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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 school," Kay 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 have to have 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 do it."

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 have confidence in themselves."

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 in 1994.

"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.

 

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"What I've learned from all difficult experiences is that, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You learn to stand up for what you really believe in and to come out with all guns blaring."
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