Date(s) - Sunday, February 4, 2018
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Miami Pioneers and Natives of Dade historical society is proud to present a delightful, entertaining and informative program for the Sunday, February 4th monthly meeting, featuring author Donn Colee and his recently published book: Towers in the Sand — The History of Florida Broadcasting.
Here is the definitive story of the people, the radio and television stations, and the events that built an industry and a state. Towers in the Sand is the only comprehensive history of Florida’s broadcasting industry 1922-2016, the people who brought those stations to life, and the events that saw the state grow from boom to bust and back again to now the nation’s third most populous.
Over a decade in the making and fully referenced and indexed, Towers in the Sand tells stories from over eighty Florida broadcasting pioneers and current leaders from the Keys to the Panhandle. A celebration of broadcasting’s proudest moments through hard-hitting journalism and editorials, lifesaving moments through decades of hurricanes, and lighthearted moments with favorite personalities and promotions, Towers in the Sand also laments the loss of a national treasure as most stations were transformed from local community partners to lines on corporate balance sheets. As broadcasting sits at the precipice of a very uncertain future, the author hopes through this work to engage thought, conversation, and action to ensure its continued relevance in society.
Donn R. Colee Jr. is a seventh-generation Floridian and second-generation Florida broadcaster. He started his career as a teenage disc jockey at Orlando’s top-rated rock ‘n’ roll radio station. After service in the US Navy, he joined his father’s advertising and public relations firm in West Palm Beach. He resumed his broadcasting career in 1988 at the CBS television station in the same town, working in marketing, community relations, programming, and senior management positions. He took early retirement from the station in 2009 to work on his book and service as a nonprofit fundraising consultant.
The Colee family originally settled in St. Augustine in 1820, where they ran a stagecoach line from Colee Cove near Picolata on the St. John’s River. That led to the establishment of the St. Augustine Transfer Company and the famous horse and buggy tours of the nation’s oldest city. Henry M. Flagler, looking for a place to build his Ponce de Leon Hotel, was first toured around St. Augustine in a horse-drawn carriage driven by L. A. Colee. The family’s geography expanded when, in 1881, James L. Colee founded, with three other partners, the Florida East Coast Canal and Transportation Company and received the contract to build the east coast Intracoastal Waterway. Colee, the company engineer, later purchased property in Fort Lauderdale’s New River area, now known as Colee Hammock.
Donn is a member of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, Florida Historical Society, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, St. Augustine Historical Society, and Leadership Palm Beach County. He is an avid fisherman and serves on the board of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club. He and his wife, Martha, reside in Palm Beach Gardens. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.