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Yolanda L. Gaskins

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Yolanda L. Gaskins
BornYolanda L. Gaskins
(1951-09-08) September 8, 1951 (age 72)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
🏫 EducationB.A., J.D.
🎓 Alma materLincoln University, Pennsylvania, Georgetown University Law Center
💼 Occupation
broadcast journalist, Television news anchor and reporter, television personality, radio talk show host, television producer
📆 Years active  1983 – present
👔 EmployerCNN, XM Satellite, NBC, Black Entertainment Television, E! KABC (AM) Radio - Los Angeles, 570 KLIF (AM) Radio - Dallas

Yolanda L. Gaskins (born September 8, 1951) is an American radio and television broadcast personality, writer and producer.[1][2][3] In 1993, she became the first African American woman news anchor/show host on a cable news network in America. In 2013, she created Gaskins Media Works, which currently provides a variety of services to nonprofit organizations to meet their crisis and strategic communications needs.

Early life and education[edit]

A native of Washington, D.C., Yolanda attended Western High School, (now Duke Ellington School of the Arts) where she was active in the choir and played lead roles in several musicals and theatrical productions. During high school, Yolanda became interested in radio production and was the only female participant in a training program at a local music radio station WOOK-AM. There she was first introduced to the technical side of radio broadcasting and completed the program just before graduating from Western High in 1969.

Yolanda attended Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) where she majored in English, served as her class vice president and continued to hone her acting skills, taking lead roles in dozens of plays during her time on campus.[4][5] She also spent time at the campus radio station working alongside D.J. (and future music icon) Gil Scott Heron. She made the varsity cheerleading squad in her freshman year and continued as a cheerleader for all four years, serving as captain in her junior and senior year . She graduated from Lincoln with honors in 1973.

During summer college breaks, Yolanda had interned at the National Medical Association and after graduation, began working with the organization as a writer full time.[1] While there, the Executive Director of the organization, Alfred F. Fisher repeatedly encouraged her to apply to law school. The following year, she received a scholarship to Georgetown University Law Center.[6] In her final year at Georgetown, she interned at Pacifica Radio and hosted a segment on “Street Law,” a show that addressed local legal controversies and issues of civil liberty.


While working for a D.C. real estate law firm, Yolanda connected with a friend, Wendall Williamson, who was an engineer at WHUR-FM, the Howard University radio station. He suggested that with her resonant speaking voice and legal background she should consider anchoring the news.[7] Together they created a news audition tape that he then passed it on to both the General Manager and Program Director. Within a few weeks, Yolanda was anchoring the drive time news alongside broadcaster Kojo Namndi. She also worked evenings at WHUR reporting the news during the number one show, “The Quiet Storm” with the legendary host, Melvin Lindsey.

Moving into television, her first TV job was as co-host of the locally produced, “The High School Sports Show” on WDCA-TV. She was next hired by WJZ-TV in Baltimore and in July 1985 was featured in Baltimore Magazine as the city’s best new television talent. She became the co/host of the nationally syndicated show PM Magazine in Washington, D.C. (WTTG-TV) , the first African American female to do so. As host of this show that Yolanda received her first Emmy nomination. On several occasions, Yolanda reunited, with Melvin Lindsey, who would occasionally fill in as her co-host. They were the first African American team to work together as co-hosts on this popular evening show.

Gaskins was named Executive Producer at Black Entertainment Television and created/ hosted and produced the network’s first show with a magazine format, “Going Places.” She and her crew traveled around the world to exciting locations and featured African American actors, artists and popular sports figures as guests. She then went to Miami, where she joined the NBC affiliate, WTVJ-TV as an entertainment reporter. She moved to Los Angeles, as reporter/ anchor and show host at E! Entertainment Television. When she wasn’t on the air reporting, she booked parts in a number of commercials, movies and TV shows including E.R., Paranormal Borderline with Jonathan Frakes and a lead role on the TV news drama, “Live Shot.” But, It was her recurring role as nurse Sandra Johnson, on the CBS soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" that she says was the most fun to play.

The opportunity to return to radio presented itself when she was asked to join the news team on KABC-AM,[3] the premiere talk Station in Los Angeles. Although she began as the evening news anchor in 1991, she pitched her own show and became the first African American woman to work at the station in that role. She was on the air at KABC for many years and focused mostly on topical issues and breaking news.

Producers at CNN, who invited her to be a panelist on one of the morning talk shows.[8][9] When the host of the show was unavailable, Yolanda was asked to fill in. Soon she signed a contract to work for CNN as a show host/news anchor and, the first African American woman to work in that position at a cable news network in America. Shea spent most of her time at CNN as host of the multi-platform interactive talk show, TalkBack Live, which aired weekday afternoons. She was the first African American woman to host that popular news talk show.

In 1999, she accepted a position at the Dallas talk station KLIF on their weekday lineup, becoming the first African American talk show host at KLIF in Dallas.[10] Several years later, she returned to Washington, DC for a position with the recently created XM Satellite radio. She remained on the air for several years as host of her show “Love & Money” and was featured in O Magazine (April 2005.)[10] She also appeared on several television shows filming on the east coast including a recurring role on HBO’s The Wire.

In 2005, Gaskins left radio to become Director of Media Relations and spokesman for Holy Cross Hospital, in Maryland.[11][12][13] . In 2015, Executive Producer was added to her title and she began writing, producing and editing videos to support both internal and external communication strategies. During her 12 years with the organization, Yolanda created media strategies on issues ranging from new surgical techniques and services to the organization's response to H1N1 and the Ebola outbreak. After 12 years, Yolanda left Holy Cross to focus full time on her Media Relations business. Today, she lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is the owner of Gaskins Media Works, a Strategic Communications firm specializing in media and communication strategies for nonprofit organizations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gaskins Professional Resume at Lincoln" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. "What Women Eat When They Think No One's Looking". Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michaelson, Judith (April 17, 1994). "Fuss With Me". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-07-22. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. "Black History Award Convocation". February 14, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Lincoln University Convocation | Guest Speaker Yolanda Gaskins - YouTube". Lincoln University YT channel. Retrieved 2020-07-22. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. "George University Law Center First Year Students" (PDF). Retrieved July 22, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. Trescott, Jacqueline (April 5, 1985). "New Directions at WWDC". WashingtonPost. Retrieved July 22, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "Media Seeking the Elusive: The Moments Off the Script". Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  9. "". Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "~Los Angeles Radio People, Where Are They Now, G". Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  11. Korff/ABC7, Jay (2017-06-19). "Rally held for Holy Cross Hospital nurse many believe was wrongfully fired". WJLA. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  12. Tallman, Douglas (2017-02-15). "Nurses Claim Intimidation by Holy Cross Management". Montgomery Community Media. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  13. "Holy Cross Germantown Hospital adding close to 600 employees, moving closer to opening". Retrieved July 22, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

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