(In photo; Sheilah Belle meets with Robert Blagman)
TBR – Exclusive — Washington, D.C.– When it comes to Gospel music, one usually thinks of hand clapping, foot stomping, and tight harmonies. Its origin is usually birthed from great choirs to traditional and contemporary singers out of the Christian Black church.
Once in a while, when that perfect pitch harmony is right on key and comes belting out across the choir loft, you just might find the most unsuspecting person sitting in the midst of a crowd of people, smiling and feeling good, with only the understanding that “Gospel music makes you feel good.”
Those were the words of Robert Blagman, Managing Partner of Magnitude Trans Media, Inc., who has been working in television since graduating Cum Laude from Boston University in 1978.
Initially he was told to go into television sales, which he did for about ten years, before working for the Disney Company. After learning the ropes and the intricacies of running a conglomerate, Blagman started his own company entitled, Blagman Media International, based out of Los Angeles, CA in 1994.
Within a short time, Blagman had compiled a list of 15 clients that included various churches from across the country and a few past clients from Disney who followed him. His job was to get them on TV and he did! From Jimmy Swaggart to Jim and Tammy Baker, this Jewish, Bronx, New York native had become the “go to man in television,” for many Christian ministries.
“When I would visit some of these churches, I was surprised to find so many Jewish people who were heavily involved in running these Christian ministries.” However during Blagman’s travels, he would often find himself sitting in Sunday morning services as the only Jewish man. During one service, the pastor introduced him as the man who was helping to rebuild their ministry and invited him to come to the pulpit to speak. “It was a great experience and very different from Synagogue. It was a whole different feel and I loved it,” says Blagman.
It would also be at this mere moment when Blagman realized what the focus of his company would be. “After so many churches were asking me to help them to get on television, that’s when I realized how God had predetermined my steps while working at Disney and the other various television stations where I had been employed. He was preparing me to start my own company and to use the many gifts and talents he had instilled in me. So I took a step of faith and moved to Los Angeles, where I started to work with churches in the area.”
As Blagman continued to grow his company while developing relationships with many pastors and congregations, a TV Network out of France, Canal Plus, contacted Blagman to do an interview about Religion in America. It wasn’t long after the interview aired, that Blagman was contacted by a French businessman who wanted to partner with him.
“The timing of it all couldn’t have been better, as some of the ministries were starting to stray in different directions and some were also going international,” says Blagman.
It wasn’t long after Blagman’s business partnership was inked on paper, that he suggested to create a Home Shopping Network in Europe. To make this work, Blagman moved to Hungary and found himself commuting between his new homeland and Los Angeles. Eight months later, his new company was on the air with the Home Shopping Network that also later appeared on television Networks in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Blagman said, “Business was booming, but then it went away, because the government there took over our business.”
Yes, they actually took over Blagman’s business because they saw the success in their new company, and they wanted that for their own country, so they started to charge them astronomical fees. So instead of being charged the initial fee of $5,000 a month, the government later wanted $50,000 and priced them out of the business.
Fortunately by this time, Blagman had already established a name for himself and was heavy on the speakers circuit. He started to pursue this route until someone on Wall Street got in contact with him and told him to take his company public. Blagman says, “That was the worse thing I could have done.”
“My life was going really well, and taking my company public seemed like the next natural thing to do, however you can’t run your company and a public company at the same time.” Both of the companies required so much attention, but the Public company required much more money than the private company had to offer. Blagman said, “Initially a lot of people made a lot of money, as we were one of the top 16 trading companies in the world. We had weekly conference calls with our share holders so they could stay abreast. But while I was trying to be helpful, a few people slipped into the company and robbed us of more than 3.6 million dollars that ended up in Coasta Rica.”
Blagman said, “I had no choice but to reach out to the FBI, SEC and I reported everything that happened. While all of this was going on, my stock was going down and I was living off of my savings. My name was all over the place and one reason for that was I wouldn’t take a salary. Weeks later I was sitting in an office telling the government what was going on and it turned into a huge investigation, which led to a trial, that ended with the men who actually stole the money being indicted and later sentenced to 23 years behind bars.”
Just when Blagman thought this horror story had come to an end, the government then came after him because they believed, since he was running the company he failed to protect the company. He was then called to the U.S. Attorney Generals office, where he also met up with the SCC, FBI, a U.S. Accountant and others who grilled him for hours.
Blagman said after several hours had gone by, he slammed his hand on the table and asked, “Where were all of you when all of this was happening?” Ultimately Blagman became the scapegoat for what had happened and was fined 1 million dollars. “ That was a pricey lesson, but a good learning lesson,” says Blagman.
After that experience, Blagman made a promise to continue to work with people but with the reassurance to help others so they would not experience some of the hardships he went through, so he returned to his first love, Television and decided to help others learn the ropes and how to make money.
His next television projects would take him back to Europe, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Russia, Israel, Spain and finally back home here to the U.S., where he is working with a strong network of people in the Gospel industry.
Robert Blagman now says he is ready to return to his roots and wants to shift his playing field to Gospel Music and onto a national and international stage.
With a background rich with resources, experiences and connections that has kept him on the road covering more than 500,000 miles around the world in five years, Blagman says, “God has been good to me. He has been merciful and it’s now my time to give back.”
With his multimillion dollar company in tow and being responsible for putting 17 television shows on in more than 20 countries, Blagman is now focused on the Gospel Music Industry in the states.
Blagman says, “I now realize there is a calling on my life that is much bigger than anything I have ever done!” Blagman continued, “The vision that God has given me is exciting. I have also just completed putting my national and international Gospel Dream Team together with the understanding, “What God has for me it is for me and our newly built team, and anyone else who loves Gospel music. I am simply excited and looking forward to watching everything unfold according to God’s Will!”