Profiling the 50 Most: Frank Washington

Frank Washington, one of the three co-founders of 40A Inc., which developed the Blackbird internet browser,  is the

Frank Washington, co-founder 40A Inc., developer of the Blackbird browser

Chairman/CEO of Tower of Babel LLC, which owns KBTV-CA, channel 8 in Sacramento.   Mr. Washington also has significant ownership interests in two other broadcast television operations, KBCB in Bellingham, Washington and WHTV in Lansing, Michigan, as well as in a broadcast radio group with 35 stations, Qantum Communications LLC.

Mr. Washington serves on the boards of a number of companies, including: World Television of Washington LLC and Spartan LLC, broadcast television stations in Seattle, WA and Lansing, MI; and, Qantum Communications LLC, a broadcast radio group.  He also serves as a director of various nonprofit organizations, including: the Board of Visitors of UC Davis School of Medicine; UC Davis Medical School’s Center for Health and Technology; the UC Davis Foundation; as incoming board chair for 2006 of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce; and, on the California Chamber of Commerce board.

From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Washington was president and CEO of System Integrators, Inc. (Sii), a provider of publishing solutions to a third of the world’s major newspapers. During this same span, he was also a founder, investor, and principal in Aurora Communications, a broadcast radio company with 20 stations that was sold in 2002 for $300 million.   For six years up until 1995, Mr. Washington was the general partner in cable television limited partnerships located throughout the nation, with a combined subscriber base of just under one half million.

From 1984 through 1987, Washington was Vice President, Electronic Communications for McClatchy Newspapers of Sacramento and a member of the company’s Board of Directors.  There, he directed the growth of McClatchy’s cable television systems, its radio stations, its cellular telephone holdings and electronic data services.  Prior to McClatchy, he was at Times-Mirror Company from 1981, working first in its cable company  and, then, on developing and eventually heading Videotex America, a Times-Mirror partnership providing various internet like information services.

Prior to Times Mirror, Mr. Washington had been Deputy Chief of the FCC’s Broadcast Bureau, where he served as Legal Assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1977 to 1979.  Mr. Washington came to the FCC from the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy, where he helped develop and implement programs to foster wider minority ownership in communications companies.

A graduate of Cornell University and Yale University Law School, Mr. Washington practiced for the Washington D.C. law firm of Arnold and Porter from 1974 to 1977.

Mr. Washington has also served as a board member and chairman of Access Health, a publicly traded, health technology company, which was sold to and now operates as a subsidiary of McKesson, and on the board of McClatchy Newspapers.