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  • Writer's pictureGena Heelz

Chuck O’Bannon Retired Independent Producer/Director of Television Presentations

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

 Chuck O’Bannon is a retired Independent Producer/Director of television presentations born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was a member of the 101st graduating class of the historic Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, IN and attended Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He received a B.A. in Communications from Kent Christian College in New Orleans in 1987. He is the father of two children, a son, Sean and daughter ,Belinda and has five grandchildren.

    O’Bannon began his career as a studio photographer in the early 1970's in Indianapolis, IN. He later moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he worked with R&B artists, the Soul Children, under the STAX RECORDS label. He photographed the front  cover and back for the recording group’s album, “Friction.” O’Bannon was a professional photographer for many years in Memphis.  He served as Public Relations Director for the City of Memphis Community Action Agency and in the late 1970’s, he became the Managing Editor of a Memphis newspaper, the Tri-State Defender and developed his skills as a photojournalist and editor..

In 1980, O’Bannon was encouraged to expand his skills to include television. In the 1980’s he worked as Public Relations Director for International Marketing and Development Corporation (IMDC) and produced the corporation’s international video presentation that was shown in over 30 African and Caribbean nations. After returning from a three and a half month assignment to 30  African nations in 1983, O’Bannon continued developing his skills in the television industry. In 1985, he created a Memphis TV Series, ”GTV,” the Gospel Television Network and pioneered the foundation of African American religious television in the regional market. The series became the first prime time religious TV magazine show in the Mid-South region and was broadcast on WPTY - Channel 24, the ABC affiliate in Memphis.

    By 1987 O’Bannon was independently producing broadcast television programs in the Mid-South. He formed Charles G. O’Bannon & Associates, Inc. and over a 22 year period, produced over 3,000 broadcast TV programs, Video Presentations and commercials. By 2001 his production company was producing 14 weekly broadcast shows and opened the door for the creation of many of the city’s independent production companies. Among the TV show he produced was “Sunday Morning Live with Dr. Gene Crockett,” “Up From The World with Brother James Salton” and “The Street with Rev. Gary Falkner.” O’Bannon created and produced the TV commercial with Brother James Salton that has become iconic in Memphis TV history. The opens with Brother Salton saying, “Get dope out yo veins and hope in you brains. You’ll never get no where, smokin’ the pipe.”

In 2000, he expanded his client list to include several Chicago based companies and worked with his longtime friend and former Tri-State Defender publisher,  photographer, Robert A. “Bobby” Sengstacke . Together they produced over 60 Short Biographical Documentary features on noted Chicagoans including Linda Johnson Rice (Johnson Publishing Company) , John W. Rogers, Jr. (Ariel Investments, LLC), John H. Stroger, Jr. (President, Cook County Board), Actor/Writer/Performer, Oscar Brown, Jr. and legendary Chicago Defender Publisher, the late John H.H. Sengstacke.

    From 2001 to 2014 they produced over 50 Short Bio Docs for the Black United Fund Of Illinois’s “Living Legends - Passing the Torch Awards Gala and won two Awards for Best Producer and Best Director at the Fountainhead Tanz Black International Cinema in Berlin Germany. The first in 2007 for the documentary “Portraits of Black Chicago” and in 2010 for the short film, “The Quintessential Black Woman.” O’Bannon also produced the official promotional documentary films for the African Festival Of The Arts – Chicago for five years and “The Sengstacke Eye” a documentary film on photojournalist, Bobby Sengstacke, who passed in 2017.  

    O’Bannon left Memphis in 2005 and moved to the resort community of Pickwick Dam, TN. and focused on his documentary productions in Chicago. However, in 2010 he and a business partner, a newspaper editor, now Attorney Terry VanEaton created the Pickwick Network (PTV), an internet television network. PTV produced monthly short TV productions designed to promote the Pickwick community. The network included a Facebook page and YouTube channel. Twenty six editions of PTV were produced. While a resident of Pickwick, he produced a short documentary film entitle “More Tban Most,” the life story of a man named Papa Roy Ray.His film t” was accepted for screening at the Gatlinburg  Flimlfest - Film Festival (Gatlinburg, TN.) in 2010.

    In 2011 O’Bannon met Rosalind Withers, Executive Director of the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery on Beale Street in Memphis and was introduced to the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery. The next year he produced and directed the documentary film “Quarterback – A Look At Dr. Ernest C. Withers.” It is the official documentary of the museum and is show daily to museum visitors.

    O’Bannon became very passionate about the historical works of his friend, the late Ernest Withers and became a Consultant for the museum. A position he currently holds. In 2013, he also created a  Video Training Program for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. He conducted the training program for two years for the summer camp project, Kamp KSI.

    Throughout his career, O’Bannon has produced in 10 foreign countries, including Brazil, Australia, Israel and Jamaica.

    O’Bannon says " I am grateful and thankful to the Creator for the opportunity to have been chosen to contribute such a service to humanity.” Today, he continues to work in the communications industry and is the host of the Jazz Radio program, “Chuck’s Place – Your Jazz Club On The Radio” which is broadcast live on the University of Memphis radio station, WUMR FM92 on Sundays from 2 pm until 5 p.m.

For more inquiries on Chuck O'Bannon please click on the links below.

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