The broadcast industry lost a true pioneer in the recent passing of Jerry Lopes at age 72. Before his retirement in 2019, Jerry served as President of Program Operations & Affiliations at American Urban Radio Networks for twenty-six years, and as member of the NABOB Board of Directors.
Jerry’s broadcast career began with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service while serving in the United States Air Force, including a period in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1973. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Jerry worked there at several radio stations as an on-air news talent. In 1974 he joined the staff of WILD-AM in Boston, then owned by Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation and would later become director of news, and eventually, in 1990 Jerry was promoted to the position of Vice President of Programming and Operations, overseeing Sheridan’s Pittsburgh corporate headquarters network operation.
In January of 1992, following the partnership announcement of Sheridan Broadcasting and New York-based National Black Network (NBN), leading to the creation of American Urban Radio Networks (AURN), Jerry was promoted to Executive Vice President of Program Operations & Affiliations. In August of 1993, Jerry was promoted to the position he held until he retired.
In addition to his passion for delivering the news, Jerry also had a passion for Black college football. For over forty years he led a program of scholarships for student-athletes, which led to the establishment of the Black College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta and the Black College Football Hall of Fame Museum, which is included in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Jerry served for over a decade as a key member of the NABOB Board of Directors. Regarding Jerry’s tenure on the NABOB Board, Jim Winston, President of NABOB said, “Jerry was a major contributor to the success of NABOB during his time on the Board. He led NABOB “Get Out the Vote” campaigns for many years. In addition, he spearheaded the NABOB “Know Your Power” consumer education campaign, which educated our audiences about using their buying power to support Black owned businesses.”
Jim Winston added, “Jerry was a really good person with a great sense of humor. He was very highly regarded throughout the broadcast industry. I and his NABOB colleagues considered him a good friend and will deeply miss him.”