Gene Shelton is an associate professor and academic diversity adviser for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His career spans three decades. After graduating from Kent State University in 1972, he became a reporter for The Cleveland Press and host of a public affairs program on Cleveland's NBC affiliate WKYC-TV. While studying for his master's degree at the University of Wisconsin, he was hired to teach journalism at UW-West Bend and he served as the campus public information officer.
An assignment to interview acclaimed singer Roberta Flack for a Milwaukee Sentinel feature in 1975 influenced a career change and a move to Los Angeles. Shelton was hired as a writer and publicist for Motown Records. From Motown he moved to CBS Records were he worked for Columbia and Epic Records. At Epic, he was Michael Jackson's press agent and wrote the bio for the multi-platinum LP Off The Wall. He was called back to Motown in 1981 to be the label's manager of press and artist relations.
Shelton's work has been behind the media profiles of such artists as Jackson, Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle, Prince, Al Jarreau, Earth Wind and Fire, Ronald Isley and The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays, Barry White, Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, Randy Meisner of The Eagles, George Clinton, George Benson, Mavis Staples, Ice-T, Tevin Campbell, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, The Winans, Take 6, Chaka Khan and countless others.
In addition, he wrote liner notes for Motown's Diana Ross Anthology and greatest hits albums by Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Four Tops. Shelton was responsible for the publicity campaigns behind such film soundtracks as Boyz in The Hood, New Jack City, Quincy Jones' Listen Up!, Graffiti Bridge and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. He left the music business in 1996 as a vice-president of media relations for Warner Bros. Records.
His career has not been limited to the music industry. He was press agent for network television stars Taurean Blacque (Hill Street Blues) and Marla Gibbs (227). He served as press secretary to U.S. Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D.CA) and he directed public relations and marketing campaigns for The Coca-Cola Company for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, McDonald's Gospelfest, Coors Beer, Martin Luther King, Jr. Week for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Charles E. Drew University and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
On the highpoints in his career Shelton says, "Deciding to leave the music business and PR behind to take care of some unfinished business called a master's degree. Teaching is a passion. There is a real value and importance to what I am doing now. As far as music, I lived out a dream.
I was fortunate to work with Curtis Mayfield, Barry White and Ray Charles before they left us. I remember sitting backstage with Curtis at an award's show. It was just the two of us and in walked Diana Ross. She was so humble. Curtis brought out the very best in people. That was a moment I will always remember."
Shelton's master's thesis is titled Moral Agency and Ethnic Minorities: Are The Television Networks Doing The Right Thing?
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
- Ethic Image In Media
- Moral Agency In Media
- Pop Music/Political
OFFICESchool of Journalism and Mass Communication
MR 1-2 PM
T 11-12 PM
CONTACT INFOPhone: 330-672-8298
COURSES TEACHINGSpring 2014
- JMC 20001 - 001 Media , Power And Culture
- JMC 20003 - 001 Intro To Mass Communication
- JMC 40095 - 030 St : African American Media
- JMC 43036 - 001 Record Promotion
- PAS 49095 - 003 St : African American Media
- JMC 60195 - 030 St : African American Media
- JMC 20001 - 011 Media , Power And Culture
- JMC 20003 - 010 Intro To Mass Communication
- JMC 20001 - 007 Media , Power And Culture
- JMC 40095 - 004 St : African American Media
- PAS 49095 - 004 Selected Topics