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” . . . Our team produced a first-class TV event which benefited one of the most valuable resources in this country.”

SVP, Production, David Roberts on Black History Month, leadership and First Take's role in HBCU Week

David Roberts
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

As part of our Black History Month observance, Front Row introduces you to an outstanding African-American leader at ESPN.

Senior Vice President, Production, David Roberts, directs strategic direction of ESPN Audio’s national network radio. Roberts also leads the network’s production of First Take the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, Get Up, High Noon, Highly Questionable, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption.

The Wayne State University graduate, who tonight will be honored as an HBCU Week Trailblazer tonight in Wilmington, Del., answered some questions for Front Row.

What’s your proudest moment at ESPN?
There are several proud moments — but the live First Take show from HBCU [Historically Black Colleges & Universities] Week tops the list. We saw thousands of fans come out, not just because of their support for First Take but because of the unwavering commitment to HBCUs. The event raised awareness of HBCUs across the country along with raising millions of dollars for scholarships. At the end of the day, our team produced a first-class television event which benefited one of the most valuable resources in this country.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is an opportunity to learn and put into perspective the impact African Americans have had, and to reflect on how I got to where I am – not just in this industry, but in society as a whole. It is also a time to underscore how Black History Month is really year-round, because frankly African Americans continue to make history in some way each and every day.

Tell us about a Black leader who inspires you and what they mean to you.
I was truly inspired throughout the two terms of President Barack Obama. He set the example, and exhibited unprecedented patience through all the attacks, some of which were rooted in racism. He carried out his tenure with class, and became for me the ultimate role model because he made me believe that yes, the opportunities are endless for all of us willing to pursue and achieve excellence in our respective professions. Barack Obama is living proof that Black History happens all year round.

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