American Program Bureau Celebrates 50 Years in the Speaking Industry By Giving Back
14 Apr 2015
BOSTON, MA (April 14, 2015) – American Program Bureau (APB) is celebrating 50 years in the speaking industry and has decided to commemorate the milestone by giving back. Founded by Robert P. Walker in 1965 to provide an open forum for individuals to voice their opinions and points of view, APB today has the largest speaker roster in the industry, from entertainers and celebrities to politicians, business leaders and renowned public intellectuals. "When I started APB in the 1960’s, the most important voices of a generation didn't have a way to get their message out. They needed to be heard and I wanted to find a way to make it happen," said Robert Walker. “We have worked with some of our speakers since we first went into business and because of their loyalty and dedication, we would like to show our appreciation and support by giving back to some of their charities as well as others we feel have made an impact over the last 50 years,” said Walker. APB will be giving back to these charities over the course of the year via social media. The company will be posting a list of charities on their social media accounts each month asking people to vote on which charity should receive the donation for that month.
Walker established American Program Bureau on the basic premise that a flourishing public forum was vital to the nation’s discourse. With Civil Rights battles raging, he ventured out to college campuses, bringing students the people they wanted to hear, including newsmakers and activists such as Martin Luther King, Adam Clayton Powell, Julian Bond and, Dick Gregory. Tuned into the social turmoil of the decade, Walker introduced the voices of Jane Fonda, Abbie Hoffman, Betty Friedan, Andy Warhol, and Ralph Nader to engage the debate of the day. Where once thought leaders spoke out on the fringe, or struggled to find the most viable means for getting their message out, Walker virtually created the avenue for them to be heard. He single-handedly developed the college and university marketplace by providing a platform for these speakers to speak during a time when no one else would listen to them.
In 1968, The New York Times Magazine featured Walker in a 10-page article as “a young impresario,” highlighting his unorthodox style and uncanny sense of knowing how to successfully match client, speaker, and program. Soon luminaries such as Presidents Ronald Reagan, Francois Mitterrand, as well as former Prime Minister Sir Harold Wilson, and others throughout the world became part of the APB family. And in 1970, Newsweek dubbed Walker, “King of the Talkies.” With him at the helm, The Guinness Book of World Records listed APB as the largest lecture agency in the world from 1970-1980. From Civil Rights to Watergate to the fall of Communism, the AIDS crisis, and the war on terrorism, APB transcended the decades, always at the forefront of national and global issues.
APB maintains its status as one of the largest and most prestigious speaker bureaus in the world, representing exclusively over 200 personalities and internationally distinguished individuals including President Mikhail Gorbachev, Mary Robinson, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dan Rather, Larry King, and Michael Douglas among many others. APB continues to provide the most innovative programs for diversity, college, non-profit, education, and healthcare markets, as well as for major corporations and associations, both in the US and internationally, while still under Walker’s stewardship.
A pioneering force in the lecture industry, APB truly created the medium for people to see the most exciting and popular personalities, hear cutting-edge ideas, and experience the leaders, activists, and innovators of the day, live and in person, unedited and unfiltered by mass media. Having coined the term “infotainment” in 1966, Walker reinvented the rather staid lecture by effectively finding a way to convey the intellectual content of a program in an exciting, entertaining format. To this day, APB's culture of innovation continues to define each era while always looking into the future.
American Program Bureau is an international company with affiliations in 18 countries. APB’s main headquarters are based in Boston with other offices in New Jersey, Chicago and San Diego.