For nearly 30 years, Barbara Rodgers who started out as a computer programmer became a popular award-winning anchor, reporter and show host on the CBS 5 Eyewitness News and KPIX-TV in San Francisco winning a staggering eight Emmy Awards for her special reports.
Rodgers was born to Anna Connor and Jackson Rodgers, a minister on September 27, 1946 in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1968, she received her B.S. degree in business education from Knoxville College, graduating at SUNY Buffalo in 1976 for creative writing while she completed graduate coursework at the University of Chicago in 1986.
Rodgers was hired in 1968 as a computer programmer by the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester as one of only few African American female computer programmers at the time. In 1972, Rodgers joined WOKR-TV in Rochester, New York where she became the station’s first female news reporter and first African American news anchor.
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She joined KPIX-TV, a CBS affiliate in San Francisco, California in 1979 as a reporter, later becoming a co-anchor on the weekend and noon Eyewitness News broadcasts. She helped to create and host Bay Sunday in 1989, an award-winning public affairs program.
She co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA), the Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, in 1982. Rodgers was chosen in 1993 as one of five journalists to participate in the South Africa Journalists Exchange, a collaboration between the National Association of Black Journalists, the Freedom Forum and South Africa.
She earned an Emmy for her hour-long documentary, “South Africa After Apartheid.” Rodgers retired from KPIX in 2008. In 2010, she joined Comcast as a regular host on Comcast Newsmakers and in 2011 became host of the “The Bronze Report” cable show. She co-created and co-hosted “The Bronze Report,” for which she won her eighth Emmy Award in 2013. The program covers the breadth and depth of the African-American community in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Rodgers won the Governors’ Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Between 1981 and 2007, she won five “Excellence in Journalism Awards” from the National Association of Black Journalists, and was awarded the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 2004.
Rodgers received the Frederick D. Patterson Outstanding Individual Award from the United Negro College Fund in 2008, and was recognized twice by American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. for her outstanding work in broadcasting, according to The HistoryMakers.
During her long journalistic career, Rodgers interviewed dozens of community leaders and celebrities, including Berry Gordy, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Jamie Foxx, Spike Lee, Terry McMillan, Delroy Lindo, B. D. Wong, Jesse Jackson, Naomi Judd and Deepak Chopra.
In December 2015, her life story was added to the national archive of African-American oral histories being collected by The HistoryMakers®.
Rodgers is also the author of a novel she calls “a romance for grown-ups.”