Kay Koplovitz grew up in a working class neighborhood
of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and according to her mother, Jane Smith, was
a go-getter from day one. At the age of five, when her family moved
into a house they had built in South Milwaukee halfway through the
school year, Kay convinced her parents to let her take the city bus
to her old school every morning so that she could finish out the school
year with her kindergarten class.
"So I said to my father, it's very nice that we have a new
home, but I really can't move there because I have to stay in this
explains. "He told me, well you're moving and that's that.
I said okay, but then I have to take the bus to my school and I
an increased allowance so I can pay for the bus fare. His face
was just like, you've got to be kidding me, but he allowed me to
Kay believes that the confidence her parents had in her helped
her become independent at a young age. "I think trusting a
child with decisions is really a good way for a child to gain and
Kay graduated from South Milwaukee High School, as valedictorian
of the senior class and voted "Most Likely to Succeed." She
then attended the University of Wisconsin, where, in addition to
taking part in the civil rights movement and protesting the war,
Kay attended a lecture by the famous science-fiction writer, Arthur
C. Clarke, discovering the world of geosynchronous orbiting satellites. "It
so compelled me, the story about the power of satellites and how
they could change communication. It empowered me to think that
we could have more than three television networks, that we could
have more sources of information, that people in despotic governments
could know what was going on in other countries and the knowledge
could set them free." While
attending graduate school at Michigan State University, Kay wrote
her Master's thesis on satellite technology. "I was a television
producer working my way through college, and I really saw the structure
of television as it was then and could imagine what it could be
if you could open up the access to programming. I had the opportunity
to do this in the seventies…and my opportunity came in sports."
In 1977, Kay, along with partner Bob Rosencrans, launched the Madison
Square Garden Sports Network. At the time, professional sports
were only televised locally and on the weekends. Koplovitz changed
that by acquiring the rights to sporting events at Madison Square
Garden. She negotiated the first contracts with Major League Baseball,
the NBA and the NHL. By 1980, Koplovitz had begun to introduce
other non-sports programming to the network, and changed the network
title to USA Network.
Kay Koplovitz, the first female network president in television history,
led USA Network into the #1 ranking in primetime viewership among cable
networks. The company held that position for 13 of her 14 years at
the helm. Kay launched the Sci-Fi channel in 1992 and USA Network International
"I am very proud of Kay," Jane says, "she works very hard
and she is a very good daughter."
For more information on Kay Koplovitz, please log onto www.koplovitz.com.