition to producing and reporting the Urban Journal series for WMAQ-TV. In 1988 Quarles left NBC after 21 years to join Cable News Network’s New York bureau. Quarles served as a daytime anchor at CNN until 1990, when she became a correspondent.
Quarles is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, National Association of Broadcast Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, and a board member of the Governor’s National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1990, Quarles was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. In 1993 Quarles earned a CINE Golden Eagle award as well as two New York Association of Black Journalists Awards for a one-hour CNN special on race relations called A House Divided, and for a feature report, “The Delany Sisters.” She was a 2005 inductee into the National Association of Black Journalists.
DUDLEY RANDALL (1914–2000) Publisher, Poet, Librarian
Dudley Randall was born in Washington, D.C., on January 14, 1914, and was living in Detroit by the time he was nine years old. An early harbinger of Randall’s poetic talent was the appearance of one of his poems in the Detroit Free Press at the early age of 13. After serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps (1942–1946), Randall worked in the foundry at the Ford Motor Company and as a postal carrier and clerk while attending Wayne State University in Detroit. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1949 and a master of arts degree in library science from the University of Michigan in 1951. He also did graduate work at the University of Ghana.
Randall worked in progressively responsible librarian positions at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri (1951–1954), Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland (1954–1956), and the Wayne County Federated Library System in Wayne, Michigan (1956– 1969). From 1969 to 1975, he was a reference librarian and poet-in-residence at the University of Detroit. In 1969, he also served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Michigan.
Randall’s love of poetry led to his founding of the Broadside Press in 1965. He wanted to make sure that African Americans had an outlet to “speak to and for their people.” His works include Poem Counterpoem (1966); On Getting a Natural (1969); and A Litany of Friends: New and Selected Poems (1981). He retired from Broadside Press in 1993; however, it continues to publish new works. In 1980, he founded the Broadside Poets Theater and the Broadside Poetry Workshop.
Randall was active in many Detroit cultural organizations and institutions including the Detroit Council for the Arts and the International Afro-American Museum in Detroit, now the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. In 1981, Randall received the Creative Artist Award in Literature from the Michigan Council for the Arts and in 1986 he was named the first poet laureate of Detroit by the late Mayor Coleman A. Young. Randall died on August 5, 2000 in Southfield, Michigan.
AHMAD RASHAD (1949– ) Sports Commentator, Television Host
Ahmad Rashad was born Bobby Moore on November 19, 1949, in Portland, Oregon. As the youngest of six children—three boys and three girls. Born in Portland, Oregon, but reared in Tacoma, Washington, the name change occurred after he converted to Islam in the 1970s while playing professional football for the St. Louis Cardinals. Initially, many of his coaches and teammates viewed the change as silly or pretentious, but they learned to accept it.
Upon leaving St. Louis, Rashad played for Buffalo and Seattle before joining the Minnesota Vikings in 1976. After 11 years of playing professional football, he decided to call it quits in 1983. Despite his early departure, Rashad left his mark on the league. He retired with 495 catches, tenth on the all-time receiving list at the time. Unlike many athletes, prior to announcing his retirement, he had begun to prepare for the next stage in his career: broadcasting. Several times a week after practice, he would go to the CBS affiliate, WCCO-TV in Minnesota, to hone his craft.
His dedication proved to be beneficial because from 1983 to 1988, he worked as a pre-game host for NFL on NBC. He also made headline news in 1985 when he proposed during a televised football game to Phylicia Ayers-Allen, better known as Clair Huxtable, the matriarch on the long-running sitcom The Cosby Show. They had one child together, a daughter, but divorced in 2001.
Rashad moved to the booth in 1989 to serve as an analyst. In 1994, he moved back to the studio after being named pre-game show co-host and stayed in that position through the end of the 1997-98 season and Super Bowl XXXII. He lent his talents to Notre Dame Saturday, where in 1991 he was a host, and to NBC Sports Update, where he served as an anchor and as a commentator for various SportsWorld telecasts.
Named executive producer of NBA Inside Stuff and NBA Entertainment-produced specials in March 1998, as an Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, Rashad has been the host of Inside Stuff on NBC since its inception in 1990. He is also a host for the NBA on NBC studio show. In addition to these duties, he extended his duties to include studio hosting, feature reporting, and analysis and commentary for a variety of sports and events, especially NBC’s coverage of the NBA. He has been with Inside Stuff for over ten years.
In between his anchoring assignments, Rashad served as a weekend host and late night correspondent at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta; as one of the hosts of NBC’s Olympic TripleCast from Barcelona in 1992; and as studio anchor during coverage of the Seoul Olympics in 1988. His efforts in Seoul earned him an Emmy for writing.
Rashad, a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he was a two-time All-American, was the 1995 recipient of the University’s Pioneer Award, the highest honor given to an alumnus. In addition, he served on the university’s board of trustees. Holding an honorary degree of Doctor of Journalism from the University of Puget Sound, Rashad was a four-time Pro-Bowl selection for the Minnesota Vikings and was voted to the Vikings All-time 25th Anniversary Team and the 40th Anniversary team. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Rashad: Vikes, Mikes and Something on the Backside.
WILLIAM J. RASPBERRY (1935– ) Commentator, Journalist
Born in Okolona, Mississippi, on October 12, 1935, Raspberry received his bachelor of science degree in history from Indiana Central College in 1958. While a student, he worked at the Indianapolis Recorder as a reporter, photographer, and editorial writer from 1956 through 1960. In 1960, Raspberry was drafted by the Army and served as a public information officer until his discharge in 1962. He began working for the Washington Post as a teletypist and soon worked his way up to reporter, assistant city editor, and finally a columnist in 1966. He continues writing today as a nationally syndicated columnist, appearing in 225 newspapers. Raspberry also teaches at Duke University, serving in the Knight Chair in Communications and Journalism.
Raspberry has also appeared as a television panelist and commentator and in 1965 was named Journalist of the Year by the Capital Press Club for his coverage of the Los Angeles Watts riot. In 1967, he received a Citation of Merit in Journalism from Lincoln University in Jefferson, Missouri, for distinction in improving human relations. He is generally regarded as an independent thinker, holding to no particular orthodoxy. His book Looking Backward at Us, published in 1991, is very similar to his other writings in that it deals with issues concerning the African American experience and social conditions and race relations in the United States.
Raspberry has taught journalism at Howard University and the University of Maryland School of Journalism. After his retirement in 2005 he became a journalism professor at Duke University. He is a member of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies board of advisors and the Pulitzer Prize Board, Grid Iron Club, Capitol Press Club, Washington Association of Black Journalists, and Kappa Alpha Psi. Raspberry won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for Distinguished Commentary and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). In 1997, he was named one of the 50 most influential journalists in the national press corps by the Washingtonian magazine. In addition, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by 15 educational institutions.
MAX ROBINSON (1939–1988) Television News Correspondent
Born in Richmond, Virginia, on May 1, 1939, Max Robinson attended Oberlin College, Virginia Union University, and Indiana University. He began his career as a newsreader at WTOV-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 1965, he worked as a studio floor director at WTOPTV (now WUSA) in Washington, D.C., before moving on to WRC-TV to work as a news reporter, and to WTOP-TV, where he worked as anchor.
In 1978, Robinson joined ABC World News Tonight, becoming the first African American network anchor. Almost immediately, Robinson took it upon himself to fight racism at whatever cost necessary. ABC management became frustrated with Robinson and moved him to the post of weekend anchor. In 1983, Robinson left ABC for WMAQ-TV in Chicago, where he remained until 1985.
Robinson died of complications from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) on December 20, 1988, in Washington, D.C. He was the recipient of three Emmy awards, the Capital Press Club Journalist of the Year Award, and the Ohio State Award, as well as an award from the National Education Association. He also taught at Federal City College, in Washington, D.C., and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
AL ROKER (1954– ) Weathercaster, Feature Reporter, Entrepreneur
Delighting visitors from across the country on the sidewalks outside of Studio 1-A with his humor, honesty, outgoing personality, and witty comments, Al Roker is
the full-time weatherman for NBC’s Today show and the weathercaster for News Channel 4’s Live at Five.
Born Albert Lincoln Roker on August 20, 1954, in New York, New York, Roker began his broadcasting career while still in college by landing a job as a weekend weatherman at WTVH-TV in Syracuse, New York, in 1974. After receiving a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1976, he moved on to weathercasting jobs in Washington, D.C. (1976–1978) and Cleveland, Ohio (1978–1983), before becoming the weekend weathercaster at WNBC in New York in 1983. In 1998, his alma mater awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Besides his weathercasting duties, this six-time Emmy Award winner conducts celebrity interviews, cooking segments, and technology updates. Since 1985, he has hosted the annual Christmas at Rockefeller Center celebration. He has also co-hosted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade.
In 1994, Roker ventured into the world of entrepreneurship by creating Al Roker Productions, Inc. The multimedia company is involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public televison projects. Two of the most successful projects include the critically acclaimed special on PBS about severe weather Savage Skies and a highly rated travel series called Going Places. His Web site allows visitors to receive up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, peruse Roker’s thoughts on a variety of subjects, laugh at his daily cartoon, write to him, and challenge the mind with some brain-twisting trivia. Another business venture, Roker-Ware, Inc., is a trademark line of merchandise all personally designed by Roker. Inspired by the birth of his baby girl Leila in 1998, Roker introduced the WeatherBabies line as part of RokerWare, where fans can purchase a baby bib or baby t-shirt. Al Roker has taken on a variety of roles. For example, he replaced Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire shows on March 5-9, 2007. In 2000, Roker forged into the world of writing with Don’t Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood. He followed this book up in 2001 when Al Roker’s Big, Bad Book of Barbecue: 100 Easy Recipes for Backyard Barbecue and Grilling hit the bookshelves. His third book, Al Roker’s Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook, was released in 2003.
As an active member of the community, Roker has been honored by many civic and charitable organizations for his professional and community-minded activities and contributions. These include the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Urban League Rainforest Alliance, Read Across America, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the Ronald McDonald House, the Hale House, and the Harlem Boys Choir. In addition, he is currently a member of the board of directors of Family AIDS Network and serves as honorary chair for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure/Three Miles of Men.
CARL ROWAN (1925–2000) Commentator, Journalist
Carl Thomas Rowan was born August 11, 1925 in Ravenscroft, Tennessee. He attended Tennessee A&I (now Tennessee State University) in Nashville and Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He received his bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Oberlin College in 1947 and a master of arts degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1948.
In 1948, Rowan went to work as a copyeditor, then later as a staff writer, for the Minneapolis Tribune, where he worked until 1961. In 1961, he was hired by the U.S. Department of State as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs. After three years with the Department of State, Rowan was appointed U.S. ambassador to Finland by President Lyndon Johnson in 1963, and in 1964 he was appointed director of the United States Information Agency (USIA), which operates overseas educational and cultural programs including the worldwide radio service Voice of America. In 1965, Rowan resigned from the USIA to work as a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times.
Rowan has authored several books including South of Freedom, Wait Till Next Year, Just Between Us Blacks, Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall, and a memoir entitled Breaking Barriers. He received the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton in 1987 for the television documentary Thurgood Marshall: The Man. Rowan is a syndicated columnist and his work appears in numerous newspapers across the country.
Rowan has served as a political commentator for the Post-Newsweek Broadcasting Company and has been a frequent panelist on the NBC program Meet the Press and the syndicated programs Agronsky & Co and Inside Washington.
Rowan is the founder of the Project Excellence program, a scholarship program for African American high school students. Scholarships are awarded to students who embrace academic achievement and resist negative peer pressure. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than $52 million in scholarships to more than 2,150 high school graduates.
In 1998, Rowan received the prestigious Victory Award from the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., for overcoming one of the biggest obstacles in his life-that of walking again after having his right leg amputated just below the knee because of a severe foot infection brought on by complications from diabetes. Established in 1986, the award is given to honor individuals who have coped with physical adversity in an exemplary way.
On September 23, 2000, Rowan died of natural causes at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He was 75.
JOHN B. RUSSWURM (1799–1851) Newspaper Publisher
Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, on October 1, 1799, Russwurm graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1826. From Brunswick, Russwurm moved to New York, where on March 16, 1827, he and Samuel E. Cornish published the first edition of Freedom’s Journal—the nation’s first African American newspaper.
In 1829, Russwurm decided to immigrate to Monrovia, Liberia. From 1830 to 1835, he published the Liberia Herald. Cornish, who had left the paper in late 1827, resumed his role as editor in 1830, publishing the paper under the name Rights of All.
Russwurm went on to serve as superintendent of education in Monrovia and later as governor of Maryland in Liberia. He died June 17, 1851.
JOHN HERMAN HENRY SENGSTACKE (1912–1997) Publishing Executive
A nephew of the great publisher Robert Abbott, John Sengstacke was born in Savannah, Georgia, on November 25, 1912. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, in 1934. Upon graduation, he went to work with Robert Abbott, attended school to learn printing, and wrote editorials and articles for three Abbott papers. In 1934, he became vice president and general manager of the company.
During World War II, Sengstacke was an advisor to the U.S. Office of War Information during a period of severe tension between the government and the African American press. He also presided over the Chicago rationing board.
In 1940, after the death of his uncle, Sengstacke became president of the Robert S. Abbott Publishing Company. In 1956, Sengstacke founded the Daily Defender, one of only three African American dailies in the country. In 1940, he founded the Negro Newspaper Publishers’ Association, now known as the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and served six terms as president. It is comprised of over 200 African American newspapers. He was president of Tri-State Defender, Inc., Florida Courier Publishing Company, New Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company, Amalgamated Publishers, Inc., chairman of the Michigan Chronicle Publishing Company and Sengstacke Enterprises, Inc., and treasurer of Chicago Defender Charities, Inc.
Prior to his death on May 28, 1997, after an extended illness, Sengstacke served in leadership positions with many professional, educational, and civic organizations, received a number of presidential appointments, and was the recipient of several academic awards. He held the position of trustee at Bethune-Cookman College and chairman of the board at Provident Hospital and the Training School Association. He was a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on the advisory board of the Boy Scouts of America, and a principal in Chicago United.
BERNARD SHAW (1940– ) Television News Anchor
Bernard Shaw was born on May 22, 1940, in Chicago. He was the principal Washington anchor for NewsStand: CNN; Time, a weekly primetime investigative newsmagazine on the Cable News Network (CNN). He also co-anchored Inside Politics, the nation’s only daily program devoted exclusively to political news. Shaw had been on board as the Washington anchor since the cable network went on the air on June 1, 1980, until his recent retirement in 2001. He often reported first-hand on major international news stories. His reporting took him to 46 countries spanning five continents. The awards, honors, and accolades that Shaw has received over the years for his outstanding journalistic aptitude are too numerous to recount. By 2005 he still occasionally appeared on the air and was a member of a speakers bureau.
Shaw was present when the Chinese government’s tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square in May of 1989, crushing the student-led pro-democracy movement. In January of 1991, Shaw, along with two other colleagues from CNN, were stranded in Baghdad when allied bombing attacks launched Operation Desert Storm. From their hotel room, Shaw and the others provided first-hand accounts of the bombing of the city. Shaw covered the outbreak of the Gulf War and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
As a result of his comprehensive coverage of Operation Desert Storm, Shaw received numerous international, as well as national, awards and honors. In July of 1991, he received the Eduard Rhein Foundation’s Cultural Journalistic Award, marking the first time that the foundation has presented this award to a non-German. In October of 1992, the Italian government honored him with its President’s Award, presented to those leaders who have actively contributed to development, innovation, and cooperation. In December of the same year, Shaw was the recipient of the coveted David Brinkley Award for excellence in communication from Barry University.
Shaw’s first job as a television journalist came in 1971 with CBS News at their Washington bureau where he conducted an exclusive interview with Attorney General John Mitchell at the height of the Watergate scandal. In 1977, he left CBS to join ABC News as Miami bureau chief and Latin American correspondent. Shaw was one of the first reporters to film from location on the Jonestown massacre story in Guyana, and his team provided the only aerial photos of the mass suicide-murder site. ABC sent Shaw to Iran to report on the 1979 hostage crisis at the American embassy in Teheran. He then returned to Washington as ABC’s senior Capitol Hill correspondent.
Prior to joining CBS News, Shaw was a reporter for Group W, a Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, based first in Chicago and then in Washington (1966–1971). Shaw served as Group W’s White House correspondent during the last year of the Johnson Administration (1968). His other assignments included local and national urban affairs, the struggles of the Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, and the plight of the American Indians in Billings, Montana. In 1968, he reported on the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis and his funeral in Atlanta.
Shaw has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the highest distinction the society gives to journalists for public service. In June of 1995, he was inducted into the SPJ Hall of Fame. In October of 1996, he received the Paul White Life Achievement Award from the Radio Television News Directors’ Association, one of the industry’s most coveted awards. One month later, he and his co-anchor Judy Woodruff garnered the 1996 ACE for Best Newscaster of the Year for Inside Politics. In April of 1997, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalists Hall of Fame. In September of 1997, he was the inaugural recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Tex McCrary Award for journalism, which honors the distinguished achievements of those in the field of journalism.
CAROLE SIMPSON (1940– ) Television News Anchor
Born on December 7, 1940, Carole Simpson graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and did graduate work in journalism at the University of Iowa. She first entered broadcasting in 1965 as a reporter for a local radio station, WCFL, in Morris, Illinois. In 1968, she moved to radio station WBBM in Chicago and in 1970, she went to work as a reporter for the Chicago television station WMAQ.
Simpson made her first network appearance as a substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News in 1974 and as anchor on NBC’s Newsbreak on weekends. In 1982, Simpson joined ABC in Washington as a general assignment correspondent. She has anchored World News Sunday and is an Emmy Award-winning senior correspondent for ABC News. She reported frequently on family and social issues for World News Tonight With Peter Jennings. Her reports have also appeared on 20/20, Nightline, and other ABC News broadcasts and specials. She is an occasional contributor to This Week and substituted for Peter Jennings on World News Tonight.
Simpson was most recently in the media spotlight in 2001 when she was suspended from reporting on air for two weeks when she made remarks at an Oct. 16 International Women’s Media Foundation in which she revealed facts about the identity of the ABC producer whose son apparently contracted anthrax while visiting the network, and spoke about a suspicious letter received by her colleague Cokie Roberts, contradicting earlier network statements. Simpson later said she was sorry for the remarks.
Simpson has served as president of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association, as chairperson of the ABC Women’s Advisory Board, and as a member of the board of directors of the Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She is also a member of Theta Sigma Phi, the Radio Television News Directors Association, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She has been awarded the Media Journalism Award, the Milestone Award in broadcast journalism from the National Commission of Working Women, the Turner Broadcasting “Trumpet” Award for scholastic achievement, the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from Radio and Television News Director Foundation, and the Silver Bell Award from the Ad Council. She was inducted into the University of Iowa Communications Hall of Fame and received the University of Missouri’s distinguished journalist award. In 1992, she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She has established several college scholarships for women and minorities pursuing careers in broadcast journalism at the University of Michigan, as well as the Carole Simpson scholarship administered by the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF). She also established the Carole Simpson Leadership Institute in Dakar, Senegal, for African women journalists in 1998. In 2007, she was working as an educator at Emerson College.
TAVIS SMILEY (1964– ) Host, Executive Producer, Political Commentator, Author
Recognized for his tough interviewing tactics and strong emphasis on issues relevant to the African American community, Time selected Tavis Smiley as one of America’s 50 most promising young leaders under the age of 40. Ebony profiled him as one of Black America’s future leaders. Newsweek crowned him as among “20 people changing how Americans get their news” and dubbed him one of the nation’s “captains of the airwaves.” The accolades for the innumerable talents of Tavis Smiley, former host of BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, a live one-hour news and entertainment program on Black Entertainment Television (BET), are endless.
Smiley, born on September 13, 1964 in Gulfport, Mississippi, is the author of On Air: The Best of Tavis Smiley on the Tom Joyner Morning Show; the critically acclaimed book Hard Left: Straight Talk About the Wrongs of the Right; and How to Make Black America Better in 2001. He has continued to be a prolific writer. His two 2006 books are What I Know for Sure: My Growing up in America and Never Mind Success: Go for Greatness.
Twice a week, he offers political commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a nationally syndicated radio show. In this role, Smiley led several national radio campaigns which influenced national events, such as Fox Television’s decision to return Living Single to the lineup, Christie’s auction house donation of slavery artifacts to an African American museum, the Katz Radio Group’s increased media buys on African American and Hispanic radio, and the honoring of Rosa Parks with the Congressional Medal. In addition to his other on-air roles, Smiley serves as a political analyst on CNN. Smiley received a bachelor of arts degree in law and public policy at Indiana University in 1986. In 1988, he went to Los Angeles to work for the city’s first African American mayor, Tom Bradley. In 1991, he started doing radio segment The Smiley Report, which became so popular that it was nationally syndicated a year later. His popularity spread even further when he signed on as the political commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. The position was initially designed as a temporary assignment to help Joyner register people to vote. Smiley’s few moments on the air were such a success that Joyner extended an invitation to him to regularly comment on the issues of the day.
In the 1990s, Smiley was perhaps best well know for his television show on BET entitled BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, which garnered Smiley three NAACP Image Award for Best “News, Talk or Information Series.” In 1999, BET chose not to renew Smiley’s contract, and Smiley moved on to work at ABC-TV as a special correspondent for Good Morning America and Primetime Thursday. He also can often be seen as a news correspondent for CNN. Smiley continued to broadcast on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and hosted The Tavis Smiley Show for National Public Radio.
Smiley is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award, NAMIC in 1998. He maintains memberships with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the National Association of Black Journalists, NAACP, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
CLARENCE O. SMITH (1933– ) Magazine Publisher, Businessman
Clarence O. Smith was born on March 31, 1933. As co-founder of Essence Communications Partners, previously Essence Communications, Inc., Smith was once the driving force behind the success of Essence magazine, the company’s premier publication targeted toward African American women. On June 28, 2002, however, Smith officially announced his resignation “to pursue other opportunities in existing and new media projects outside of Essence.” His decision to leave the company marked the end of a 32-year business relationship with Edward T. Lewis, the company’s other founder.
Industry experts speculate that his unexpected departure may be a result of the massive corporate restructuring and major staff changes that have taken place since Essence Communications, Inc. (ECI) merged with Time, Inc., the nation’s largest publisher and a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc., in 2000. Regardless of the reason, what was once considered one of the “most successful marriages in black business” abruptly ended. The dissolution of the Lewis and Smith partnership was even more startling because both of them were recently hailed in the June 2002 issue of Black Enterprise as “Marathon Men,” the management of one of only five companies that have been listed on the BE 100s—the nation’s largest black-owned businesses—since the list’s inception 30 years ago.
Forever “the salesman,” Smith’s uncanny ability to attract high-profile advertisers—the lifeblood of consumer publishing—to the magazine in its early years helped to ensure its future, thus making it the household name it is today. Securing ads in the first few years of the magazine proved to be more daunting than Smith had anticipated. Nevertheless, relying on the skills he had acquired as an insurance salesman at the Prudential Life Insurance Company in the early 1960s—when he joined the company there were only two other black agents—Smith eventually established relationships with prestigious advertisers such as Chanel, Giorgio, and Estee Lauder, an account that took him 22 years to close.
Always on the look out for opportunities that would ensure that the company stayed on the cutting edge of business, Smith was instrumental in leading the company beyond publishing into licensing, direct-mail marketing, and television production. He played a key role in the creation of The Essence Awards, an annual prime-time network special, and in the production of award-winning programs such as Essence, a weekly syndicated magazine and news-service television show. Later, he helped launch Essence-By-Mail, a mail-order catalog catering to African Americans, and Essence Art Reproductions, a company that markets fine art crafted by African American artists.
In the 1990s, Smith and Lewis ventured into other areas of publishing, starting with the acquisition of Income Opportunities, a magazine for people starting new businesses. Three years later, the company entered into a joint venture to publish Latina, the first bilingual lifestyle magazine that addressed the interests of Hispanic women in the United States.
Another major triumph for the company occurred in 1995 when the first Essence Music Festival was held in New Orleans. Now an annual event, the four-day festival drew 160,000 attendees to the Superdome during each of its first three years. Yet in 1996, Smith and Lewis nearly cancelled the festival after Louisiana governor M.J. Foster Jr. announced that he was discontinuing affirmative-action programs throughout the state. Governor Foster eventually agreed to meet with Smith, Lewis, and Hugh B. Price, the president of the National Urban League, to discuss plans. After the meeting, Governor Foster issued a new executive order that offered better career opportunities for minorities in Louisiana.
A vigorous advocate for minority representation in the media, Smith has served as the chairman of the Chicago-based African American Marketing and Media Association and as a founding member of the African American Anti-Defamation Association. As with Lewis, Smith has also been recognized by Black Enterprise magazine throughout his career for his accomplishments, as well as by Ernst & Young with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Although Smith is no longer with Essence Communications Partners, he will be recognized as president emeritus and co-founder of Essence magazine. He will also be credited for generating revenues for the company through the magazine’s advertising and developing the company’s entertainment division. Lewis will assume his duties. Still an active entrepreneur he developed You Entertainment, a music production company in 2005.
THOMAS SOWELL (1930– ) Economist, Professor, Author, Columnist
Since 1980, Thomas Sowell has been the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has also been associated with three other research centers during his career. From 1972 to 1974, he was project director at the Urban Institute; from 1976 to 1977, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; and from 1975 to 1976, he was an adjunct scholar of the American Enterprise Institute.
A prolific writer—his specialties are economics, history, social policy, and ethnicity—Sowell has published over 25 books, as well as numerous articles and essays covering a wide range of topics from classic economic theory to judicial activism to civil rights to immigration to choosing the right college. His writings have also appeared in scholarly journals in economics, law, and other fields.
In the 1990s, his research focused on cultural history in a world perspective, a subject on which he began writing a trilogy in 1982. The trilogy includes Race and Culture (1994), Migrations and Cultures (1996) and Conquests and Cultures (1998). More recently, he published Barbarians Inside the Gates and The Quest for Cosmic Justice in 1999. Detouring from his usual style of writing, in 2002, he released his autobiography, A Personal Odyssey. His recent titles include Black Rednecks and White Liberals, 2004, and Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy in 2007.
As a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate, his column appears in major newspapers throughout the nation. He has also written regular columns for the Scripps-Howard News Service, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Washington Star, Newsweek, Newsday, and Stanford Daily. Typically described as a black conservative, some view his writing as groundbreaking for it strongly favors a free-market economic policy. Others, however, strongly disagree with it because his opinions often conflict with those of the minority population.
Born on June 30, 1930 in North Carolina, Sowell grew up in New York, more precisely, in Harlem. As with many others in his neighborhood, he left home early and did not finish high school. The next few years were challenging, but eventually he joined the Marine Corps and became a photographer in the Korean War. After leaving the service, he entered Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958. From Harvard, he went on to receive his Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1959 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Chicago in 1968. His area of study for each of these degrees was economics.
In the early 1960s, Sowell held jobs as an economist with the Department of Labor and AT&T. Yet, his real interest was in teaching and scholarship and in 1965, he began the first of many professorships at University. His other teaching assignments include Rutgers University, Amherst University, Brandeis University and the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught in the early 1970s and again from 1984 to 1989.
Though Sowell had been a regular contributor to newspapers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he did not begin his career as a newspaper columnist until 1984. Adapting to this style of writing very quickly, he was able to get to the core of issues without the “smoke and mirrors” that so often accompany academic writing.
In 1990, he won the prestigious Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute.
MARTHA JEAN STEINBERG (c.1930-2000) Radio Personality, Broadcasting Executive & Owner, Minister
Always coy about her age, Martha Jean Steinberg, better known as “The Queen,” acquired this regal title from an announcer early in her career. According to her, when she started out in the business in the 1950s, “every black disc jockey had to have a rhyming, stereotyped name.” Although the name was given to her at a time when racism was prevalent in the industry—and under less than desirable conditions—she decided to keep it upon moving to Detroit in the 1960s, thus making it her trademark.
Before she became radio royalty and before she married and divorced a trumpet player named Luther Steinberg, she was Martha Jean Jones of Memphis, Tennessee. Possessing an innate desire to succeed regardless of the circumstances, in 1954, she was hired to work at WDIA-AM in Memphis, a 50,000 watt powerhouse station that blanketed five states. As the first station in the country to air an all black format that included a mix of blues, gospel and black announcers, WDIA-AM became a tremendous hit among black and white listeners, including a young Elvis Presley.
While working at the station, officials noticed Steinberg doing community relations and general work. Based on her outstanding performance in both of these areas, they eventually offered her an on-air job believing she would be a “natural” behind the microphone. Proving them correct, she spoke with supreme authority about her listeners’ lives and feelings. It was a tradition she maintained throughout her 40 plus years in the business. Recognizing her contributions to the industry, which included being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio (she is the only woman honored among the legendary disc jockeys in the exhibit) and the Black Radio Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as being featured in the Radio Smithsonian’s Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was, a documentary on the history of black oriented radio, a landmark now sits in front of WDIA. Her other accomplishments include being honored at the nation’s capitol for her role in black radio; being highlighted in the Radio America series, Passing It On: Voices from Black America’s Past, a program that was broadcasted on over 400 radio stations across the country; and narrating the documentary on Berry Gordy and the early years of the Motown Sound, The Music & The Story for the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Steinberg’s first radio job in Detroit was at WCHB in Inkster, Michigan. She then joined WJLB where her show ruled from 1966–1982. Listening to her show became a must for anybody interested in taking the community’s pulse. During the 1967 riots—or rebellion, as she referred to it—she took to the airwaves for 48 hours straight, acting as a peacekeeper. In 1982, she left WJLB to become the vice president and general manager of WQBH. For 14 years, she nurtured and built WQBH, establishing it as the “voice of the community.” Her mission was “to bridge the gap between the power structure and the forgotten man” through her daily show, which aired from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. During this time, she tripled the value of the station and on May 12, 1997, purchased it for 3.9 million dollars. Continuing to air her show after purchasing the station, Steinberg’s position as a black radio scholar who helped set the guidelines and standards for black radio in America became forever etched in the industry.
While at WQBH, Steinberg experienced a religious conversion and became a self-ordained nondenominational minister. The final outcome of this transformation was the establishment of her own church, the Home of Love, a community center, a low-income housing complex on Detroit’s west side, and the “Queen’s” Community Workers, a group of individuals who aid senior citizens and youth.
Upon her death on January 29, 2000 from an undisclosed illness, mourners throughout the Detroit metropolitan community commented that Steinberg’s greatest gift was her ability to touch the souls of people by offering advice on a full range of human problems. It was a talent that she used on the radio and at her church.
CHUCK STONE (1924– ) Journalist, Educator
Chuck Stone was born in 1924 into a family that initially lived in luxurious surroundings due to his father’s executive position with a hair care company; however, alcoholism resulted in divorce and Stone’s mother moved him and his three younger sisters to Connecticut. After high school, he enrolled in the famed Tuskegee training program for African American bomber pilots during World War II and became a navigator with the U.S. Air Corps. After the war’s end, Stone earned degrees from Wesleyan University and the University of Chicago, and for a time worked with an international development agency in Africa.
In 1959, Stone entered the profession of journalism after being hired at the New York Age, a Harlem paper. Within a short time, he had become its editor, as well as launched a career noted for his outspoken opinions. During the early 1960s, he became the White House correspondent for the Washington Afro-American, for which he often wrote critically of the Kennedy Administration’s lack of progress on civil rights issues.
In 1965, Stone joined the staff of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the controversial Harlem activist who was then serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. When Powell’s political career ended amid charges of misuse of public funds two years later, Stone channeled his feelings of anger toward the white political establishment in the fictional chronicle of Powell, King Strut. It would be Stone’s third book, after the 1968 collection of his newspaper columns, Tell It Like It Is and Black Political Power in America (1970).
Stone became a regular columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News in 1972 and spent the next several years lambasting the city’s corrupt political machinery and heavy-handed police force. Equal in his criticisms unleashed first at the administration of former cop Frank Rizzo, and later at the city’s first African American mayor, Wilson Goode, Stone’s columns—which continued after he became senior editor in 1979—made him both a revered and feared civic personage. In an unusual development, his condemnations of police brutality toward Philadelphia’s African American citizenry often prompted suspects to turn themselves in at the columnist’s home or office first and wait for authorities to arrest them there.
After nearly two decades, Stone resigned from the Philadelphia Daily News to further pursue his career in academia. In 1991, he became the Walter Spearman Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His column continues to be syndicated nationally in over 100 newspapers, and in the spring of 1996, Stone was honored with the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri. He joined an impressive roster of past recipients that included Walter Cronkite and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Stone was also selected to be a torch carrier for the Olympic flame that journeyed across the nation before the opening of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
In August 2004, the National Association of Black Journalists inducted him into their Hall of Fame. Stone retired as a professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 2005.
PIERRE MONTEAU SUTTON (1947– ) Broadcast Executive
Pierre Sutton is president of Inner City Broadcasting Corporation in New York City and president of its radio stations in New York and California. He is the son of Percy E. Sutton, chairman emeritus of the board of Inner City Broadcasting and former borough president of Manhattan. Inner City Broadcasting has several divisions including Inner City Cable, Inner City Artists Management, and Inner City Broadcasting Corporation-Television (ICBC-TV). ICBC-TV produces Showtime at the Apollo, Apollo Comedy Hour, and New Music Report.
Pierre Sutton was born in New York City on February 1, 1947. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toledo in 1968. Sutton began his career in 1971 as vice president of Inner City Research and Analysis Corporation, became executive editor of the New York Courier newspaper from 1971–1972, later served a public affairs director for WLIB radio from 1972 to 1975, was promoted to vice president of Inner City Broadcasting from 1975 to 1977, and eventually became president in 1977. In 1998, Inner City was ranked 40th on Black Enterprise’s top 100 industrial/service companies; in 2002 it ranked 58th. In 2004, Inner City, also with other African American broadcasting companies, still complained about the difficulty they had getting broadcasting dollars.
He has served as a board member of the Minority Investment Fund, first vice president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, chairman of the Harlem Boy Scouts, member of the board and executive committee of the New York City Marathon, trustee of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, board member of the Better Business Bureau of Harlem, and member of the board of the Hayden Planetarium.
SUSAN L. TAYLOR (1946– ) Editor
Susan Taylor was born in New York City on January 23, 1946, and received a bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University. Since 1980, Susan Taylor has been editor-in-chief of Essence, a magazine established in 1970 for African American women. The publication has a monthly circulation of one million and a readership of 7.6 million—29 percent of which is male.
A former actress, cosmetologist, and founder of her own cosmetics company, Nequai Cosmetics, Taylor began her relationship with Essence magazine as a freelance writer. In 1971, she became the magazine’s beauty and fashion editor. She held this position until 1980. Taylor, as editor-in-chief, is also executive coordinator of Essence Communications, Inc. (ECI). ECI is a major investor in Amistad Press, an African American-owned book publishing company. The company also has a
licensing division that includes Essence Hosery, Essence Eyewear, and Essence Collection by Butterick. Essence Art Reproductions, a distributor of fine art created by African American artists; Essence Television Productions, Inc., producer of the Essence Awards, an annual salute to distinguished African Americans; and the Essence Music Festival, a three-day festival of cultural celebrations and empowerment seminars, also fall under the ECI umbrella.
Taylor is author of the “In the Spirit” column in Essence magazine. In 1993, she wrote a book entitled In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor, a collection of inspirational essays named for and taken from her monthly Essence column. In the Spirit has sold over 350,000 copies since its publication. Her most recent book is Lessons in Living. In 1999, Taylor became the first African-American woman to receive The Henry Johnson Fisher Award, for lifetime achievement in the magazine industry, from Magazine Publishers of America. She received an even more prestigious honor in 2002 when she was inducted to the Magazine Editor’s Hall of Fame by the American Society of Magazine Editors. Most recently Taylor has been focusing her attention on the Essence Cares initiative. She launched this call to action to the African American community at the 2006 Essence Music Festival. It is a massive mentoring campaign that asks every able adult and our leadership—elected and appointed officials, educators, business, religious and secular leaders and college students—to rally their communities to guide children who need help. The goal is to create the largest mentoring campaign in the history of the nation and increase high school graduation rates among African American students by 10 percent annually.
LEMUEL TUCKER (1938–1991) Television News Correspondent
Born in 1938 in Saginaw, Michigan, Lemuel Tucker was a graduate of Central Michigan University. Tucker worked as a Washington bureau correspondent for CBS news from 1977 until 1988. Prior to that he was with ABC News as New York City correspondent, from 1972 until 1977. From 1965 through 1972, Tucker was with NBC News where he served for some of that time as assistant bureau chief in Vietnam. He was awarded an Emmy for his reporting on hunger in the United States, a series of seven reports broadcast during 1968 and 1969. He died in March of 1991 in Washington, D.C.
MONTEL WILLIAMS (1956– ) Talk Show Host
A former naval intelligence officer who first gained prominence delivering highly charged, popular motivational speeches to millions of children around the country, Montel Williams is now a talk show host with a non-traditional background. He began his professional career in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1974. In 1976, Williams became the first African American to attend the prestigious Naval Academy Prep School. At Annapolis, he studied Mandarin Chinese and graduated with a degree in general engineering. He has won numerous awards and distinctions over the course of his long and varied naval career including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals.
In 1988, Williams began informally counseling the wives and families of the servicemen in his command. He was later asked to speak to a local group of kids in Kansas City, Missouri, about the importance of leadership and overcoming obstacles. Thus, began his career in motivational speaking. His daily, hour-long talk show, the Montel Williams Show, was in its twelfth season in 2002.
Williams’s commitment to making a difference resulted in finding solutions to problems by tackling them. Through several episodes in 1997, his show stressed the importance of AIDS education in communities across the country. As a result of the show’s ongoing coverage of the AIDS epidemic, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy invited Williams to produce several public service announcements on AIDS prevention. In addition, his After-Care Program arranges for guests to attend psychological treatment, motivational camps, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and treatment for eating disorders.
In 1999, Williams shocked the broadcasting world by revealing that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He vowed to continue to host his talk show in order to be a role model for others with multiple sclerosis and also wanted to use his show to make people aware of the disease as well. He also started the Montel Williams MS Foundation in 1999 to raise money to combat the disease. Williams was in the news again in 2000 when he helped save a 16-year-old boy whose car crashed and burst into flames in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Williams made the teen a splint from tree branches and a belt, then carried him to safety.
A recipient of several daytime Emmy awards—the most recent in 1996 for outstanding talk show host—the Montel Williams Show has been honored with several humanitarian awards. The Entertainment Industry Council, Inc. and the National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health presented the show with a PRISM Commendation for the episode “What Parents Need to Know about Teens and Drugs.” The foundation of American Women in Radio and Television granted the show an honorable mention Gracie Award in recognition for excellence in programming for the positive and realistic portrayal of women. The show also received the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award for the episode “Teenagers Living with AIDS” and the Silver Angel Award for the episode “The Life and Times of Mother Theresa.” In 2002, Williams received the first-ever Man of Courage Award at the 7th Annual Race to Erase MS in Los Angeles. His show continues to air controversial topics. Williams made a quick cameo at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards on August 31, 2006, where he was introduced as the godfather of daytime television.
JUAN WILLIAMS (1954– ) Television and radio news correspondent, journalist
Born in Panama, Juan Williams, a graduate of Haverford College, joined FOX News in 1997 as a political contributor. He is a panelist on Fox Broadcasting’s Sunday morning public affairs program, FOX News Sunday with Tony Snow. In addition, Williams anchors weekend daytime live coverage on the FOX News Channel. Before coming to FOX, Williams spent 23 years at The Washington Post, where he served as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist and White House correspondent. From 2000-2001, Williams hosted National Public Radio’s (NPR) national call-in show Talk of the Nation. In that role, he traveled to cities across America for monthly radio town hall meetings before live audiences. Williams is currently a senior national correspondent for NPR.
The recipient of an Emmy Award for television documentary writing, Williams also won widespread critical acclaim for a series of documentaries including, Politics—The New Black Power, and A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom. He is the author of the non-fiction bestseller, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 and Thurgood Marshall—American Revolutionary. Williams has also written numerous articles for national magazines including Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, Ebony, GQ, and The New Republic, in addition to appearing on numerous television programs including ABC’s Nightline, PBS’s Washington Week in Review and Oprah. His 2006 book Enough! The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—And What We Can Do About It had led to much spirited debate about the state of African Americans.
OPRAH WINFREY (1954– ) Television Talk Show Host, Actress, Producer
Oprah Winfrey’s rise to fame is an inspiring tale. She was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her name was supposed to have been “Orpah” after a biblical figure in the book of Ruth; sources vary as to the origin of the misspelling.
Winfrey was a precocious child who asked her kindergarten teacher to advance her to a higher grade. Her parents, who were not married, separated when she was very young and sent her to live with her grandparents. At the age of six, Winfrey sent to Milwaukee to live with her mother. From the time that she was nine years old, she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of male family members and acquaintances; these events, which she did not discuss publicly until the 1980s, have had a profound effect on her life.
When she was 14 years old, Winfrey went to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee, and it was there that she got her life back on track. Her father insisted on hard work and discipline as a means of self-improvement, and Winfrey complied, winning a college scholarship that allowed her to attend Tennessee State University. In 1971, she began working part-time as a radio announcer for WVOL in Nashville. Two years later, she became a reporter at WTVF-TV in Nashville. From 1976 to 1983, she lived in Baltimore, working for the ABC affiliate WJZ-TV, progressing from news anchor to co-host of the popular show People Are Talking. In 1984, she moved to Chicago and took over the ailing morning show A.M. Chicago. By September of the next year, the show was so successful that it was expanded to an hour format and renamed the Oprah Winfrey Show. Now in syndication across the nationally and internationally, the Oprah Winfrey Show is one of the most popular television programs in history. In 1986, Oprah founded Harpo, Inc., her own production company (“Harpo” is “Oprah” spelled backwards). As such, she is the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated weekday show, own and produce her own television show, and own a film and a television production company.
A talented actress, Winfrey has appeared in the motion pictures The Color Purple (1985), Native Son (1986), and Beloved (1998). She has also appeared in the television movies The Women of Brewster Place (1989), There Are No Children Here (1993), Before Women Had Wings (1997), and Beloved (1998). As a producer, Winfrey has presented several television and movie specials, most notably David and Lisa (1998). The Wedding (1998), and Beloved (1998), all based on novels.
As a former victim of child abuse, Winfrey is a strong advocate of children’s rights. When she heard the tragic story of a four-year-old Chicago girl’s molestation and murder, she proposed federal child protection legislation designed to keep nationwide records on convicted child abusers. Her efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children came to fruition on December 20, 1993, when President Clinton signed the “Oprah Bill,” a law designed to protect children from abuse.
The Oprah Winfrey Show continues to be the number one talk show on the air and broadcasts in over 130 international territories. It was recently renewed through the year 2004 in over 99 percent of the country, including the top ten markets. Reaching more than 20 million homes a day, the show continued to enlighten, educate, and entertain viewers. In 1998, the show unveiled a new set; premiered a new theme song, “Run on with Oprah” performed by Winfrey herself; and embarked on a new type of programming called “Change Your Life TV,” designed to inspire viewers to make small adjustments so that they can create big results in their lives. In the spirit of her “Change Your Life TV” programming, she recently launched a Web site to empower viewers by enabling them to access the experts and use the information and advice offered on the show.
Famous for her candor, forthrightness, and willingness to go the distance, Winfrey successfully won a $12 million slander suit brought against her by Texas cattlemen in 1998. The cattlemen took Winfrey to court over a 1996 show in which one of her guests, an anti-meat activist, suggested that American beef industry practices could cause BSE, or mad cow disease. The cattlemen claimed that because of her influence with viewers, beef prices immediately slumped to a ten-year low. The jury of eight women and four men deliberated close to six hours before rejecting all claims brought by the cattlemen.
In 1998, Winfrey expanded her career to include cable network executive when she launched the Oxygen network, a cable network devoted to women and women’s issues. In 2000, she also became a magazine publisher as O, The Oprah Magazine hit the newsstands. In 2002, Winfrey’s famous book club, started in 1994, came to an end with its 45th and final selection, Sula by Toni Morrison.
Winfrey continued to win awards for her work in television and film. Accomplishments include receipt of the Horatio Alger Award in 1993 and induction into the Television Hall of Fame in 1994. At the end of the 1995 1996 television season, she received the George Foster Peabody Individual Achievement Award, one of broadcasting’s most coveted honors. She was named among “America’s 25 Most Influential People of 1996” by Time magazine and favorite female television performer at the 1997 and 1998 People’s Choice Awards. In 1999, she received the National Book Foundation’s 50th anniversary Gold Medal, and in 2001 she was named Newsweek magazine’s “Woman of the Century.” Winfrey has also been honored with seven Emmy awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host and nine for Outstanding Talk Show. In 2002 Fortune magazine ranked her the tenth most powerful African American executive; Savoy considered her the most powerful African American in the media. By 2004 Forbes and Black Enterprise magazines listed Winfrey as the first African American women billionaire.
Booker T. Washington Broadcasting
Kirkwood Balton, President
WENN-FM (Urban Contemporary)
P.O. Box 697
Birmingham, AL 35201
Birmingham Ebony Broadcasting
Shelley Stewart & Erskine R. Faush
WATV-AM (Urban Contemporary)
3025 Ensley Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35208
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
836 Lomb Avenue, SW
Birmingham, AL 35211
Huntley Batts, Sr., President
WEUP-AM (Black Contemporary)
2609 Jordan Lane, NW
Huntsville, AL 35806
Muscle Shoals Broadcasting
Bob Carl Bailey, President
WTQX-AM (Black Contemporary)
1 Valley Creek Circle
Selma, AL 36701
Muscle Shoals Broadcasting
Bob Carl Bailey, President
WZZA-AM (Black Contemporary/Gospel)
1570 Woodmont Drive
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
All Channel TV Service & New World Communications, Inc.
George H. Clay, President
WBIL-AM/FM (Black Contemporary)
P.O. Box 666
Tuskegee, AL 36083-0666
J & W Promotions, Inc.
Johnny Roland, President
WAPZ-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
2821 US Highway 231
Wutumpka, AL 36092
Loretta Lever, President
KYFX-FM (Adult Contemporary)
610 Plaza West Bldg
Little Rock, AR 72205
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
KLRG-AM (Gospel) KMZX-FM (Urban Contemporary)
200 Arch Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
West Helena Broadcasting, Inc.
Alford Billingsley, President
KCLT-FM (Black Contemporary)
700 Martin Luther King Drive West Suite 2
West Helena, AR 72390
Simms & Simms Communications
Raymond Simms, President
KAKJ-FM (Black Contemporary)
Highway 1 North
Marianna, AR 72360
Inner City Broadcasting Corp.
Pierre M. Sutton, President
KBLX-AM/FM (Adult Contemporary)
601 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94710
Tulare Lite Corporation
Irene Beristain, President
KOJJ-FM (Adult Contemporary)
165 North D Street
Suite 3-4 East
Porterville, CA 93257
Goodwill Broadcasting Co.
John Pembroke, President
KJOP-AM (Hispanic Country)
15279 Hanford Armona Road
Lemoore, CA 93245
Taxi Productions, Inc.
Steveland Morris (Wonder), President
KJLH-FM (Urban Contemporary)
3847 Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008
William Shearer, President
KGFJ-AM (Black Contemporary)
1100 S. LaBrea
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Ellihue Harris & Willie Brown
KDIA-AM (Urban Contemporary)
384 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA 94601
N. John Douglas, President
KMAX-FM (Religious, Ethnic)
KWIZ-FM (Christian) 3350 Electronic Drive
Pasadena, CA 91107
N. John Douglas, President
KEST-AM (Asian/European International)
185 Berry Street,
San Francisco, CA 94107
All Pro Broadcasting, Inc.
Willie D. Davis, President
KCKC-AM (News, Talk)
KAEV-FM (Urban Contemporary)
740 West Fourth Street
San Bernadino, CA 92410
W. Don Cornwell, President
KNTV-TV Channel 11
645 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110
Marty Edelman, President
KSEE-TV Channel 24
5035 East McKinley Avenue
Fresno, CA 93726
People’s Wireless, Inc.
James Walker, President
KDKO-AM (Black Contemporary)
2559 Welton Street
Denver, CO 80205
John Merchant, President
WKND-AM (Black Contemporary)
P.O. Box 1480
Windsor, CT 06095
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Skip Finley, President/General Manager
WKYS-FM (Urban Contemporary)
4001 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
Almic Broadcasting Co.
Cathy Hughes, President
WOL-AM (News, Talk)
WMMJ-FM (Black Soul)
400 H Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
James Watkins Howard University Radio
WHUR-FM (Black Contemporary)
529 Bryant Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059
Sunao Broadcasting Co., Inc.
Jerry Rushin, President & General Manager
WRBD-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
4431 Rock Island Road Ft.
Lauderdale, FL 33319
Bishop L.E. Willis, President
4343 Springgrove Street
Jacksonville, FL 32209
Charles Cherry PSI Communications, Inc.
WPUL-AM (Black Contemporary)
2598 South Nova Road
S. Daytona, FL 32121
Gene E. Danzey, President
WRXB-AM (Adult Contemporary)
1700 34th Street
Petersburg, FL 33711
WTMP Radio LTD
WTMP-AM (Urban Contemporary)
5207 Washington Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33619
Black Star Communications of Florida, Inc.
John E. Oxendine, President
WBSF-TV Channel 43
4450-L Enterprise Court
Melbourne, FL 32934
Keys Communications Group, Inc.
Brady Keys, Jr., President
WJIZ-FM (Solid Gold)
506 West Olgethorpe Blvd.
Albany, GA 31701
Keys Communications Group, Inc.
Brady Keys, Jr., President
WJYZ-AM (Oldies, Gospel)
2700 North Slappey Blvd.
Albany, GA 31707
Davis Broadcasting, Inc.
Gregory A. Davis, President
WOKS-AM (Black Contemporary)
WFXE-FM (Urban Contemporary)
P.O. Box 1998
Columbus, GA 31902
Radio Cordele, Inc.
John Brooks, President
P.O. Box 4606
Cordele, GA 31015
John Brooks, President
P.O. Box 346
Statesboro, GA 30458
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
2146 Dodson Drive
East Point, GA 30344
InterUrban Broadcasting Corp.
Thomas P. Lewis, President
WIZA-AM (Christian Gospel)
1601 Whitaker Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Brown Broadcasting System Inc.
Bradford Brown, President
548 Hawthorn Avenue
Athens, GA 30606
Russell Rowe Communications
Herman J. Russell, President
WGXA-TV Channel 24
P.O. Box 340
Macon, GA 31297
Midway Broadcasting Corp.
Wesley W. South, President
3350 S. Kedzie Avenue
Chicago. IL 60623
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
149 South 8th Street
East St. Louis, IL 62201
Mariner Broadcasters, Inc.
Charles R. Sherrell, President
15700 Campbell Street
Harvey, IL 60426
LH &S Communications
Howard Q. Murphy, President
WSSQ-FM (Adult Contemporary)
WZZT-FM (Urban Contemporary)
3101 Freeport Road
Sterling, IL 61081
B&G Broadcasting, Inc.
Joyce Banks, President
WBGE-FM (Urban Contemporary)
516 W. Main Street
Peoria, IL 61606
Granite Broadcasting, Inc.
W. Don Cornwell, President
WEEK-TV Channel 25
2907 Springfield Road
E. Peoria, IL 61611
Jovon Broadcasting, Inc.
Joseph Stroud, President
WJYS-TV Channel 62
18600 S. Oak Park
Tinley Park, IL 60477
Marshall Media Group
Pluria Marshall Jr., President
Gary, IN 46409
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
WPZZ-FM (Urban Contemporary)
645 Industrial Drive
Franklin, IN 46205
Focus Radio inc.
Abe Thompson, President
WUBU-FM (Adult Urban Contemporary)
3371 Cleveland Road
Extension Southbend, IN 46628
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
Gary, IN 46402
Linda Johnson-Rice, President
WLOU-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
2549 S. Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208
Citywide Broadcasting Corp.
Peter Moncrieffe, President
WXOK-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
KQXL-FM (Urban Contemporary)
7707 Waco Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Trinity Broadcasting Corp.
Gus E. Lewis, President
KBCE-FM (Urban Contemporary)
P.O. Box 69
Boyce, LA 71409
R & M Broadcasting
Bishop Roy L.H. Winbush, President
KJCB-AM (Black Contemporary)
413 Jefferson Street
Lafayette, LA 70501
James Snowden, President
WYLD-AM/FM (Urban Contemporary)
2228 Gravier Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
1639 Gentilly Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70119
Al J. Wallace
Citywide Broadcasting of Lafayette, Inc.
KFXZ-FM (Urban Contemporary)
3225 Ambassador Caffery Parkway
Lafayette, LA 70506
James Buckner, Chairman
WVII-TV Channel 7
371 Target Industrial Circle
Bangor, ME 04401
Almic Broadcasting, Inc.
Cathy Hughes, President
WERQ-AM/FM (Urban Contemporary)
1111 Park Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21201
Almic Broadcasting, Inc.
Cathy Hughes, President
WWIN-AM/FM (Urban Contemporary)
200 S. President Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Bernadine Nash, President
WILD-AM (Urban Contemporary)
90 Warren Street
Boston, MA 02119
Bell Broadcasting Co.
Terry Arnold, President
WJZZ-FM (Contemporary Jazz)
2994 E. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48202
George Matthews, President
WGPR-FM (Black Contemporary)
3146 E. Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48207
Waters Broadcasting Corp.
Nancy Waters, President
WCXT-FM (Light Mix Contemporary)
220 Polk Road
Hart, MI 49420
Bell Broadcasting Co.
Terry Arnold, President
WCHB-AM (News, Talk)
32790 Henry Ruff Road
Inkster, MI 48141
Richard Culpepper, President
WKWM-AM (Urban Contemporary)
P.O. Box 828
Kentwood, MI 49518
Diamond Broadcasters, Inc.
Helena DeBose, President
WXLA-AM (Urban Contemporary)
101 N. Crest Road
Lansing, MI 48906
Ragan Henry Communications
Don Kidwell, President
850 Stephenson Highway
Troy, MI 48083
Michael Shumpert, President
WOWE-FM (Adult Contemporary)
100 S. Main Street
Vassar, MI 48768
John E. Oxendine, President
WBSX-TV Channel 31
P.O. Box 2267
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
George Matthews, President
WGPR-TV Channel 62
3146 E. Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48207
Lansing 53, Inc.
Joel Ferguson, President
WLAJ-TV Channel 53
5815 S. Pennsylvania Avenue
Lansing, MI 48909
Granite Broadcasting Corp.
W. Don Cornwell, President
KBJR-TV Channel 6
230 E. Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
T & W Communications
Bennie Turner, President
WACR-AM/FM (Urban Contemporary)
1910 14th Avenue
Columbus, MS 39701
William Jackson, President
WESY-AM (Gospel and Soul)
WBAD-FM (Black Contemporary)
P.O. Box 4426
Greenville, MS 38704
Team Broadcasting Co., Inc.
Ruben C. Hughes, President
WGNL-FM (Urban Contemporary)
503 Ione Street
Greenwood, MS 38930
Circuit Broadcasting Co.
Vernon C. Floyd, President
WORV-AM (Black Contemporary)
WJMG-FM (Adult Contemporary)
1204 Graveline Street
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Frank E. Melton, President
WLBT-TV Channel 3
715 S. Jefferson Street
Jackson, MS 39202
US Radio, LP
Ragan Henry, President
10841 East 28th Street
Independence, MO 64052
Carter Broadcasting Group, Inc.Corp.
Michael Carter, President
KPRT-AM (Gospel, Jazz)
KPRS-FM (Urban Contemporary)
11131 Colorado Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64137
Bronco Broadcasting Co. Inc.
Bill White, President
KIRL-AM (Jazz, Religious, Talk)
3713 Highway 94 North St.
Charles, MO 63301
Roberts Broadcasting Company
WHSL-TV Channel 46
1408 N. Kingshighway St.
Louis, MO 53113
WUSS-AM (Urban Contemporary)
James Cuffee, President
1507 Atlantic Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Vinrah of New Jersey, Inc.
Ragan Henry, President
WCMC-AM (Album Oriented Rock)
WZXL-FM (Album Oriented Rock)
3010 New Jersey Avenue
Wildwood, NJ 08260
Sheridan Broadcasting Corp
Ronald R. Davenport, President
WUFO-AM (Urban Contemporary)
89 LaSalle Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
Pierre M. Sutton
Inner City Broadcasting
Corp of New York
WLIB-AM (News, Talk)
WBLS-FM (Urban Contemporary)
3 Park Avenue
40th & 41st Floors
New York, NY 10017
Monroe County Broadcasting Co.
Andrew A. Langston, President
WDKX-FM (Urban Contemporary)
683 E. Main Street
Rochester, NY 14605
Unity Broadcasting Network/New York
41-30 58th Street
Woodside, NY 11377
Bill Ransom, President
WTVH-TV Channel 5
980 James Street
Syracuse, NY 13203
American Urban Radio Network
Jack Bryant, President
463 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Ebony Enterprises, Inc.
Willie Walls, President
WVOE-AM (Urban Contemporary)
Route 3, Box 39B
Chadbourn, NC 28431
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
2730 Rozzelles Berry Road
Charlotte, NC 28208
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
3202 Guess Road
Durham, NC 27705
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
P.O. Box 765
Edenton, NC 27932
US Radio, LP
WQOK-FM (Urban Contemporary)
8601 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
Special Markets Media, Inc.
Henry & Prentiss Monroe
WLLE-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
649 Maywood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27603
Northstar Broadcasting Corp.
Charles O. Johnson, President
WRSV-FM (Urban Contemporary)
P.O. Box 2666
Rocky Mount, NC 27802
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
P.O. Box 1920
726 Salem Street
Thomasville, NC 27360
Evans Broadcasting Corp.
Mutter D. Evans, President
WAAA-AM (Black Contemporary)
P.O. Box 11197
4950 Indiana Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27116
Bishop S.D. Johnson, President
500 Kinnard Street
P.O. Box 16056
Winston-Salem, NC 27115
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
93 Salem Valley Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27102
Leodis Harris, President
WCER-AM (Adult Mix)
4537 22nd Street, N.W.
Canton, OH 44708
Thomas P. Lewis, President
WIZF-FM (Urban Contemporary)
7030 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45237
Junior Broadcasting Inc.
John C. Thomas, President
WCIN-AM (Black Contemporary)
106 Glenwood Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45217
Ragan Henry Communications, LP
Ragan Henry, President
WRZR-FM (Hard Rock)
1150 Morse Road
Columbus, OH 43229
Jim Johnson, General Manager/President
WDAO-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
4309 W. 3rd Street
Dayton, OH 45417
Taylor Broadcasting Co.
James Taylor, President
WJTB-AM (Urban Contemporary)
105 Lake Avenue
Elyria, OH 44035 Road
John E. Oxendine, President
KBSP-TV Channel 22
4928 Indian School Road, NE
Salem, OR 97305
KBT Communications, Inc.
Cody Anderson, President
2471 North 54th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
5301 Tacony Street
Philadelphia, PA 19137
Ronald R. Davenport Sheridan Broadcasting Corp.
WAMO-AM/FM (Urban Contemporary)
411 Seventh Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
US Radio, LP
Ragan Henry, President
WRAW-AM (Urban Contemporary)
WRFY-FM (Urban Contemporary)
1265 Perkiomen Avenue
Reading, PA 19602
Eddie Edwards, President
WPTT-TV Channel 22
P.O. Box 2809
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
Vivian Broadcasting, Inc.
Vivian M. Galloway, President
806 Monson Street
Beaufort, SC 29902
Midland Communications Co.
Issac Heyward, President
1303 State Street
Cayce, SC 29033
Cliff Fletcher, President
WWWZ-FM (Urban Contemporary)
Charleston, SC 29417
William Saunders, President
WPAL-AM (Rhythm & Blues)
1717 Wappoo Road
P.O. Box 30999
Charleston, SC 29417
Berkeley Broadcasting Corp.
Clary Butler, President
314 Rembert Dennis Blvd.
Monks Corner, SC 29461
Johnny & Opal Shaw, Owners
Bolivar, TN 38008
James E. Wolfe, Jr., President
WFKX-FM (Urban Contemporary)
P.O. Box 2763
Jackson, TN 38302-2763
Art Gilliam, President
P.O. Box 69
Memphis, TN 38101
Ragan Henry Communications, LP
Ragan Henry, President
WDIA-AM (Urban Contemporary)
WHRK-FM (Urban Contemporary)
112 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
Babb Broadcasting Co.
Morgan Babb, President
WMDB-AM (Urban Contemporary)
3051 Stokers Lane
Nashville, TN 37218
Phoenix of Nashville, Inc.
Samuel Howard, President
WVOL-AM (Classic Soul)
WQQK-FM (Urban Contemporary)
1320 Brick Church Pike
Nashville, TN 37207
Salt of the Earth Broadcasting
Darrell E. Martin, President
4638 Decker Drive
Baytown, TX 77520
Network Communications Co.
Ruth Ollison, President
Daingerfield, TX 75638
US Radio, LP
Don Kidwell, President
2419 N. Piedras Street
El Paso, TX 79930
Marshall Media Group
Pluria Marshall, Jr., President
KHRN-FM (Urban Contemporary)
219 N. Main Street
Bryan, TX 77803
Mike Petrizzo KCOH, Inc. KCOH-AM (Urban Contemporary)
5011 Almeda Road
Houston, TX 77004
Ragan Henry US Radio, LP KKZR-FM (Rock)
6161 Savoy Street
Houston, TX 77036
Ragan Henry US Radio, LP KJOJ-FM (Gospel)
304 Flag Lake Drive
Lake Jackson, TX 77566
Inner City Broadcasting
Pierre Sutton, President
KSJL-AM (Urban Contemporary)
KSAQ-FM (Urban Contemporary)
217 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, TX 78205
Frank E. Melton, President
KTRE-TV Channel 9
P.O. Box 729
Lufkin, TX 75902
Frank E. Melton, President
KLTV-TV Channel 7
P.O. Box 957
Tyler, TX 75710
US Radio II, Inc.
Ragan Henry, President
KUMT-FM (Adult Contemporary)
KMXB-FM (Adult Contemporary)
KCPX-AM (Adult Contemporary)
5282 S. 320 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Broadcasting Corp. of Virginia
Eric Reynolds, President
553 Michigan Drive
Hampton, VA 23669
US Radio, LP
Ragan Henry, President
WOWI-FM (Urban Contemporary)
WSVY-AM/FM (Urban Contemporary)
645 Church Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Walton Belle and Charles Cummings, Owners
6001 Wilkinson Road
Richmond, VA 23227
Tri-City Christian Radio, Inc.
James I. Johnson Jr., President
WFTH-AM (Contemporary Gospel)
227 Eastbelt Blvd.
Richmond, VA 23224
Willis Broadcasting Co.
Bishop L. E. Willis, President
645 Church Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Samuel Corruth Tidewater Christian Communications Corp.
WJCB-TV Channel 49
2501 Washington Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607
KUJ Ltd. Partnership
Patrick Prout, President/General
Partner KUJ-AM (Oldies)
KNLT-FM (Adult Contemporary)
Route 5 Box 513
Walla Walla, WA 99362
All Pro Broadcasting Co.
Willie D. Davis, President
WMCS-AM (Adult Contemporary)
WLUM-FM (Adult Contemporary)
4222 W. Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53216
Gerald W. Jones, President
WNOV-AM (Urban Contemporary)
3815 N. Teutonia Avenue
P.O. Box 0638
Milwaukee, WI 53206
UNC Media of Milwaukee
Constance Balthrop, President
2400 S. 102nd Street
West Allis, WI 53227
James Buckner Seaway Communications
WJFW-TV Channel 12
S. Oneida Avenue
Rhinelander, WI 54501
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
Family Broadcasting, Inc.
Luz A. James, President
WSTX-AM/FM (Calypso, Stardust)
P.O. Box 3279
Christiansted, St. Croix 00822
Ottley Communications Corp.
Athneil Ottley, President
WSTA-AM (Adult Contemporary)
St. Thomas, V.I. 00804
Trans Caribbean Broadcasting Co.
Kervin Clenace, President
WTBN-FM (Adult Contemporary)
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"Media." African American Almanac. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media-0
"Media." African American Almanac. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media-0
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
The term media refers to two related entities. It is a general term for the various material and instrumental means through which ideas are expressed, including everything from paint, film, musical instruments, digital files, and architecture to language, images, sculpture, and sound. It is also a general term for the various organizations through which ideas are transmitted publicly, such as radio, television, cinema, and the Internet. Media productions of both types can be deployed to express eroticism and sexuality, and both have been the objects of censorship and repression since the growing influence of Christianity in Rome during the second and third centuries.
Censorship of individual works of art has occurred on the basis of whether the ideas they express contravene public notions of decency, which refer primarily to issues of obscenity. Notions of decency change through history and from culture to culture. The asceticism of early Christians, which dominated European cultures through the Middle Ages (467–1350), began to change during the Renaissance (1350–1600). From the time of the Renaissance, media produced and owned by wealthy private individuals became less the object of official censorship, although work produced for distribution among common people was still subject to a stricter scrutiny. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, artists began to struggle with the occasionally repressive censorship of governments, but the range of permissible expression gradually began to open up. The standards by which artistic creations such as novels and paintings were deemed to be obscene relaxed from the zealous enforcement of obscenity laws in the nineteenth century to a more liberal understanding of aesthetics that began in the United States with the obscenity trial of Théophile Gautier's Mademoiselle de Maupin in 1922 and continued through the middle of the twentieth century when censorship of works deemed to be primarily aesthetic ceased. Various interest groups still battle over what should be seen on public media such as television. Considerations about what might constitute obscenity and decency reflect a balance of a culture's attitudes about the value of free speech and aesthetic expression on one hand, and in relation to what a culture imagines are the effects of seeing representations on the other.
As a public mode for the transmission of ideas, media remains a focus for control and censorship. Because such media organizations as television, movies, and the Internet are seen as powerful forces affecting the ways individuals—and especially children—view the world, their content garners more attention and limitation than literature or high art. The impetus to control media representations derives from the belief that realistic images wield particular power. The rationale for the Motion Picture Production Code, adopted in 1930, states that "A book describes; a film vividly presents." The difference between description and presentation was understood to affect the imagination, viewers being less likely to filter the realistic images of cinema. Control of media is also motivated by media's increasing ubiquity within cultures and throughout the world.
FILM AND THE PRODUCTION CODE
Although censorship of print texts had existed long before the advent of photography in 1839 and cinema in 1895, the potential for widely disseminated realistic images of sexuality elicited increased scrutiny of photographic media. The invention of photographic techniques that enabled easy reproduction of photographs, such as postcards or in aesthetic journals, prompted the censors' focus on photographs. The rising influence of the film industry through the first thirty years of the twentieth century catalyzed growing discomfort with cinema content. In cinema's early years, when film audiences were mainly composed of the working class, civic leaders resisted any official censorship of cinema, seeing such censorship as class oppression. There was, however, pressure to keep films decent, which meant that films rewarded virtue, punished vice, and avoided depicting debauchery of all kinds.
After World War I, as mores relaxed and the power of Hollywood grew, some of the public blamed the movie industry itself for promulgating increasingly lax moral standards. Legislation was introduced in thirty-seven states proposing movie censorship. To forestall such governmental censorship, motion picture studios and distributors formed the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) in 1922. They hired the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Will H. Hays, to oversee efforts to blunt criticism and to launch a public relations campaign that would assure the public that the film industry was taking a responsible attitude toward its content. After studying the specific plaints proposed in censorship legislation, the MPPDA came up with a list of topics that should never appear in cinema, such as "white slavery, miscegenation, sexual perversion, and ridicule of the clergy," and other topics about which film makers should be careful, such as "arson, murder techniques, rape, first-night scenes, the use of drugs, and excessive and lustful kissing" (Balio 1985, p. 268). Compliance with this list was voluntary.
For some, however, voluntary compliance with the list was insufficient, so the publisher of the Motion Picture Herald, Martin Quigley, collaborated with Daniel Lord, a Catholic priest, to produce a more definitive code, called the Motion Picture Production Code, which was adopted by the MPPDA in 1930. Members of the MPPDA monitored compliance with the code throughout the stages of film production. Falling movie attendance, however, motivated some studios to begin to ignore the code, a move decried by the Catholic Church, which formed the very influential Legion of Decency in 1933. Pressuring studios by threatening economic boycotts, the Legion of Decency forced the MPPDA to revise the Production Code in 1934. Compliance with the code was allocated to a committee, under the direction of Joseph Breen, which would review and approve all scripts and fine the producers of those films made without approval.
The revised Production Code continued the pressure on the studios to produce films with redeeming moral content yet without necessarily enabling any realistic portrayal of social problems or sexual relations. The code provided generally that films not "lower the moral standards" of their viewers by not sympathizing with criminals and by not providing detailed or graphic presentations of murders or other crimes. It required that "the sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home" be upheld, which meant no overt depiction of adultery; no gratuitous sexual scenes; no "excessive or lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures"; no "sexual perversion," "miscegenation," "white slavery," "child birth," or "sexual hygiene"; no "vulgarity," "obscenity," or "profanity"; no "nudity" or "indecent exposure"; and no "dance suggesting or representing sexual actions or indecent passions." In addition films could not make fun of or vilify clergymen. Various interpretations of the code resulted in unrealistic portrayals of married life and sexuality, especially the convention of a married couple occupying twin beds, or the notion that in all love scenes the actors must each have one foot on the floor.
Of course, studios had always found ways around the Production Code, particularly by developing their own conventions for portraying extramarital sexual relations and adultery. They may not have actually depicted adulterous scenes of romance, but films suggested such activities through their plots. For instance, the plot of The Women (1939) depends entirely on a husband's extramarital affair. Films in the genre of film noir found ways to imply dark criminal behaviors by protagonists, as in, for example, Double Indemnity (1944).
By the 1950s the conditions that had forced studio acceptance of the Production Code had disappeared. The Legion of Decency no longer represented an economic threat, foreign films that ignored the code were imported and shown in the United States, and the mores of culture had relaxed enough to permit some filmmakers, such as Otto Preminger, to ignore the code altogether, which he did first in The Moon Is Blue, a 1953 film that by early-twenty-first-century standards appears to be boringly innocent. By the late 1950s studios were ignoring code provisions about vulgarity, profanity, and adultery.
By the 1960s the Production Code was no longer enforceable. Films were released without approval. To retain some sense of control and fend off any threat of government censorship, the Motion Picture Association of America (the former MPPDA) instituted a rating system in 1968. Its four ratings—G, M, R, and X—classed films according to their levels of explicit sexuality and violence. The general principle of the rating system has remained since 1968, though the letters assigned to each level of explicitness have varied. M became GP in 1970 and then PG 2 years later, before being split into two ratings in 1984—PG and PG-13. The latter restricted films with higher levels of violence to older children. X became NC-17. From the 1980s on film rating systems were aimed much more at protecting children rather than adults from film content.
THE TELEVISION RATING SYSTEM
Television also received its share of concern over content. For many years networks employed censors who screened television programming for explicit sexual content, profanity (which was bleeped out), nudity, and obscenity. Until the 1990s, with the growing influence of cable television's vaster array of stations, the big three networks' self-censoring was sufficient control. Television's self-censoring was also a necessary economic practice, because its advertisers had an interest in the programming they supported reaching the largest number of viewers. Television programming remained conservative so as not to offend large groups of viewers.
Cable programming removed the local base of network programming. Its providing networks had no discernible location and thus had less motivation to closely monitor their content, especially because cable stations were not freely available to anyone who tuned in and subscribers were paying to see them. Television rating systems were thus instituted not to control the content of television programming but to warn parents about content so that they could monitor their children's viewing.
Television has two rating systems. The first is the TV Parental Guidelines, established in 1996 by the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Cable Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association of America. These ratings appear at the beginning of every television show. TV-Y means that a program is appropriate for all children. TV-Y7 designates programming designed for children who are 7 years old or older. The primary consideration in these ratings is whether content will frighten children. TV-G is programming deemed suitable for general audiences, with little violence, no explicit sexuality, and no profanity. TV-PG refers to programming where parental guidance is suggested. Such programs contain violence, sexual situations, infrequent profanity, and/or sexually suggestive dialogue. TV-14 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) indicates programs with more intense violence and sexual situations, profanity, and/or suggestiveness. TV-MA designates programming appropriate for mature audiences only, containing graphic violence, explicit sexuality, and/or indecency.
The TV Parental Guidelines are augmented by another system used by pay cable networks such as HBO. This system began in 1995 before the institution of the TV Parental Guidelines. It, too, indicates relative levels of violence, explicit sexuality, and profanity. V indicates shows with intense violence, whereas MV refers to shows with mild violence. AC designates programs with adult content, which refers to suggestive situations and dialogue. AL indicates the presence of mild profanity, with GL indicating strong profanity. BN tells viewers to expect brief nudity, whereas N warns that there will be nude scenes lasting two minutes or longer. SSC means there are graphic sexual acts, and R indicates the presence of graphic rape scenes.
In addition, the Federal Communications Commission promulgated rules that require computer-chip control of programming on all television sets with screens larger than thirteen inches. The V-chip can read ratings encoded in television programming and block access to any programs for ratings selected by parents.
Music—even classical music—has not been free from censorship. Because music has no images (though music videos do), reasons for banning music have been related primarily to political issues or profanity and political criticism in lyrics. Music from classical composers who were German or associated with the Nazis was banned for a time in such countries as Israel. In the (Joseph) McCarthy era of the 1950s, Pete Seeger's (b.1919–) and the Weavers' single "Wimoweh" was denounced because of Seeger's supposed ties with communism. In Britain the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" (1977) was banned from airplay because of the lyric, "God save the Queen / The fascist regime." In 1996 retailing giant Wal-Mart banned a Sheryl Crow (b.1962–) album because lyrics in the track "Love Is a Good Thing" implicated Wal-Mart in selling guns. Wal-Mart has also refused to sell any music they believe is nonpatriotic or offensive.
Even if singles played on the radio were not banned, certain lyrics were often censored through several methods. Offensive lyrics were blanked or played at zero volume, or bleeped. Portions of songs were resampled or replaced by other parts of the song, resung by removing the lyrics and keeping instrumentals, back-masked by reversing the audio, or simply skipped. This type of censorship typically involves lyrics deemed to be profane, overtly sexual and suggestive, inflammatory (such as mentioning bringing guns to school), or racist.
In 1985 a group of politicians' wives, headed by Tipper Gore (b.1948–), whose husband, Al Gore (b.1948–), would become vice president, formed the Parents Music Resource Center to urge record companies to rate the records in a scheme similar to that used on television. As in television ratings the ostensible concern of such projects is to protect the innocence of impressionable youth, even though music censorship often has more political dimensions. For example, some radio stations refused to play Sinéad O'Connor's (1966–) music after she had refused to play the "Star-Spangled Banner" at her performances. Similarly, certain stations banned the music of the Dixie Chicks because the group's musicians had criticized George W. Bush.
The Internet is also seen as posing dangers to impressionable youth. Because the Internet has no specific location and because it has not been censored, legislators have taken action to try to limit pornography and obscenity on the World Wide Web. Their first attempt to protect children from material they might stumble upon online was the Communications Decency Act of 1996. This statute made criminal "the knowing transmission, by means of a telecommunications device, of 'obscene or indecent' communications to any recipient under 18 years of age … the knowing use of an interactive computer service to send to a specific person or persons under 18 years of age, or to display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age communications that, in context, depict or describe, in terms 'patently offensive' as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs."
This act was later declared to be an unconstitutional limitation of First Amendment rights to freedom of expression. Congress quickly passed a substitute law, the Child Online Protection Act of 1998, that was more focused on the World Wide Web and defined restricted material in explicit relation to the standards by which free speech is protected. The law was quickly challenged, again as an unconstitutional restriction of free speech, with litigation pending as of early 2007. Many Internet services, however, provide filtering programs that disable the display of material characterized by certain keywords linking the site to overt sexuality.
see also Advertising.
ArtsReformation.com. "The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930." Updated April 2006. Available from http://www.artsreformation.com/a001/hays-code.html.
Balio, Tino, ed. 1985. The American Film Industry. Rev. edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Bernstein, Matthew, ed. 1999. Controlling Hollywood: Censorship and Regulation in the Studio Era. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Black, Gregory D. 1994. Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics, and the Movies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Communications Decency Act of 1996 (codified at 47 U.S.C. § 223, et seq.).
Greenberg, Bradley S.; Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo; and Dana Mastro, eds. 2001. The Alphabet Soup of Television Program Ratings: (Y-G-PG-V-S-D-14-FV-MA-7-L). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Herumin, Wendy. 2004. Censorship on the Internet: From Filters to Freedom of Speech. New York: Enslow Publishers.
Lewis, Jon. 2000. Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry. New York: New York University Press.
Nuzum, Eric. 2001. Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America. New York: HarperCollins.
"Media." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Culture Society History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
"Media." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Culture Society History. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
Criminal trials, by their very nature, are public events. Prosecuting attorneys are public officers of the court, judges are often elected officials, and juries who decide the fate of the accused consist of members of the community. As with all public events of importance, the news media play a major role in relaying information to the public and providing access to events the public otherwise would not have. Despite this vital public service, the rights of the media have sometimes clashed with the rights of those on trial.
Technological advances and the easing of rules regarding televised proceedings have allowed the public to enter the courtroom on a wider scale. This increased access can serve the public interest or create a circus-like atmosphere. Since people have been able to learn more about the benefits and flaws of the criminal justice process, movies, television series, and books that document trials, lawyers, judges, and criminals have soared in popularity.
History of the media and the courts
Balanced against the media's role to report news of a criminal trial is the right of an accused citizen to a fair trial with an impartial (open to all evidence presented) jury, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The amendment reads, in part, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed."
With media coverage of court proceedings comes natural and well-founded concerns among defense attorneys and civil rights advocates about what jurors or potential jurors see or hear outside the courtroom. Irresponsible reporting can prejudice (change people's perception or opinions before all the facts are presented) a jury and deny a defendant one of the most basic rights accorded to all U.S. citizens.
Perhaps the first high-profile case in U.S. history involved the trial of Vice President Aaron Burr (1756–1836). Burr shot Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804), a former secretary of the treasury, to death in an 1804 duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Although Burr was indicted for murder in New York, he was never prosecuted and fled the country. During the indictment proceedings, however, Justice John Marshall (1755–1835) commented on the considerable media attention the case had received.
Justice Marshall issued a ruling regarding the potential problems so much publicity could cause a jury, declaring that jurors were impartial only if they were free from the influence of the media outside the courtroom. Marshall stated that the decision of a jury must be rendered solely on the facts and evidence presented inside the court of law. This principle, of course, is easier stated than practiced.
Tried in the media
The first clash of Hollywood celebrity, the media, and the law came in the case of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (1887–1933). Arbuckle was one of the highest paid and most popular actors in the growing motion picture industry. Arbuckle threw a party at a San Francisco hotel on September 5, 1921. During the party, a woman named Virginia Rappe ran screaming from a bedroom, became ill, and died mysteriously four days later. Arbuckle was charged with the rape and murder of Rappe.
The accusation caused a sensation in the national press and rumors spread wildly regarding Arbuckle's involvement in the death of Rappe. Perhaps more interested in selling his papers than in justice, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (1863–1951) printed numerous articles about the story. Hearst papers published stories smearing the reputation of Arbuckle and his friends, many of whom were urged not to testify on Arbuckle's behalf for fear of losing their careers.
Hearst raised so much contempt against Arbuckle that his wife, who maintained her husband's innocence, was shot at as she entered the courthouse during one of the three resulting trials. Hearst, for his part, was delighted, boasting that the Arbuckle case sold more newspapers than the German sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania, which brought the United States into World War I (1914–18).
Arbuckle's first two trials resulted in mistrials (where juries are unable to agree on a verdict). Arbuckle was acquitted (found innocent) in his third trial, and many believed him the victim of a setup. The jury from the third trial even wrote Arbuckle an apology letter, a very rare event in American justice. The media frenzy and accusations were too much to overcome, however, and Arbuckle never worked in the movie industry again.
The crime of the century
The media have always covered significant trials, but the beginning of motion pictures and television presented a new set of challenges. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping, known as the "crime of the century," illustrated the increasing noise of the media and its influence upon juries.
On March 1, 1932, the infant son of world famous aviator and American hero Charles Lindbergh (1902–1974), and his wife, Anne Morrow, was abducted from their home. Despite ransom notes and other communications from the kidnapper, the baby was found dead of a skull fracture nearby. News of the kidnapping attracted the attention of the world press. Journalists and sightseers soon gathered around the Lindbergh home, destroying evidence and clues. Photographers disguised as rescue workers even set up a darkroom in an ambulance.
Two years later, police arrested Bruno Richard Hauptmann (1899–1936) and charged him with kidnapping and murder. The Hearst newspaper chain was once again involved, and even paid the legal fees of Hauptmann's attorney in exchange for the exclusive right to interview Hauptmann's wife during the trial. The trial itself was held in Flemington, New Jersey, near the Lindbergh home.
Journalists from across the globe traveled to Flemington and used the latest technological equipment to bring news of the trial to consumers. Over one hundred Western Union telegraph wires were strung in the courthouse attic. The Associated Press set up four teletype machines to transmit trial transcripts to New York and Philadelphia newspapers.
At this time, newsreels had become a popular medium among moviegoers. News, sports, and entertainment were shown before the main feature in theaters across the nation. During the Lindbergh trial, five newsreel companies covered the testimony. They pooled their resources and operated a remote control camera to bring the trial to thousands throughout the country. When the judge learned that court proceedings were being played in movie houses during the trial, he shut down all filming of testimony.
The jury had a difficult time staying away from the extensive coverage. Despite orders from the judge not to read newspapers, listen to the radio, or talk to anyone regarding the trial, jurors were affected by the spectacle. Each day the court was in session, the jurors made their way from a hotel to the courthouse through hundreds of newsboys who shouted the latest headlines. Observers hollered for the jury to convict Hauptmann and send him to his death.
When the jury was ready to give its verdict, the media stood ready to relay the news with speed. Reporters smuggled portable radio transmitters into the courthouse so they could signal the verdict to the outside world. The newsreel cameras recorded a crowd of ten thousand people waiting outside the courthouse. The jury found Hauptmann guilty and recommended the death penalty. The mob outside roared its approval and Charles Lindbergh, listening to the radio, disapproved such a display.
Cameras in the courtroom
Because of the Lindbergh baby murder trial, photographers and movie cameras were banned in all federal and state courts. The American Bar Association enacted Canon 35 of the Code of Judicial Conduct as it related to the media. In part it read, "The taking of photographs . . . and the broadcasting of court proceedings are calculated to detract from the essential dignity of the proceedings . . . and create misconceptions in the mind of the public and should not be permitted."
The legal community had concluded that cameras were entirely too disruptive to trials. Yet as technology improved over time and cameras became smaller, easier to handle, and less disruptive, the media once again tried to enlarge its scope of trial coverage. As with other major issues of the day, the U.S. Supreme Court had a say in the controversy between the
rights of the media and the rights of the accused. The case of Estes v. Texas (1965) involved a trial that originally received great publicity because of the defendant's relationship to U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973; served 1963–69).
Estes was found guilty of business fraud and sentenced to prison. In the Court's ruling, Justice John Marshall Harlan (1899–1971) declared that televised proceedings in criminal trials of great note created considerable prejudice against the defendants. Harlan believed televised proceedings lacked due process. The following year, in overturning the murder conviction of Ohio physician Sam Sheppard, the Court stated that it was the duty of the presiding judge to prevent press coverage from interfering with court proceedings.
During the 1980s the Supreme Court began allowing more access after media advocates claimed that televising trials would make media representatives strive to be more accurate in their reporting. Other changes in the media brought new issues as well. Cable news stations and the 24-hour news cycle became commonplace and included legal commentators, who were not always accurate and could create false impressions of a trial's proceedings.
The legal community and the media attempted to work together in many respects to bridge the gap between fair trials and the public's right to information regarding trials. Judges are primarily in charge of regulating cameras inside their courts and usually ask jurors to avoid television coverage of their case. No cameras are allowed in federal courts, though oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court can be watched on the C-SPAN cable network.
Detectives and the courtroom as entertainment
As shown by the popular interest in the Lindbergh case, Americans have long been fascinated by the criminal justice process and the punishment of its criminals and outlaws. The rise of television in American popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s gave the viewing public the chance to enjoy shows about crime and the law. Writers have also taken advantage of the public's fascination, and fictional murder mysteries have been popular for decades.
The first novel published in the newly formed United States was a murder mystery by William H. Brown (1765–1793) called The Power of Sympathy. Books profiling criminals and their trials made "true crime" (crime that has actually happened) books one of the best selling categories in the publishing world by the late twentieth century.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) is generally recognized as the father of the modern mystery story. Poe, who was born in Virginia and worked as an editor and writer, published his first mystery story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 1841. Poe followed with other classic tales like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." These stories, combined with Poe's famous poem "The Raven," popularized horror and mystery stories in the United States and Great Britain.
Poe's work paved the way for writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) and Agatha Christie (1890–1976). Doyle and Christie wrote about the adventures of fictional detectives. Doyle, a Scottish physician, created the most popular character in the murder mystery genre, Detective Sherlock Holmes. His great powers of observation and use of reasoning and logic to solve crimes made Holmes an enduring figure in popular fiction.
With his distinctive hat, pipe, and magnifying glass, Holmes caught the public's imagination in such novels as The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927). Doyle's fictional detective had become so popular that when he killed him off in "The Final Problem" (published in Strand magazine's December 1893 issue), the public was so outraged Doyle was forced to bring him back to life—but not until ten years later.
Agatha Christie, born in England, created stories featuring the exploits of Hercule Poirot. Poirot was a retired Belgian police officer who solved mysteries by meticulously (carefully) examining the facts and clues. Christie wrote more than thirty novels featuring the fictional Poirot, the most famous among them Murder on the Orient Express (1934) and Death on the Nile (1937).
Movies, radio, and television
In addition to reading detective and mystery stories with great fervor, the public also went to theaters to watch Hollywood films of such stories. Murder mysteries also made their way onto radio and television. Perhaps the most popular radio program involving a crime fighter was "The Shadow," which debuted on NBC radio in 1930. The Shadow was never seen, only heard, and could use his extraordinary intelligence and strength to overcome his adversaries (the bad guys). The popular series ran until 1954 when television shows became a more popular way for Americans to be entertained.
American author Erle Stanley Gardner (1889–1970) created one of television's most popular heroes, trial attorney Perry Mason. Along with the help of private detective Paul Drake and trusty secretary Della Street, Mason solved crimes for more than a decade. The Perry Mason character had been featured in dozens of novels by Gardner and a radio program
before the series first aired in 1957. Perry Mason was played by actor Raymond Burr, and viewers tuned in to his courtroom dramas for ten years. The series is still popular in reruns.
Along with murder mysteries and legal thrillers, particularly the works of John Grisham and Scott Turow—whose books sell millions and are often turned into profitable movies—true crime literature has soared in popularity. True crime was first made popular by Truman Capote's (1924–1984) nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. The book chillingly retold the story of a Kansas family's brutal murder and the men who killed them. Capote's work was the beginning of what has been called the "New Journalism," in which scenes are developed dramatically, and dialogue is recreated from reports. True crime books steadily gained popularity and by 1983 Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss sold 2.3 million copies. True crime author Ann Rule, who knew serial killer Ted Bundy (1946–1989) and wrote books about him, has found immense success in the industry.
True crime books usually have bold-colored paperback covers and crime scene photographs inside. Some of the most popular true crime books involve organized crime. Americans have always been fascinated with organized crime, especially the Mafia. Movies such as The Godfather trilogy based on the novels of Mario Puzo (1920–1999) and books like Way of the Wiseguy were extraordinarily popular, as was the 1950s television series "The Untouchables," based on the cases of FBI investigator Elliot Ness (1903–1957) and his pursuit of 1920s gangsters.
As televised action, legal dramas continued to be popular in the 1980s and 1990s. "L.A. Law" glamorized a corporate law firm and was reportedly responsible for a sharp increase in law school applications. In 1989 NBC introduced the first "Law & Order" series, which portrayed crime investigation from the point of view of both law enforcement and prosecutors. The series was so successful it has produced several spin-offs. Other networks produced similar programs, such as the popular CBS series "CSI" (Crime Scene Investigation).
Legal dramas like the "The Practice" on ABC and even comedies like "Ally McBeal" on Fox succeeded as the American viewing public continued to relish the action of the courtroom and the lives of lawyers and prosecutors.
The modern media and sensational trials
Cable and satellite television increasingly offers channels that appeal to specific audiences. In the 1990s and 2000s the popularity of the O.J. Simpson (1947–) murder case revealed a new interest among viewers—following the proceedings of high-profile trials. On cable, Court TV became the top channel for live trial coverage. In addition to trial coverage, Court TV also features original movies and documentaries about the justice system. Cases are presented and then analyzed by Court TV's legal experts and hosts, most of whom are attorneys themselves.
There was been no shortage of sensational trials to cover following the Simpson case. The Laci Peterson murder case in California, in which Scott Peterson, husband of the victim, was charged with killing his wife and unborn child, attracted a great deal of media coverage. Music superstar Michael Jackson (1958–) faced trial on child molestation charges, and professional basketball player Jayson Williams (1968–) was acquitted in the 2004 death of his limousine driver.
Much attention was given to another professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant (1978–) of the Los Angeles Lakers, who was charged with rape and often flew to court hearings in Denver, Colorado, by way of a private jet during the basketball season. Over four hundred television and print journalists were at the scene when Bryant made his first court appearance. With the case getting so much attention, the judge decided not to allow television cameras inside for the trial. Despite criticism about the amount of coverage given to these events, television programs about such trials continue to receive high ratings while newspapers and magazines sell in the millions when they report these stories.
The O.J. Simpson Case
On June 17, 1994, over one-third of the American public watched their televisions in astonishment. They watched as O.J. Simpson, whom many had come to know during his Hall of Fame football career and popular rental car commercials, was driven along a Los Angeles, California, freeway in a white Ford Bronco, slowly fleeing from the numerous police cars that followed him.
Five days earlier, Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside Nicole's house in Brentwood, California. Los Angeles police had gathered enough evidence to suspect Simpson of the crime and he had agreed to turn himself in to authorities. On June 17, however, Simpson appeared to be fleeing and had threatened to commit suicide during the slow chase. The drama was shown live as network and cable stations interrupted their regular programming. Drivers along the freeway abandoned their cars to watch (some cheering) as Simpson's vehicle, driven by a friend, passed. Simpson's journey ended at his mother's home about two hours later. The event was the first in what would become a media frenzy over a trial that became a national obsession.
Media coverage of the Simpson trial, which began in January 1995, was unlike any other. Over two thousand reporters covered the trial, and 80 miles of cable was required to allow nineteen television stations to cover the trial live to 91 percent of the American viewing audience. When the verdict was finally read on October 3, 1995, some 142 million people listened or watched. It seemed the nation stood still, divided along racial lines as to the defendant's guilt or innocence. During and after the trial, over eighty books were published about the event by most everyone involved in the Simpson case.
Simpson hired a group of lawyers the media called the "Dream Team," because of their high fees and notoriety. This group
included Johnnie Cochran, who had defended other celebrities such as Michael Jackson, forensics expert Barry Scheck, and noted law professor Alan Dershowitz. Despite "a mountain of evidence" directly implicating Simpson in the murders, Simpson's lawyers argued that their client was framed by a racist police detective, Mark Furhman.
Furhman had previously been recorded on tape making racist statements about black Americans. The defense lawyers accused Furhman of planting a leather glove with the blood of the victims at the scene of the crime. Scheck managed to discredit police tactics in examining the blood and fingerprinting evidence.
During his closing argument, Cochran sharply criticized Furhman and the police. Throughout the nation, citizens divided according to race; many blacks thought Simpson was framed, most whites believed nobody but Simpson could have committed the crimes. The jury found Simpson not guilty on both counts of murder; he was, however, found guilty in a civil suit for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Ten years after the murders, O.J. Simpson remains a free man and no one has been charged in the deaths.
Mixing popular culture with the legal process continues. In May 2004, an Ohio murder trial began with television cameras in place to record the entire process—including jury deliberations (discussions about the case in order to reach a verdict). The Ohio state court system approved the cameras, but only after the judge, jury, and prosecuting and defense attorneys all agreed to certain rules. The film footage will become part of a documentary for ABC television entitled State v.
While the public certainly enjoys legal dramas, both fictional and real, and technology has been able to cover almost all aspects of a story at rapid speed, many are concerned about the media's role in crime and punishment. Having cameras and reporters involved in trials has raised questions about the rights of the accused. Do the media threaten the constitutional rights guaranteed to the accused? How does media coverage impact a potential jury, especially in sensational trials? Do cameras in the courtroom change the way lawyers or prosecutors act or try their cases?
These questions are not easy to answer and continue to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. Television cameras are still banned from federal and state courts, but they are allowed in criminal and civil courts if approved by a judge. Cable news shows and Court TV continue to provide extensive coverage of celebrity and sensational criminal trials, while police and legal dramas remain popular on major networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. True crime books also continue to flourish, as do fictional mysteries and thrillers.
While the media and the justice system may clash over the coverage of certain trials, both groups continue to work together in an attempt to make sure that justice and the public's right to know are equally satisfied.
For More Information
Cohn, Marjorie, and David Dow. Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice. New York: McFarland & Company, 1998.
The Constitution of the United States as Amended. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.
Cowdery, Nicholas. Getting Justice Wrong: Myths, Media, and Crime. New York: Independent Publishers Group, 2001.
Dunne, Dominick. Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishment. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2002.
Fox, Richard L. Tabloid Justice: Criminal Justice in an Age of Media Frenzy. New York: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000.
Sloctnick, Elliot E., and Jennifer A. Segal. Television News and the SupremeCourt: All the News That's Fit to Air? Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Court TV.com—The Investigation Channel.http://www.courttv.com/ (accessed on August 20, 2004).
Court TV's Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods.http://www.crime library.com (accessed on August 20, 2004).
Famous Trials Theater.http://www.famoustrials.com/ (accessed on August 20, 2004).
"Media." Crime and Punishment in America Reference Library. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
"Media." Crime and Punishment in America Reference Library. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
MEDIA With a population of over 1 billion, speaking eighteen officially recognized Indian languages and almost two hundred minor languages, it is not surprising that India has one of the largest media in the world. As literacy has increased from about 20 percent at the time of independence in 1947 to over 65 percent in 2005, the print media has expanded enormously to keep pace with rising literacy. Literacy in India is defined as the ability to read and understand a simple newspaper, and presumably a large portion of the adult literate population read the English or vernacular press. In 1950 there were 214 daily newspapers, with 44 in English and the rest in Indian languages. In 1990 the number of daily newspapers was 2,856, with 209 in English and 2,647 in indigenous languages. By 1993 India had 35,595 newspapers—of which 3,805 were dailies—and other periodicals. The audiovisual media, largely run by the government until liberalization in the 1990s, had long reached the hundreds of millions of illiterate people in the countryside. Large projected television screens were set up in earlier decades in the villages of India to provide mass access to the rural population.
Except for a brief period during the "National Emergency" of 1975–1977 declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the private Indian media has been free and independent, providing unshackled news and incisive analyses without fear of government retribution. Some of its limitations are not unlike those in Western countries, where corporations control the stock of the news media and where editors may use some discretion to avoid alienating corporate owners.
The pioneering English-language newspapers were started by the British in Bengal during the time of the British East India Company in the eighteenth century. The first of these was the Bengal Gazette in 1780, which mainly carried the news and social affairs of the British in Bengal. This was soon followed by the India Gazette and the Calcutta Gazette. As the empire took root in Madras and Bombay, the Madras Courier was published in 1785 and the Bombay Herald in 1789. The Bengal Gazette, the Madras Courier, and the Bombay Herald mainly carried official news of the British Raj in the Bengal, Madras, and Bombay presidencies. Some competition arose in Madras with the start of the Madras Gazette and the India Herald.
The establishment of the mainstream English-language Indian newspapers began from the mid-nineteenth century, founded by resident English entrepreneurs. The Times of India of Mumbai (Bombay) (initially the Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce) is the oldest of these, founded in 1838. The Times of India is published by India's largest media group, Bennett, Coleman and Company, now owned by an Indian conglomerate. It is published concurrently from six cities and has a circulation of about 650,000. Known as the Times Group, the company also publishes the Economic Times, Navbharat Times (in Hindi), and the Maharashtra Times (in Marathi).
The Statesman of Kolkata (Calcutta) began publication in 1875. It was the successor to The Englishman, founded in Calcutta in 1811. Until independence, it was owned and run by the British. The Statesman has been considered among the most independent and hard-hitting of the English-language daily newspapers of India. It was critical of the British during British rule, and has been highly critical of Indian governments, especially the previous Hindu nationalist government of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Hindu, established in 1878 in Chennai (Madras), has arguably made claims to being the best of the English-language dailies in terms of the quality of its reporting and analyses. It claims to have a shared readership of 3 million. Its daily circulation is about 500,000.
The Hindustan Times of New Delhi, the first major newspaper that was not initiated by the British, was begun by a pioneering Indian newsman, Pothan Joseph, as the flagship newspaper of the Indian National Congress during the independence struggle. The Hindustan became its Hindi language partner later. Joseph subsequently established the Dawn in Karachi for the new state of Pakistan. He returned to India and published the Deccan Herald in Bangalore. The most widely distributed newspaper in India is the Indian Express, which has a daily circulation of 520,000 and is published in seventeen cities. There are also another half dozen English-language daily newspapers with circulations between 134,000 and 477,000, all competitive with one another.
Before independence, the content of the English-language newspapers was addressed to British residents and the rising English-speaking Indian elite. Today, these English-language print media are a highly secular and modern group of newspapers, their quality being comparable to the best in the Western world. They shape the attitudes of the Indian elite and the direction of Indian government policies.
The many Indian-language newspapers have large circulations, though usually on a statewide or citywide basis. With a daily circulation of 673,000, the Malayalam-language Malayala Manorama from Kerala has the largest circulation of any newspaper, but is read mainly in Kerala and its Malayalam-speaking diaspora. The Kerala population of 25 million is nearly 100 percent literate, hence the high readership. On the other hand, the Hindi-language Dainik Jagran has a circulation of 580,000, circulating mainly in Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 140 million but a literacy rate of under 50 percent, and in New Delhi with a population of 8 million. The Punjab Kesari in Hindi sells in Punjab and New Delhi, with a daily circulation of 562,000. The Anandabazar Patrika, published in Kolkata in Bengali, has a daily circulation of 435,000. There are several smaller publications throughout India, the result of different voices demanding to be heard, and of Indian journalistic entrepreneurship. The combined circulation of India's newspapers and periodicals is more than 60 million, published daily in more than 90 languages.
Overall, there are four major publishing groups in India, each of which controls national and regional English-language and vernacular publications: the Times of India Group, the Indian Express Group, the Hindustan Times Group, and the Anandabazar Patrika Group.
Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India (UNI) are the two primary Indian news agencies. The former was created after it took over the operations of the Associated Press of India and the Indian operations of Reuters soon after independence in 1947. PTI is a non-profit cooperative of the Indian newspapers. UNI began its operations in 1961, though it was registered as a company in 1959. India has more than forty domestic news agencies, many with their own foreign correspondents. Many are the appendages of major newspapers, such as the Express News Service, the Times of India News Service, and the Hindustan Times News Service.
Until socialism was ended and economic liberalization policies were initiated in the early 1990s, the audio-visual media was owned and run by the government of India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. They included the national television network (Doordarshan) and the radio network, known as All-India Radio in English and Akashwani in Hindi. Their news reporting customarily presented the government's point of view. Complaints that these media supported the ruling government's candidates against opposition candidates during elections led to the introduction of the Indian Broadcasting Act in Parliament in 1990. The bill provided for the establishment of an autonomous corporation to run Doordarshan and All-India Radio. The corporation was to operate under a board of governors, in charge of appointments and policy, and a broadcasting council to respond to complaints. However, real change came in the early 1990s when television broadcasts were transmitted via satellite, effectively limiting the progovernment bias of the government-controlled electronic media. Today, BBC, CNN, CNBC, Pakistan TV, and other foreign television channels may be received in India.
In 1993 about 169 million people were estimated to have watched Indian television each week, and by 1994 it was reported that there were some 47 million households with televisions. There also is a growing selection of satellite transmission and cable services available. Star TV began broadcasting via satellite, bringing to India an array of Western television shows. Zee TV entered the market, offering competition to Star TV, whose prospects were then bolstered by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who acquired the network in July 1993.
In response to international competition, Doordarshan started five new channels in 1993 and transformed its fare to more controversial news shows, soap operas, and coverage of high fashion. But only the new Metro channel of Doordarshan, which carries MTV music videos and other popular shows, survived in the face of public demands for more exciting Western fare.
Raju G. C. Thomas
Brosius, Christiane, and Melissa Butcher, eds. Image Journeys: Audio-Visual Media and Cultural Change in India. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999.
Offredi, Mariola Offredi, ed. Literature, Language and the Media in India. Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 1993.
Price, Monroe E., and Stefaan G. Verhulst, eds. BroadcastingReform in India: Media Law from a Global Perspective. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Rao, N. Bhaskara, and G. N. S. Raghavan. Social Effects ofMass Media in India. Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 1996.
"Media." Encyclopedia of India. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media
"Media." Encyclopedia of India. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/media