Working as a page at the State House in Columbia while pursuing a degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina in the 1970s, Robin D. Roberts got his first taste of the daily doings in a political-themed arena. “I got to see how politics worked, and found a way to combine my interest in journalism, advertising and broadcasting into politics,” Roberts recalled. “Back in the day there were three sequences: news/editorial, broadcasting and advertising/public relations and I chose the ad PR route.”
Roberts is the recipient of the TVB Excellence Award honoring the Political Agency of the Year at the TVB Alt Forward Conference. Roberts humbly refers to the award as the “highlight of my professional career.”
As the founder of National Media Group, Roberts operates a family of companies focused on providing strategic communications and advertising services to corporate, political, association and issue-advocacy clients. Roberts is also a founding partner of Purple Strategies, a politically inspired corporate reputation strategy firm which offers a blend of strategists from both “blue” and “red” political backgrounds (hence the title “Purple”). And, in 2009, he founded the Washington Media Scholars Foundation, which provides academic, scholarship, and career opportunities to undergraduate students who have an interest in the public affairs advertising industry.
“The members of TVB have been so instrumental in pitching in and helping with the foundation,” he said. “They have been on the ground floor since day one. One of the first meetings was with Steve Lanzano, and they have been a supporter every year since, as have a number of their members. As a group, we have helped 650 students, to-date, and have raised over $2 million dollars.”
“Robin is the consummate political media professional, smart, strategic and astute,” Lanzano, president and CEO of TVB, told B+C. “Through his work with National Media, Robin has proven his ability to continually redefine and reinvent the industry during times of great change in politics, technology and media usage.”
In July of this year, Roberts also began a two-year term as president of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association’s Board of Governors.
“I think the biggest change in our world, particularly now during the pandemic, is how viewers, voters and the general public consumes information, which is an incentive for me to take on these new challenges,” Roberts noted. “The key thing is the number of ways that a person can consume information. When I first started out, there were three TV stations in a market and a handful of radio stations and newspapers. It was appointment viewing back in the day, and now you can get any kind of information anytime you want.”
“All things considered, I am going to keep going as long as I can,” he added. “So much is different now.”
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Marc Berman is editor-in-chief for media-centric The Programming Insider (programminginsider.com), which pioneered the email newsletter format at its inception in 1999. Marc has written for a wide range of publications including Broadcasting + Cable, Next TV, Forbes, Newspro, Campaign US, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Known as “Mr. Television” at Mediaweek (now Adweek), Marc has appeared on camera on Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Inside Edition and CNN and MSNBC, among other series and outlets. He is a member of The Television Critics Association and The Broadcast Journalists Television Association. And Marc put his TV historian hat on as author of desk calendar Today in TV History.