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Top 40 Under 40: Robbie C. Coblentz, 36,

President and CEO, Broadcast Media Group, Inc.

STARKVILLE – In the late 1980s, Robbie Coblentz helped make a music video that aired on a cable channel in his hometown of Meridian.

The impressionable teen fell in love with the creative process of video production, bought a small professional editing system, taught himself how’ to use it, and set up shop in his room.“I still get great satisfaction from being in an editing booth and manipulating picture and sound,” admitted Coblentz, an award-winner producer who now heads a company serving clients nationally and internationally from the college town of Starkville.

To know his parent’s background, it may seem surprising that Coblentz pursued a career in a high-tech, global industry. His father, Robert, grew up Old Order Amish in northeastern Indiana. “I find it highly ironic that I work in a leading-edge technology field and I hail from Amish roots,” he admitted. “How my grandparents were asked to leave the Amish church makes for a good story, also.”

After transferring from Meridian Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in pre-engineering studies in 1991, Coblentz briefly considered pursuing a career in architecture. In 1998, he earned a liberal arts degree, with an emphasis in computer animation/multimedia, from Mississippi State University (MSU). During his college days, he advanced from disc jockey to producer for various radio stations, and from television producer to general manager of WOBV-TV in Starkville.

In 1996, Coblentz established Broadcast Media Group, concurrent with his Work at the local television station until 1998, when he moved his young company into the first slot of Mississippi’s inaugural high-tech business incubator in Starkville. Since then, his company has grown to employ six staff members that produce videos and DVDs, and he has made it top priority to give back to the community.

“(Robbie’s) participation in that pioneering effort (in the incubator) has inspired him to reinvest in such efforts to expand the area’s ‘brain trust’ potential for economic development,” said MSU’s Ned Browning, Ph.D. “In particular, he has been involved in a grass roots campaign to restore funding to the Golden Triangle Enterprise Center, the local high-tech incubator. Just this summer (2006), he produced a pro bono DVD for the Greater Starkville Development Partnership and local realtors to promote the area.

“Robbie Coblentz pays more than his due in community service.”

Don Moore, sales manager of WLOX-TV in Biloxi, stated emphatically, “Bottom line, if I get opportunities to send business Robbie’s way, I will not hesitate to do so. Robbie’s professionalism and approach to client satisfaction is exemplary and worth recognition. In today’s world, we’re so connected that small businesses like Broadcast Media Group in Starkville can paint with a big brush.”

Kathy Shaw Kenne, co-owner of Quest Group in West Point, whose customers include Bryan Foods and BankFirst, said, “A company takes on the character of its leader, and Broadcast Media is known throughout Northeast Mississippi and beyond for its attention to detail, quality product, creativity and superb customer service. It’s for these reasons that we’ve come to rely on them.”

Coblentz’s wife of 10 years, Bonnie, said while business consumes much of his time, “Robbie is no stranger to the community. He’s actively involved in his church, Faith Baptist Church, where he helps maintain the technology used there.”

His church involvement doesn’t stop at providing technical advice. Faith Baptist’s Blaine Allen said, “In all my dealings with Robbie, both on a personal and church level, I’ve found him to be an excellent role model for all ages.”

Active in the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce since 1999, Coblentz has been involved in several community advocacy groups related to political and economic development issues. He has been a board member of the Golden Triangle Advertising Federation, served as president of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s (PRAM) Starkville chapter, presided over PRAM statewide in 2002, and has been nominated to serve on the board of directors of the Southern Public Relations Federation for 2007.

A local Boy Scout leader, Coblentz has developed promotional videos for the Pushmataha Area Council, and has also provided his company’s services at reduced or no cost to the Mississippi Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, March of Dimes, Jubilee Mennonite Church in Meridian and The United Way.

Within the last six years, Coblentz, the father of two sons, David, five, and Mark, three, and a member of the Gospel Music Association, has found time to remodel several houses and an office. “What began as a weekend project has expanded…,” he joked, “Plus, it’s a lot cheaper doing it yourself.”

Copyright Mississippi Business Journal Feb 26, 2007