Archive for the ‘PBS All-American Presidential Forums’ Category

The phrase “the elephant in the room” is often used to bring a group’s attention to the fact that a large problem exists that everybody in the group is ignoring. Tonight, it will be hard to not pay attention to the elephant that is not in the room (pun intended). How can Romney, Giuliani, Thompson and McCain justify not attending this forum? How can anyone take them seriously as potential presidents? What does it say about the GOP?

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John Hanson

John Hanson, Producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series IN BLACK AMERICA will be the moderator of a discussion at the Carver Library in Austin prior to the PBS Broadcast of the Tavis Smiley All-American Presidential Watch Forums with the GOP Candidates.

Here is his bio…

If you’re someone who has gained stardom and/or success in the fields of business, sports, entertainment, banking, teaching, religious leadership or politics, you have probably already met John Hanson.  If you are on your way to the top of your chosen career ladder, you need to meet him.  If he hasn’t heard about your success yet, he will soon.  He is the widely respected producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series IN BLACK AMERICA.

John Hanson, who is currently the Executive Producer of the Longhorn Radio Network and Administrative Services Officer at the University of Texas at Austin, has overseen the production and distribution of his own series as well as twenty or so others for the past seventeen years, and has produced INBLACK AMERICA since 1980.  In its ten years, IN BLACK AMERICA has attained an enormous audience which includes the larger radio markets in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New York) as well as smaller and rural areas whose listeners get little else in the way of what’s happening in the worldwide black community.  Currently IN BLACK AMERICA enjoys the status of being the only nationally broadcast black-oriented public affairs radio program, heard weekly on 53 radio stations nationwide.

Hanson’s commitment to radio as his chosen ladder was made in his hometown, Detroit, as a teenager.  He began as a music programmer and youth reporter for the student station in his school.  Upon his high school graduation, he traveled to Austin, Texas, to attend Huston-Tilotson College, and landed a DJ slot at a small, low wattage station in nearby Lockhart where he offered a popular nightly program of jazz and soul music.  The commuting from Austin weighed heavily on Hanson after graduation, so he began seeking employment at the various radio stations in the Austin area.  His particular goal was to get hired at the public radio station at UT/Austin, where he felt his special mix of radio entertainment, which includes music, news and motivational pieces, might be more welcome.  After many attempts and rejections, Hanson’s diligence was rewarded, and he was hired by KUT radio in 1974.  His first assignment was to produce a nightly program called “soul on FM” which became an immediate success and ultimately earned him recognition as “Best DJ in Texas” by Texas Monthly magazine in 1976.

In 1977, Hanson received a Minority Training Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which he used to learn the ropes for setting up a public affairs program for KUT, the NPR affiliate licensed to UT/Austin.  Upon his return from the CPB workshops, Hanson turned his attention to improving and increasing information about the black community, which was not effectively reaching the local media outlets.  Additionally, he sought to provide a venue for leaders and organizers whose issues and activities deserved wider exposure.  This was accomplished via his implementation of “ACCESS”, a weekly, live, phone-in program on KUT, which allowed experts in various fields and endeavors to address the public about their intended impact on the Austin community.  From that rung on his ladder, Hanson was promoted to the producer of IN BLACK AMERICA after its previous host left the city in 1980.

At the outset of his work as host of IN BLACK AMERICA, Hanson set his sights on national and international leaders and rising stars in all areas of life affecting black Americans.  Rather than waiting for newsmakers to come to Austin to be interviewed, he dusted off his briefcase and recording equipment and hit the road, seeking out the best and brightest, interviewing such people as Lena Horne, Andrew Young, Joseph Lowery, Coretta Scott King, Bill Cosby, Arthur Ashe, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Les Payne, Dr. Benjamin Carson, MD, Tony Brown and Joe Sample.

“Meeting the stars and the bigwigs is fun, sure, but the best part of his job is being able to keep my hand on the pulse of black America.  The only drawback is that I only have two hands.”  Hanson says in his typically understated assessment of the impact made by his program. “I try not to always focus on those who are in the headlines, adding “the programs I get the most mail about with the most positive responses are the interviews I do with some of the lesser known leaders of our era.”

This group includes publisher Earl Graves of Black Enterprise magazine; Dr. Edith M. Jones, immediate past president of the National medical Association; Ms. Marian Barnes, director of the National Association of Black Storytellers; Ms. Chaney Allen, author of I’m Black and Sober; Brother Mateen Baaith, ex-convict and director of Over the Hill, Inc., an organization to assist ex-offenders, and Frank Mingo, president and CEO of Mingo-Advertising Agency, Inc.

Hanson says he arranges interviews with people he’s heard about and from conversations with friends and business associates, as well as from the hundreds of journals, magazines and newspapers he reads regularly.  Victor Salupo, author of The BS Syndrome, wrote to Hanson recently, after his IN BLACK AMERICA interview was aired.  His letter states:

“John, your program has an unbelievable impact.  We had over 150 phone calls for the book! When the deluge of calls began to hit my desk, it took me a while to put two and two together to realize it was your program on the radio that prompted the widespread reaction, and I wanted you to know the power of your program.”

That power has been exercised repeatedly over the years in which Hanson has provided a forum for black America to educate and be educated by each other, capitalizing on his primary strength as a journalist, which is to emphasize his subject’s point of view rather than his own.  No superstar, and certainly no rising star, can ask more of a journalist than to stand out as a good listener during a conversation.  Hanson is, indeed, just that.

IN BLACK AMERICA reaches every segment of our society in which your specific strengths will be promoted, and Hanson is the one to rely on to project the most positive image to the broadest possible audience.  When you get a message from John Hanson at the Longhorn Radio Network, take the time to return his call.  It can lead you into the large, respected circle of those whose names and ambitions have reached the hearts and minds of those in the know IN BLACK AMERICA.

Hanson is married to the former Latischa M. Merritt; he has two children, Kacey and Michael.

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Alberta PhillipsAlberta Phillips, associate editor with the Austin American Statesman will be the moderator for tonight’s discussion prior to the All-American Presidential Forums Watch Party at the LBJ Library. Here is her bio:

“For me, journalism is more than “just the facts” — it’s a search for truth. To that end, journalists have a duty to raise the veil that blocks the public from its government, institutions and leaders. We have the ability to shine a light on human failings and triumphs. So we must keep searching until all the dark places are lit.”

Alberta Phillips is an associate editor with the Austin American-Statesman. Her duties include writing daily editorials and frequent columns. She joined the American-Statesman in 1986, but has been a member of the editorial board since July 2000. She writes on a variety of topics, but specializes in education, juvenile justice, public school financing, religion, health, racial issues, social justice and Texas politics. Phillips also writes a regular column. Her columns reflect many of the issues people grapple with on a regular basis; race relations, parental responsibility; community values; and culture.
Phillips began her career at the American-Statesman in August 1986, first working as a neighbor reporter covering Austin’s minority community. Later, she covered public schools, county government, general assignments and higher education. In 1992, she joined the newspaper’s capitol press corps to cover the Texas Legislature.
In 2005, Phillips was named first runner-up for the national Casey Award for Meritorious Journalism for distinguished writing on children and families.
In 2004, Phillips was awarded second place in the category of community service by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for her series of editorials regarding the injustice in Tulia. She also received an honorary mention for her columns.
In 2003, the Headliners Foundation of Texas awarded Phillips first place for column writing. The award-winning columns dealt how a negative counterculture is leading minority youths into crime; when it is justified to use vigilante justice to dispel criminals from the neighborhood; and whether the Black Church played a role in Ron Kirk’s defeat for U.S. Senate.
In 2002, the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for her 2001 series detailing corruption in the state’s $20 billion school trust fund awarded Phillips first place for editorial writing. Her editorials spurred changes in state law.
She is the recipient of the 2002 Region VII National Association of Black Journalists Ma’at (Truth) Award for first place in editorial writing for a report on the illegal takings of land owned by African Americans. Those same editorials received an honorable mention in the 2002 competition by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
In 2000, she was awarded the School House Award by the Texas Federation of Teachers for a series of articles that examined the link between student performance and quality teachers. In 1999, Phillips received the School Bell Award from the Texas State Teachers Association for detailing a critical shortage of qualified teachers in predominantly Hispanic and African American public schools.
Phillips is the mother of two sons who work in the film industry in Los Angeles. In her spare time, Phillips works as a board member for the Salvation Army and has been involved in the prison ministry for Holy Cross Catholic Church, administering to young people — especially women and mothers — who end up in county jails. Phillips attended Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, and the University of Texas College of Communication. She worked for a number of weekly and black-owned newspapers before joining the Statesman.

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ric williams

Ric Williams is a poet, artist, and  yellow dog Democrat whose preferred form of government is compassionate anarchy. What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding is still the question in a world where violent coercion to conformity is the psychotic reflex of so-called values-oriented true believers. He is senior editor at Dalton Publishing and a contributing editor (Litera) at the Austin Chronicle. Find out more at   ricwilliams.com.

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It’s time once again for the Presidential Forums Watch Party. (Download a flier with details here)

This time it’s the Republican Candidates who will be taking questions from a panel of journalists moderated by Tavis Smiley and broadcast on PBS on September 27 from 8-9:30 p.m.

Here in Austin we will again meet in two different venues for a pre-forum discussion, then we’ll watch this televised Presidential Candidate forum as a group:

  • At the LBJ Library our pre-forum discussion will be moderated by Alberta Brooks from the Austin-American Statesman,
  • and at the Carver Library, John Hanson, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, In Black America KUT will moderate the discussion.

AND, once again we will be the citizen-bloggers participating in the PBS partnership with the Media Bloggers Association. Citizens at both sites will be guest bloggers here on the Texas Forums blog and their comments will be added to the MBA/PBS Web Site along with the certified bloggers at the actual event.

This is pretty exciting stuff, if I may say so!

If you want to be a blogger, contact me asap!!!

To learn more about our prior experience discussing, blogging and watching the Dems on Tavis Smiley, check out the report on that event!

We’ve also got pictures from that event up on Flickr!

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