Systematically reaching diverse audiences is not only a social goal for AARP in South Carolina, it is essential to our mission. AARP South Carolina is fortunate to have the opportunity to work with several diverse vendors who help us reach a large audience through various media. Here are some examples.
One of the partners that AARP South Carolina uses to communicate with African American residents of Palmetto State is a digital news site called Millennium Magazine, owned and operated by Calvin B. Reece, originally from Columbia, in Caroline from the south.
Calvin defines himself as a “man of the media“. Given its nearly 50 years of experience in and around the media industry, the shoe fits.
Calvin began his career in 1972 as an editor at WIS-TV in Colombia. He recalls that one day at work, he saw an assistant to the governor of South Carolina talking to the general manager of the station about buying political ads. The general manager told the assistant that if the governor wanted to buy ads, he would have to come and do it himself. Calvin began to recognize the important role the media played in society. He also realized the power the station general manager had over the media and set himself the goal of becoming general manager himself.
Over time, Calvin found a mentor who told him about the business and helped him realize that everyone promoted to general manager came from sales. Calvin studied and worked hard, and eventually reached sales, where he became the first African American to work in television advertising in South Carolina history. He then became general manager and sales manager of several radio stations.
Over the years, he developed his skills and influence, eventually realizing that he wanted to work for himself. So he founded Millennium Magazine and turned it into a successful digital media platform that reaches a large audience in South Carolina. Millennium has won numerous awards, including the Image Award Top Achiever for the SC Black Male Showcase USA and the 2002 South Carolina Governor’s Office Trailblazer Award for Minorities and Small Business. Calvin, who always speaks enthusiastically about his love for his job, says he never plans to retire.
Calvin, who has two daughters and two grandchildren, and Millennium Magazine have helped AARP South Carolina connect with our African American audience through digital ads and stories placed on the website.
Digital media is just one of the ways AARP South Carolina reaches the state’s African American community. As the population shifted towards social media and video content consumption, we have been following to reach out to South Carolinians where they are. There is no better example than our series of live social media videos, Living well with Dr. Bell. The series is one of the creative solutions used by AARP in South Carolina to disrupt disparities and respond to the findings of our recent health study, which called for reaching out to the African American community with useful health information and easy to digest from a reliable source. . The project, one of AARP’s top priorities in South Carolina, wouldn’t be possible without Tony Clarke of TC Entertainment Productions, who produces the show.
Tony has spent 30 years in the entertainment production industry, working with leading clients across the country. He says his clients call him the “Mr. Wolf” of production. If there’s a problem they can’t fix, he can step in and get the job done right.
Tony has had an exciting career in entertainment, starting as a DJ, then joining a jazz band as a drummer. He said that over time he realized how difficult it was for the band to get paid for gigs performed in small venues. So he learned to negotiate contracts before concerts.
Armed with this knowledge, Tony left the band to become manager of a nationwide touring group. Working with the group, he learned to become a stage and event manager, and eventually to produce television and radio shows.
He started to take on more clients and started a business focused on production as well as event management. It was the birth of TC Entertainment Productions. During his career, Tony has worked on the production of a Super Bowl halftime show, NBA All-Star Game, Inaugural Event, Block Party Tour of Adult Swimming and of the NASCAR experience.
At a jazz festival presented to raise awareness of health disparities in Charleston, South Carolina, Tony met Dr Thaddeus John Bell, founder of Closing the Gap in Healthcare Inc., a dedicated nonprofit to the elimination of health disparities within the African American community.
Seven years ago, drawn to the mission of Closing the Gap, Tony agreed to work with Dr. Bell’s nonprofit. He recently helped create the “I got it!” vaccine reluctance campaign with Closing the Gap and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The campaign was featured in Time magazine and on CNN.
TC Entertainment Productions Adds Major Value to AARP South Carolina Efforts to Disrupt Health Disparities Through Its Production Work Live well with Dr. Bell, which is broadcast live from the AARP South Carolina Facebook page at noon on the first Friday of each month. We look forward to continuing to develop this show and are currently considering other opportunities to work with Tony to effectively reach our key audiences via video.
AARP South Carolina is focused on diversity in the broadest sense. It’s no secret that South Carolina is a conservative state and that many in its Hispanic and African American communities lean that way. We believe it is imperative that, given the makeup of the state legislature, the non-partisan status of AARP, and the idea that “what we do, we do for everyone”, we we were addressing this audience. We are fortunate to have wonderful partners to help us do this at 100.7 The Point’s Mornings with Kev and Brian. The show has a local focus and is heavily involved in promoting local charities and events.
Keven Cohen and Brian Leonard have been close friends for almost two decades and have co-hosted the show ever since Keven decided to launch The Point.
Keven has been on talk radio for 29 years, including 24 in Colombia. He arrived in the Midlands of South Carolina in 1994 after starting his broadcasting career in Gainesville, Florida. After 19 years of working in corporate radio, he launched The Point on October 28, 2013 with the intention of doing local radio.
He is involved in his community and does everything he can to promote good local causes. He is married to Laney, whom he calls his best friend and hero, and the couple have two amazing children.
Brian Leonard was born in the small town of Darlington, South Carolina. As the youngest of three boys, he said, it was natural for him to feel the need to be heard. After high school, Brian attended Morris College, an HBCU in Sumter, South Carolina, and majored in broadcast media.
After college, Brian immediately started working in radio and fell in love with production. He’s been behind the board ever since, these days doing duplication. In addition to teaming up with Kev on the morning show, he’s also “behind the glass” as executive producer of SportsTalk every night on The Point. When not working behind the board, Brian works freelance as a vocal artist. You’ll hear his work on audiobooks, commercials, and characters. The world of audio in all its forms is consuming it.
AARP’s work in South Carolina with The Point is a huge boon to our work reaching our “entire” audience. It also offers a nice balance to another long-term radio partner, Don Frierson of the urban scene.
The Urban Scene is South Carolina’s oldest (over 30 years!) Discussion and information forum for the African American community. Daily guests provide information on events and activities in neighborhoods, churches and schools. Community service agencies offer information about programs or initiatives that benefit listeners.
Government officials and officials make regular visits to educate the community and answer questions. The urban scene is the meeting place of the city hall live from Columbia.
Don Frierson and the Glory Communications Network are staples of the South Carolina media and African American community, and they continue to be key to our overall strategy to reach diverse audiences. Don hosted monthly Emma Myers, President of the AARP Volunteer State in South Carolina, to talk about the work and impact of AARP across South Carolina.
AARP South Carolina has many other partners and suppliers not listed here, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with all of them.
Joseph M. Meyers is the Associate State Director for AARP South Carolina