HATTIESBURG - Hollywood
media executive and Emmy Award winner Margaret Loesch's message
for graduates of The University of Southern Mississippi Friday was
straight and to the point.
"You can do it, too," said Loesch, a Southern
Miss graduate who has made her mark in the media and entertainment
industries, including as founder of the Fox Kids Network and the
Hallmark Channel. "There are some steps that I have found that
have led me to success, and hopefully my insight will provide some
guidance and hope to (graduates)."
Loesch left to find work in Hollywood after graduating
from Southern Miss, beginning her television career in the film
department of ABC in 1971. She then joined NBC as director of children's
programs from1975-1979. Despite her success, she never thought she
would be in Hollywood for very long.
"I've been in Hollywood for 33 years, which is
still a surprise to me," she said. "I thought I'd stay
a couple of years. I'm still there, but still think of myself as
a Mississippian, and that's why I'm so happy to be back."
Loesch credited Southern Miss with providing her with
a broad education. A political science major, Loesch said her academic
experience at the university taught her how to "ask the right
questions" and gave her a "real work ethic."
Credited with coining the term "the coarsening
of America," Loesch said she's aware of the impact her industry
has on America's youth, and said her concern has motivated her to
make a difference through child and family entertainment.
"I've been a critic of some of things that are
on the air after 8 p.m., and I'm not happy with some the language
and subject matter (that kids are seeing)" she said. "Kids
are imitators, they imitate what we as parents do and they also
learn and get a lot of information from the media.
"We're constantly being bombarded with negative
messages, and so what I'd like to do is fill our entertainment with
positive messages, and some of my colleagues are doing the same
Loesch was founding president and CEO of Fox Kids
Network, serving in that capacity from 1990-1997. She built Fox
Kids into the No. 1 children's television service in the country,
and launched Fox Kids in Australia, Latin America and the United
Kingdom. Prior to her tenure with Fox Kids, she was president and
CEO of Marvel Productions, the film entertainment subsidiary of
Marvel Comics, from 1984-1990, and executive vice president of Hanna-Barbera
Productions, where she supervised the development of more than 30
From 1998-2001, Loesch was founding president and
CEO of Crown Media United States and its U.S. Hallmark Channel,
and also worldwide president of the Jim Henson Television Group.
In 1998, she took over the rebuilding task of managing the Odyssey
Channel, which was purchased by the Jim Henson Company and Hallmark
Entertainment in late 1998, and was credited with reviving the channel
and providing the framework and secure foundation for the channel's
successor, the Hallmark Channel, which Loesch launched in August
2001. In 2003, she co-founded The Hatchery, a company formed to
build intellectual properties in the family and children's entertainment
Matt Lantrip, a senior photojournalism major from
Brandon, was looking forward to Loesch's speech and beginning his
pursuit for work after receiving his degree on Friday. "It's
real competitive (in the field of photojournalism), but I feel confident
that I'll land a job," he said.