In 1968, Gene initiated his broadcasting career utilizing previous marketing experience, in developing promotional concepts for building audience listening in radio. He worked specifically with the "all-news" formats at Westinghouse, Group W. As promotion manager for KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia, he was responsible for the creation and introduction of the most perennial promotional message in radio: "You Give Us 22 Minutes, We'll Give You The World". As a marketing professional, the creating and production of broadcast promotional material for both print and on-air resulted in well over two dozen major marketing awards and citations for corporations including Group W., Post-Newsweek, Corinthian Broadcasting and the NBC-owned Stations Group.
Gene has been producing national programming since the early 1980s, independently and in association with companies including Essence Communications, Inc. and UniWorld Group, Inc. The programs that he has produced have combined ideas and content with promotability for audience viewing interest. This includes "Essence The Television Program", nationally syndicated weekly, for four years, which included the award winnning special "Ella On Ella," and "Cosby, The Philadelphia Kid", "America's Black Forum" (nationally syndicated weekly), "Sweet Auburn", "The 16th Annual Black Filmmakers Hall Of Fame" and "Brown Sugar, A Centennial Celebration Of America's Black Female Superstars". He also produced "Sammy Davis, Jr. Portrait Of A Legend", winner of the 1987 NAACP Image Award, for a variety special. Internationally, he was coordinating producer for "The 100th Anniversary of The Moulin Rouge", in Paris, 1989.
In 1992, in association with AT&T, Gene began producing and syndicating a continuing series of two-part, two hour specials entitled: "Images and Realities: African American Men", "The African American Family", "African American Women" and most recently "African American Children". Each of the four specials averaged 80% of NSI Black Households. As a result of a 1995 Ford Foundation Grant, one hour versions of the four programs are now being broadcast on (PBS) National Public Television stations through 1998.
Since 1990, Gene has been working to establish a library of music documentaries for international broadcast production. "You Gotta Pay The Band: The Words, The Music, The Life of Abbey Lincoln" and "Shirley Horn Sings and Plays: Here's To Life", produced in association with PolyGram Jazz, for PBS, were the first productions from the Gene Davis Group and are also being distributed worldwide. "From New York To Paris, starring Queen Esther Marrow and The Harlem Gospel Singers" premiered on selected PBS stations and internationally in February, 1998
Gene continues to develop biographical specials that highlight the lives and art of veteran African American performers. Specials utilizing exclusive interviews and material on singers Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae are in negotiation for post-production. "Baby, That's Rock 'N' Roll," a celebration of the songs of Leiber & Stoller, an international music documentary produced for BRAVO premiered in September, 1997. A two hour music documentary, "Forever Ella", a celebration of the late Ella Fitzgerald, was completed in association with the A&E Television Network's "Biography". It premiered in February, 2000. Two additional "Biography" programs, "Rosemary Clooney, Girl Singer" and "Dizzy, The Life And Music Of John Birks Gillespie" premiered in May, 2001. He co-produced "Walk A Mile In My Shoes-The Ninety Year History of The NAACP," a nationally syndicated program in association with NBC, which premiered in January, 2000.
The Gene Davis Group is developing a feature length film documentary based on the life and art of artist Romare Bearden as the first of a series highlighting 20th century African American artists. "The Defiant One: Stanley Kramer, A Life In Film" with Sidney Poitier is being developed in association with Corky Hale Productions, Los Angeles. Looking toward feature film development and production, Gene has the international film rights to the authorized biography of acclaimed novelist and essayist James Baldwin and has begun development of a film based on the book. Pre-production is planned for late Spring, 2002. Gene is also working on developing a remake of Harold Arlen's and Vincent Minnelli's classic "Cabin In The Sky".
Gene Davis started his career in New York City in 1962 at Ideal Toys. He was in sales promotion and merchandising. He also worked for Columbia Pictures as advertising production manager before joining CBS/Epic Records as advertising production manager in 1966. He attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, majoring in advertising design and layout and the School Of Visual Arts, New York. Gene resides in New York and has two sons; Philip, 36, a policeman and Peter, 24, who is a graduate of Pratt Institute, New York.