Ever since Brian Pace emceed his kindergarten production of Star Wars, the microphone was always the place where he’s felt most comfortable. In fact, Pace’s journey has not always been an easy one, but through God’s grace and speed, he’s allowed him to become one of the most innovative and well-researched journalists in America.
Brian was born on June 1st, 1972 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was a scientist who eventually became a teacher and mom was a school psychologist. “My parents always stressed the importance of reading and education as a means to be self-reliant and to become your own person,” he explains. “My mother, who retired last year from the Indianapolis Public School system, claims I was reading at 18 months.”
Brian’s social skills were both a blessing and curse for he and his parents. As a child, his teachers were always calling home telling them about his excessive joke telling or, how he was the one who took leadership on a major project. These skills eventually paid off as he would become a successful producer.
His first exposed to radio and television was through WJEL-TV and FM at North Central High School. It was also during his junior year of high school the Youth Telecommunications Workshop of Indiana Black Expo brought the nationally syndicated Black Entertainment Television program “Rap City” for a taping. North Central was undergoing lots of racial tensions at the time and Indiana Black Expo’s program was a way to break the ice. While they we’re taping, Pace, who was the class comedian, made his debut as co-host of the “Rap City” with co-host and comedian Chris Thomas. He would co-host the program again during his senior year of high school.
Although Brian wasn’t asked back for his senior year at WJEL, the Youth Telecommunications Workshop invited him to join their program. “Gary Holland and IBE staff were the guys who helped me gain the business and professional side of not just television, but life,” explains Pace. “It it weren’t for the steady discipline and precise hands on experience of the program, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” YTW was a progressive program that taught African-American students between the ages of 12 to 18, the fundamentals of television production. The students wrote, edited, and hosted their own programs which aired on public access. Brian created and produced “Teen Chat” a talk show that centered around issues that them.
After high school, Pace would become an instructor and senior producer/videographer for YTW. He would produce P.S.A’s and spots for clients like Ameritech, Radio One, Mc Donald’s, and the Gospel Music Workshop of America.
Brian grew tired of becoming stagnate and decided to further pursue his education at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. It was there that he left television and became a Country/Western and Urban AC disc jockey at KPBQ/KZYP-FM in Pine Bluff while attending school full-time. “I knew nothing about country music and I just winged it. I had to pay my bills and playing Loretta Lynn and Red Sovine records helped put food on the table” explains Pace. He credits KZYP for his mentor and program director Floyd Donald for allowing him to voice and spot commercials. Also, Donald provided responsibilities for him that he’ll be able to use throughout his career. Floyd adds, “Brian was bright and mature beyond his years. His deep knowledge of music and politics is what would be his strong and passionate loves throughout his career.”
Another door would eventually open for the young broadcaster. WMC-AM in Memphis needed a producer and reporter for their weekends and during the week. So, Pace transferred to the University of Memphis and majored in Broadcast Media with a minor in Marketing. This proved to be a very hectic yet fulfilling for Brian. Not only did he work in radio, the news director at WMC-TV allowed him to intern at the same time. There was no free time for the young scholar and broadcaster. While in Memphis, Brian had an opportunity to work as a producer at WHBQ-AM and production assistant and DJ at WPLX-AM.
Upon completing college Brian moved to Detroit and worked as a production assistant and writer for WXYZ-TV. He then accepted the job at WXYT-AM as a producer and reporter where he wore many shoes. Answer phones, book guests, update the website, cover a story and make deadlines. This position allowed him to step into another role, as Executive Producer and Reporter for the I.E. America Radio Network.
He became the Stateside Reporter and Producer at Mississippi Public Radio covering issues ranging from race to environmental causes. A year later, Pace moved back to his hometown of Indianapolis where he was a stringer and statehouse reporter for Indiana Public Radio.
Currently Pace is a freelance journalist and producer for National Public Radio and Pacifica based in Harlem, New York.