01 Sep 2015

In My Humble Opinion: Keith Clinkscales (MBA 1990)

Channeling the millennial vibe
by Julia Hanna


Clinkscales at Revolt TV: delivering a disruptive voice on the world of music.
(Photo by Buck Ennis/Crain’s New York Business)

Keith Clinkscales (MBA 1990) began his 25-year media career at Vibe, a magazine founded by producer and musician Quincy Jones, before heading up Vanguarde Media, publisher of Heart & Soul, Honey, and Savoy magazines. “No matter what the medium, it is a joy and an opportunity to tell stories about issues affecting the American experience,” says Clinkscales, who also worked as SVP of content development at ESPN before being tapped for his current post: CEO of Revolt TV. Launched in October 2013 by rapper, producer, and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs, the network targets a millennial audience with a range of music-based content, including live performances, music videos, news, and interviews. “Media is the soundtrack of life,” Clinkscales says. “As technology has changed, the need to tell stories has not stopped—but you need to be better and quicker at doing it.”

Time traveler: “The beauty of working in California is that I still wake up on East Coast time. I can work three or four hours before the LA day kicks in.”

Happy place: Bryant Park in Manhattan. “You can take a genuine, green-grass moment that’s very accessible, right there on 40th Street and 6th Avenue.”

Revolt TV highlight: Watching chairman Sean Combs launch the network from the front stoop of the late Notorious B.I.G.’s home on St. James Place in Brooklyn.

Five words on Sean Combs: Incredibly market savvy, beautifully unreasonable.

On millennials: “Music is everything to this group. Eighty percent of the people with the most Facebook and Twitter followers are music folks.”

Done deals: Revolt advertisers include Anheuser-Busch, Beats by Dr. Dre, Chrysler, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble, among others.

Two up-and-coming faves: Kendrick Lamar, a Compton-based rapper; Janelle Monáe, a psychedelic soul and R&B singer from Kansas City, Kansas.

Leisure time? “No. No. No. In all truth and candor, when you’re launching a media property in this kind of environment, you just don’t have what you’re speaking about.”

On his desk: A photo of his dad, a former Harlem Globetrotter, who died two years ago.

Sports heroes: “I’ve seen some great things, but it’s hard to ever let go of Muhammad Ali. Jordan, LeBron, and Kobe...then watching the New England Patriots. One of the highlights of my career was working on the 30 for 30 documentary series for ESPN.”

Great show: “The Tip Off” at Madison Square Garden, February 2015, a concert featuring Sean Combs, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West, Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans, Jermaine Dupri, Dr. Dre, and others. “It was a time for me to relive my Vibe days in complete glory. They went through all the hits of the ’90s.”

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1990, Section D

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