A Producer With a Passion for Media
Mark Roth is an early Internet Communications Media Producer and Information Architect. His online adventures beginning to take shape in high school while "outdialing" on BITNET. Mark's pioneering internet experiences began before graduating from Northwestern University with a BS in Communication Studies in 1996.
After a powerful summer internship (1995) in Washington, DC under Larry Irving, Asst Sec. of the NTIA (Dept. of Commerce), Mark developed his skills and broad understanding of telecommunications as the web began it's infancy. With a firm understanding of the policies and social issues surrounding the Telecommunications Reform Bill of 1996, Mark began to combine his intuitive vision and studies in communications with consistent action on the web.
It is no small act of fate that as an NTIA intern, Mark was fortunate enough to connect with a brilliant artist -- also from Northwestern's class of 1996-- Giles Hendrix. While they had actually shared one of NU's earliest collaborative online workgroups and "Virtual Classrooms" during Professor Joe Walther's Electronic Mediated Communications course, they never met in person before sharing webdesign-related intern duties at the NTIA. The two became fast friends and have collaborated and shared their creative energies many times since.
During his senior year, Mark became one of four founding partners in Centerstage Chicago. Centerstage became an early college internet startup (all four partners met during college at Northwestern) and a pionering city guide model. Centerstage was one of the earliest, and few remaining, independent websites (1995) to deliver online information about local Arts, Entertainment & Culture in Chicago. Today, their pioneering information model is consider a commodity concept adopted worldwide by corporate media like Citysearch.com, Yahoo.com and AOL.com. Yet, the Centerstage "Virtual El" Nightlife Navigator is the only internet site that seemless merges the city's public transportation network with a comprehensive database of where to go and what to do in the city.
Upon graduating college in 1996, Mark worked feverishly with his partners to establish Centerstage Chicago as a new-media presence in the established "salty-dog" media scene of the midwest. Ultimately, Centerstage was able to secure local relationships as well as stable partnership revenues from a national broadband/cable company -- which eventually became Excite@Home. For the next few years, Centerstage would operate as the local's guide to Chicago flavor, demonstrating an authentic devotion to celebrating the best arts and entertainment in Chicago.
Along the incredible journey that was only his first year after college, Mark teamed up with a unique tribe of media pioneers and they began producing event-based WebCasts for local media and telecommunications giants such as CBS, Chicago Sun Times & Ameritech. Under the guidance of established producer Tom LaPorte, Mark lead the technical production of several historic WebCasts including: the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago; and the first live broadcast over the Internet of the Radio Hall of Fame Awards Dinner, for the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
In late 1997, Mark arrived in Boulder, Colorado, and began volunteering his time with the Boulder Community Network, one of the oldest freenets in America. At BCN, Mark was able to adapt a curriculum designed to teach non-profit professionals to learn enough about the web in 3 hours to maintain their own websites. In addition to teaching classes and developing the online "Education Center" resources, Mark also helped organize the first annual fundraising event around the 5th Birthday Celebration of BCN.
During the fall, Mark was hired by CCG://online, a local interactive marketing agency that was quickly growing into one of the region's dominant webdesign companies. Accepting the title of Technical Producer brought some very high level client/agency experiences under his belt.
Mark's experiences at CCG://online included producing the technical aspects of the Colorado Rockies (the baseball team) first website in partnership with Microsoft; the website relaunch of Universal Studios Florida using Informix Universal Server; the launching of the Universal Escape rebranding projects; acting as technical liason with iXL as they acquired and "rolled-up" the office into Denver's largest webdesign shop; and managing the technical department during an interim period without a Director.
Upon leaving iXL's Denver office in 1998, Mark began independently consulting for clients in Telecommunications, Finance, Outdoor Adventure and Travel. It is during this time, that Mark discovered the benefits of bartering for gear while enjoying the Colorado lifestyle he had always dreamed about.
In 2000, Mark arrived in San Francisco searching for people interested in developing communications technology to serve positive social change. Along the way, he collaborated with Howard Rheingold, shared creative juices with Ian Rhett, attended the first Planetworkers conference and even worked for a few startups that have come and gone. To date, the Celebrating Solutions! Project and Channelg.tv represent the best ideas from this journey and creative process.
In the fall of 2000, Mark began working for CompuMentor as the Business Development Manager where he envisioned a donation based ad banner campaign that delivered millions of new users to the site and raised traffic 3000% in the first month to www.techsoup.org.
At the beginning of 2002, Mark returned to Chicago to invest his energies into building Centerstage into his vision of a positive and community oriented media company.
By summer of 2003, Mark was happily living in Chicago again and focused on repositioning Centerstage Chicago in the local media marketplace. After negotiating a content syndication partnership with the new Red Streak Newspaper, an edition of the Chicago Sun-Times aimed at the youth market, Centerstage's business picked up.
In 2004, Mark was asked to join other successful entrepreneurs to speak at the Boomerang Conference on the survival of Centerstage compared to other dot.com startups. Check the video for our story.
During 2004, Mark began working with the founders of the Chicago Music Commission and was then asked to become a member of the Board of Directors.
In the summer of 2006, Centerstage Media was acquired by Sun-times Media, the parent company of Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.