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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Country Boy CEO

Posted January 16, 2006



Ken Lowe was one of my best friends at UNC. He came to Chapel Hill after growing up on a Surry County tobacco farm. We worked together in radio at WKIX along with Rick Dees. We played basketball together on the KIX Kagers. Ken's on-air name was Steve Roddy. I can hear him now: "You're rolling home with Roddy on the Big 85." Later he hired me in Houston at KULF where I became the radio news director. In Houston I discovered what an incredible motivator Ken Lowe is. Through positive reinforcement Ken had a way of making me want to jump through flaming hoops or whatever it took to get the job done. His compliments were always specific. His pinpoint praise had a way of inspiring me. Plus, he was like a volcano of ideas and generally great fun to be around. After I made the switch to television I got a call from Ken who was working radio at Scripps Howard. He wanted to get my feedback on one of his latest creative ideas. He next day he pitched the idea to the company president - something that would become HGTV. Ken was hired to run the channel and it became a huge success. Later he managed the Food Network and oversaw the launch of Do It Yourself (DIY) in September 1999 and Fine Living with Dees in March 2002. Ken also oversaw Scripps' acquisition of the Shop at Home network in late 2002. Today Ken is the CEO of Scripps and credits his NC upbringing with much of his success. “We came from a rural area and a fairly basic lifestyle, but my father taught me the value of hard work and keeping your word. That's really served me well, especially in rising to become the CEO of a company today.” I am awfully proud of Ken. We continue our friendship today. From what I hear he continues to inspire those who work around him. He is the epitome of great leadership.
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Bill Leslie
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