By: Dennis Moore
At 82 years of age, most people would be settled down into their twilight years or in a nursing home. But legendary gospel music broadcaster Earnie Miles is still going strong, after celebrating his 30th anniversary as the host of the hugely popular Sunday morning gospel music program, “The Earnie Miles Show” on KNOE-TV in Monroe, Louisiana. There are no indications that this “Man for All Seasons” will be slowing down any time soon.
East County resident, Nicolas “SK” Shivers earlier profiled in the East County Magazine (March 1, 2009 – Spiritual Knowledge: Music U Can Live 2), is hoping to jumpstart his Gospel/Rap/Hip Hop career by accepting an invitation to appear and perform on “The Earnie Miles Show,” thereby gaining “SK” some national TV exposure.
Earnie Miles is a household name in Northeast Louisiana, having welcomed more than 1,626 artists on his show, who have performed more than 2,798 songs on 1, 560 shows over the last 30 years. He also provided various churches and other local organizations with free publicity on his gospel TV show, with more than 13,000 announcements made on their behalf. Sure, the numbers are staggering, but his contributions at Grambling State University and various humanitarian causes across the globe are just as noteworthy.
For a person to give thirty years of their life to something that he has a passion for, and do it well, is quite an achievement. That is what can be said of Earnie Miles, who has given countless performers an opportunity to showcase their talents and started them on a professional music career. Miles told me how he got started in his career, what drove him to excellence, and discussed the innumerable people whose legacies he helped shape-- such as legendary Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson.
Everywhere that Grambling State University’s legendary football coach, Eddie Robinson, and the school’s marching band would go--fromt Yankee Stadium in New York City to Tokyo, Japan--Earnie Miles would be there filiming. Miles produced TV documentaries chronicling this prestigious university, most notably; “Pay the Price.” Miles’ filming of the Grambling football team and their Marching Tigers’ band contributed to this marching band being the only band voted into the NCAA Hall of Fame. Also, while at Grambling in 1973, Mr. Miles produced the documentary; “Give the People What They Want,” which aired on 117 television stations throughout Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tokyo, Japan. This trailblazer was the first recipient of the Grambling State University “Drum Major Award” for his contributions to humanity in general and to the African American community.
The Gloryland Pastor’s Choir of North Little Rock, Arkansas appeared on the Earnie Miles Show, November 16, 2008, showcasing talents of children ages seven through 18. I am sure it was the highlight of their lives, and deservedly so, as they were described as “Something Special,” and recommended for consideration to perform before President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Committee.
As with many who have achieved something noteworthy in life, Miles started from humble beginnings. A native of Winnfield, Louisiana, he’s been a trailblazer opening doors for himself and others. In “The Earnie Miles Story,” by Billy Coleman, Miles is quoted as stating; “I don’t feel lucky to have my show, because it’s not my show. It’s the good Lord’s show and it allows regular everyday folk a place on television for the area to see us praise and worship the Lord and show our love and respect for Him for all that He does in our lives.”
Earl Casey, currently CNN’s Vice-President of Public Affairs, hired Earnie Miles at KNOE TV. He wanted Miles to become the Jackie Robinson of the news media, and he did. Miles became the first black news reporter at KNOE-TV in Monroe, Louisiana in 1972, in addition to serving as host of the “Earnie Miles Show” airing gospel music. Milese shared with me many anecdotes about his life, such as the “Branch Rickey” type speech that he was given when he was hired as the first black reporter at KNOE-TV.
Miles has been a man of many talents; a salesman, a humanitarian, an educator, an innovator, photographer, orator, television show host, philanthropist and news reporter. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater North Louisiana Community Development Corporation, which provides counseling and housing development for citizens in the area. .
He was born May 3, 1927 in Clarence, Louisiana, and studied at Leland College, the same college where Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson had attended. He received a degree in Social Studies from that institution, before going on to work as a teacher at Pinecrest High School in Winnfield, Louisiana for seven years, then spending the next 12 years as a photographer for Nolan Marshall Enterprise and Grambling later on. He also served in the U.S. Air Force. During this career, Earnie and his wife Clara, raised four children and they are the grandparents of many more.
Miles has had a lifetime of notable accomplishments and achievements, which continues each day. He has produced twenty-five (25) Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) featuring University graduates from around the country, which have aired on television stations throughout the South. He has been very active in humanitarian missions as well; he once raised over $35,000.00 in just three weeks to assist with helping save lives in Africa. C.A.R.E. was so impressed with Miles fundraising and passion for the cause that they sent him on a trip to Africa. Yet when I talked to him about his many legendary achievements in life, he reacted as if these are just everyday accomplishments. Earnie Miles truly is “A Man for All Seasons.”