Make 2018 the Year of the Black Entrepreneur
By WILLIAM REED
As Blacks enter the New Year we suggest we collectively evolve a racial ethos that puts more emphasis on entrepreneurs, who they are putting forth more celebrations that honor these mold-breakers. The successful entrepreneur that inspired our judges as “an enterprising leader” is broadcast executive Armstrong Williams who has quietly became the country's largest Black television station owner.
For thirty years, “the Business Exchange” and Network has sought out and honored entrepreneurs whose boldness drive them to do things differently and change our society our world in unexpected ways. By purchasing the stations KVMY (the Vegas MyNet affiliate) and WLYH (the CW affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), Williams brought his total television station holdings to 7. Given that only 12 out of over 2,000 stations in the country are Black-owned. Williams’ deal with Sinclair Broadcasting made Williams the most powerful black broadcasting media mogul in the country.
To celebrate Blacks evolving in business activity the Business Exchange Network annually seeks the coming together of Black business communities to create and build leading businesses. We also seek to set Blacks’ standards of excellence to heights that create jobs and contribute to the vibrancy in Blacks’ communities.
Entrepreneurs like Armstrong Williams aren’t the only ones who benefit when they start businesses. He follows the footsteps of job creators like his father. Although job creation is one of the most important contributions they make to society, it’s certainly not the only one. Entrepreneurs play important roles in their communities turning their energies to philanthropy and innovation. Entrepreneurs not only create jobs for themselves but for other people in their communities. The cumulative effect of multiple small business start-ups creates a significant impact. Small firms created 63 percent of net new jobs.
It’s time Blacks in business make it a point to connect, know and interact with the Black retailers are in your area. Entrepreneurs improve their local economies. When they employ locals they spend money in local businesses, such as clothing stores and restaurants. New companies spend money purchasing good and services from locally.
A protégé of Urban One’s millionaire owner Cathy Hughes, Williams reached “mogul” status in 2013 when he secured the deal with Sinclair Broadcasting. This was a small part of a bigger deal in which Sinclair purchased 18 stations from Barrington Broadcasting to the tune of $370 million. Many partisans criticized Williams' deal, accused him and Sinclair Broadcasting of exploiting loopholes in terms of FCC prohibitions against television broadcast monopolies. Bottom line the transactions made Williams the nation’s largest African-American television station owner.
Stations currently owned by Howard Stirk Holdings
WGWW - Anniston-Tuscaloosa, Alabama
WEES - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
WEYI - Saginaw-Flint, Michigan
KHSV - Las Vegas, Nevada
WXBU - Lebanon/Lancaster/York/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
WGWG - Charleston, South Carolina
WWMB - Florence/Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Williams’ media stations are under Howard Stirk Holdings. Williams plans to raise the number of television stations he owns to 10. Williams is a board member of Ben Carson’s Carson Scholars Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. He also served on the boards of the Presidents Commission on White House Fellows, under former United States President George W. Bush, is on the Independence Federal S&L Bank board of directors, and Newsmax Advisory Board.
Based on real estate and other holdings, Armstrong Williams’ current net worth is upwards of $80 million. Williams is the founder and CEO of the Graham Williams Group, an international marketing, advertising and media public relations firm. He also owns Armstrong Williams Productions LLC with Baltimore entrepreneur David Modell. Howard Stirk Holdings Journalism Foundation, Inc. and SC State University have created the Armstrong Williams Broadcast Scholarship Program via a commitment of $250,000 to SC State’s communications and journalism program.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com