Longtime gospel music producer, performer and radio/TV host Dr. Bobby Jones is presenting the largest in-kind donation in school history to his Alma Mater, Tennessee State University.
More details about the $6 million gift and how the school will utilize it will be revealed Friday afternoon in a ceremony held at TSU’s Performing Arts Center, 3500 John Merritt Blvd. on the school’s main campus, at 5 p.m.
Dr. Jones, who began his career locally producing and hosting a half-hour program for then WDCN-TV (now WNPT-8) has been executive producer and host of two longtime popular shows on Black Entertainment Television (BET) since 1980. These are “Bobby Jones Gospel” and “Video Gospel.”
In addition, he currently is featured on the programs “Bobby Jones’ Next Generation” on the Gospel Music Channel and “Bobby Jones Presents” on the Word Network. Plus, he’s heard Sunday mornings from 5-7 a.m. on WFSK, 88.1FM doing the nationally syndicated “Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown.”
But aside from his hosting and production duties, Dr. Jones is widely known throughout the gospel world as an incredibly savvy assessor of talent. His show helped launch the careers of Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and Mary Mary among others, while such legendary figures as Albertina Walker and Dorothy Norwood credit exposure on his programs with reviving their profiles and expanding their popularity among newer generations of gospel fans.
He’s won numerous awards during his lengthy career, among them both a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association and a Grammy, three Stellar Awards, a presidential commendation from President George W. Bush, plus an International Film Festival Award. His 1999 anthology “Touched By God” featured a collection of stories from popular gospel artists about the impact of faith in their lives, while his 2000 memoir “Make A Joyful Noise” chronicled his career exploits up to that time.
Both Dr. Jones and Tennessee State University President Dr. Melvin Johnson will attend Friday’s ceremony.